Sow the City is a social enterprise on a mission. It wants to take vacant and derelict bits of Manchester and turn each one into a green oasis, where members of the community are supported to design a garden to grow their own fruit and vegetables. They have already worked with over 80 community groups in Manchester to do this, and today was a step closer to starting work on a new site.
One Manchester Housing, which owns and manages land in the east of the city, held a Community Soup event earlier this year, where community members sat down together to consider new project ideas over a cup of soup, and vote for their favourites. Grow in the City’s Back 2 Veg project was chosen, and today, they went out with One Manchester staff to look at four potential sites.
Kieron, one of Sow the City’s founders, said, ‘The benefits of this are enormous. Firstly, it brings people together socially, to work on a fun and worthwhile project. Residents see their area go from grey to green, and get the chance to learn about things like recycling and climate change. We help recycle as much as possible, using wood and old baths from refurbished homes to make raised beds for growing things like potatoes. We can award our own certificates and accreditation, and people who have been involved in our other projects have gone on to get jobs as a result. All that, and free food too – what’s not to like?’
Once a site has been chosen, the project will be looking for around 50 residents to be involved, and they also work with schools and other community groups. Publicity will start around February next year, ready for the 2017 growing season.