Free workshops will help green-fingered Lancaster people grow their own food

Community groups in Lancaster have launched a series of free workshops to help people with a passion for growing food and flowers.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 12:41 pm

FoodFutures, The Plot and Claver Hill are seeking people to attend the lottery funded training workshops this summer and autumn.

This project will enable local residents to access local training to support them to plan, set-up and manage community growing sites, preserve food and save seeds - building community wealth and resilience.

The current food system is responsible for around 30 per cent of global carbon emissions and has additional negative impacts on people, other animals and planet.

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The free workshops will help people grow their own food.

The climate impact of the UK food system, in particular, links to dietary choices and food waste across our supply chains.

‘Food Futures: A community food strategy for north Lancashire’ lays out a path for creating a “thriving local food system that is healthy, resilient and fair”.

This training programme takes forward a small part of this vision by providing skills and training opportunities for local residents interested in setting up new, or developing existing, community growing projects.

As the training is based at two local food projects, it will also build local connections, whilst celebrating progress and models that can work.

The project aims to raise awareness of the role communities can play in the face of the climate emergency and to empower people to create structures and networks locally that practically address the impact of food.

Seed saving, natural flood management, water harvesting and composting are key aspects needed to build resilience as weather patterns change as a result of climate breakdown. Skills and expertise in these areas will be key for local communities wanting to grow food.

This programme will be based at two local projects: The Plot, a market garden and FarmStart training centre, and ClaverHill community food project, a six acre site which hosts a range of growing projects.

The programme includes 11 half-day in-person workshops, targeted at groups/individuals who are interested in sustainable land management and food production, and those that are part of communities who want to set up local shared growing spaces.

The programme will cover:

Site design and planning for climate resilient community growing spaces, including rain water harvesting and natural flood managementProject design and organisational modelsCrop and site planning for a local northern climateWorking with community members to establish and develop a growing projectPlant propagationPest and weed management strategiesHarvesting, weighing and packing produceProcessing and preserving producePlants for natural dyes and medicineCommunity compostingIntroduction into seed saving & evening bean feast

Each will also consider the impact of climate change on growing conditions and how we can adapt to the changing North Lancashire climate.

It will deliver hands-on practical workshops with lots of tools and techniques that can be directly applied to community land-based projects, and aims to increase skills and understanding in organic food growing in north Lancashire.

The sessions are free and people over 18 can attend just one session that piques their interest or go along to all 11 half-day sessions if the timings work for them.