FOOD GROWING FRAMEWORK A strategy for developing food growing opportunities in Nottingham

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Nov 4, 2013 (4 years and 6 months ago)


for developing food growing opportunities in


A strategy for developing food growing opportunities in Nottingham

Discussion draft 1

October 2009



This Food Growing Framework outlines the way in which Nottingham City Council will work to encourage and support food growing

in the city over the next ten
years. This is e
xpressed in its vision:

Nottingham City Council will provide a range of lifelong food growing opportunities, supporting residents in healthy living a
nd working towards a
sustainable environment.

The Food Growing Framework supports a range of local and
regional policies and plans and in particular the delivery of the ‘Locally sourced food’ action
programme of Nottingham’s Sustainable Community Strategy.

The Framework will have positive impacts on and contribute towards outcomes relating to:

Reducing ca
rbon emissions

Producing sustainable food

Improving health and reducing health inequalities

Supporting community cohesion

Providing education, employment and training

Improving neighbourhoods

The Food Growing Framework looks at ways in which Nottingha
m City Council can work to encourage and support more food growing in the city. This is focused
on nine interconnected work strands, some of which continue the NCC current work and some which are relatively new.

The Food Growing Framework work strands:




Community Gardening hubs


Blooming Neighbourhoods


Edible Plants in Public Places


Schools and children’s services


Growing access to public land


Private gardens and land


ial land and business support


Partnership and research

Rather than NCC taking on the primary role of food growing the Food Growing Framework aims to work in three general ways:


providing opportunities to grow food


eveloping structures and systems to enable food growing opportunities to succeed


sharing best practice, celebrating success and provide training and information to support all works strands

Nottingham City Council is not the primary delivery

agency for the framework but will work in partnership with a range of individuals and organisations across the
whole Food Growing Framework to coordinate monitor and evaluate the development and implementation of food growing opportunit
ies across the city



The need for a strategy

This Food Growing Framework developed from work being undertaken by Nottingham City Council to draw up an Allotment & Communi
ty Garden Strategy. This
work quickly established that all
otments needed to be seen as one of the different ways in which the City Council encourages food growing, and can promote
sustainability and healthy lifestyles.

While Nottingham City Council takes an active part in some food growing activities, until now

there has been no central point to bring together all the work
regarding food growing taking place across the Council. The strategy is the first step in co
ordinating this area of work.

The Food Growing Framework brings together these strands and helps

Avoid duplication of work

Maximise opportunities for partnership working

Signpost residents and others towards the relevant NCC area of work

Demonstrate the range of work NCC is undertaking

Signpost people to wider food growing opportunities

l, the Framework can help to capture the current enthusiasm for growing food which is widespread but often fragmented, and fo
cus it into distinctive areas of
work which define what NCC’s leadership role needs to be.

The strategy sets out how Nottingham Cit
y Council will provide and support allotments, community gardens, and the growing of food within the City. Before now a
strategic process to plan and prioritise need has been lacking

The Strategy has been produced for a number of reasons:

It is an update a
nd extension of the Councils Allotment Charter (1989)

‘Breathing Space’ the strategic framework for Nottingham’s Open and Green Spaces identifies the need for an Allotment and Com
munity Garden

To support the growing interest and demand regarding

food growing opportuniti


NCC has a statutory duty to provide allotments and allotments will continue to be a main focus of the Council’s Parks and Ope
n Spaces Service, but activity
developing community gardens and food growing in the city will start

to play a more important part in the departments other activities and outcomes.

It is not the intention of the strategy to displace or to disadvantage those organisations already delivering successful food

growing projects across the city. Instead its
utlook is to compliment existing activities, share good practice and enable a more coherent food growing framework to develop

and thrive.

Who is the strategy for?

The strategy is intended to ensure the development and sustainability of food growing opp
ortunities. Used as an action plan for delivery, led by Nottingham City
Council, the strategy will help initiate and influence the development of food growing opportunities in Nottingham.

How will the strategy be used?

Implementation of the strategy wi
ll be delivered through the supporting action plans developed for each work strand. Nottingham City Council will take the lea
d in
coordinating the delivery of the strategy through an approach that includes direct delivery and provision as well as an enabl
ng role to support a wealth of food
growing opportunities.

Action leads responsible for different work strands will seek to be identified to clearly show Nottingham City Council and it
s partner’s roles in implementing of the

Not all of the st
rategies actions are resourced. The strategy will identify where resources are needed and highlights actions that require fun
ding should internal and
external funding opportunities become available.

Why develop food growing opportunities?

Behind much o
f the current interest in growing food in cites there are two broad themes: health and the environment.

On the health side, more and more people are interested in good quality fresh food

especially vegetables and fruit

and how it can be accessed, wi
th an emphasis
on ‘grow your own’. Health professionals and others also point to serious concerns about obesity and other forms of illness a
nd the way in which access to fresh
fruit and vegetables, along with the physical activity involved in gardening, ca
n have important health benefits.

In broader environmental terms, conventional food production is often based on high energy use, both in the growing of food a
nd in transport. Growing more food
in Nottingham for consumption by residents is one way of re
ducing the carbon footprint of the city by helping reduce ‘food miles’.

In recent years there has been a tremendous upsurge of interest in food growing. This is in response to concerns about food p
rices, food miles and the environment.
It is also because

people want better access to good, healthy and affordable food, and to enjoy cultivating beautiful green spaces and meeting l
ocal people.

Further information on the challenges and benefits behind these issues can be found below.



National Context

Interest in food growing has expanded rapidly in recent years. Demand for allotments is at a high point (after many years of
decline) and the sales of vegetable seeds
now outstrip that of flowers. Pop
ular TV programmes about food, cooking and gardening are sometimes seen as the cause of this interest, but in many ways they
themselves a reflection of deeper public concerns about the quality of food, its impact on health, and the environment and ch
lenge of climate change.

Local authorities have a long standing duty to provide allotments for residents, but some have looked at other ways to encour
age food growing, flagship examples
include London Major Office ‘Capital Growth’ project and Incredible
Edible Todmorden as well as research trips to gain ideas and inspiration for successful


Food Matters

Towards a strategy for the 21

[Central Government policy document]

The government’s vision is a system for food that is m
ore sustainable

economically, socially and environmentally.

‘Food Matters’ recognises that more can be done to help consumers choose safe, healthy, and low environment impact food. In r
esponding to the public interest in
food production and provenance it

encourages the public sector in supporting allotments and making the best use of unused land with particular reference to the

important role that community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises can have working on community food issue
s an
d supporting activities that
promote health eating and sustainable production and consumption.

Diverse and innovative community food projects are increasing access to healthy food, improving understanding of nutrition an
d regenerating run down areas
ough food production.


Food and climate change

Sustain is the alliance for better food and farming. It advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance th
e health and welfare of people and
animals, improve the working and living

environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.

An extract below from Sustains website encourages ways in which we can reduce our environmental impact through changing the w
ay we source food.

While the Food Growing Framework itself will n
ot look to influence personal choices on diet, it will provide opportunities for people who want to grow and eat
local and seasonal food, with an emphasis on fruit and vegetables.

Case Studies

Capital Growth’

The Capital Growth campaign offers practic
al advice and

support to communities around London, helping people get access to land and create successful food
growing spaces.

Launched in 2008 the project aims to boost grow your own in the capital by creating 2,012 community food growing spaces by 20
. The scheme, managed by the
environment charity, Sustain, now has nearly 100 spaces being cultivated across the capital in a diverse range of places incl
uding canal banks, schools, roofs,
private gardens open to the community and parks.

Edible Cities US t

Ideas from this research have prompted the strategy to investigate wider food growing opportunities beyond allotments and com
munity gardens.


2007 a group, organised by Sustain, visited a range of food growing projects in Milwaukee, Chicago and New

York and noted a number of similarities to and
differences from urban agriculture initiatives in London, including:

A commercial element to many of the US projects, which is much less common in the UK;

A more liberal situation in the US than in the UK

to encourage composting, but less willingness than in the UK to include animals in some urban
agriculture projects;

Different approaches to fencing and public access to projects, which varied within the US, depending on context;

Imaginative and producti
ve ways of growing without access to subsoil, either in raised beds on hard surfaces or, in one case, in hydroponics on a bar

The trip stimulated a number of ideas for how to promote more food growing in more cities.

These include:

Using the many poss
ibilities of urban tree planting to promote traditional varieties of fruit and nuts;

Untapping the potential of parks to accommodate some food growing in their grounds;

Exploring under
utilised spaces such as derelict council property, private gardens an
d social housing to grow food;

Making use of the abundant buildings in urban areas to grow food on rooftops, up walls and in window boxes;

Building on the food growing expertise that already exists in a multicultural community, as well as providing educa
tion and training for new growers.

Running alongside this popular groundswell is a range of research and policy documents from central and local government, and

independent organisations.

Regional Influences

There are a number of regional plans that h
ave influenced the development of the strategy and that the strategy can help contribute towards.


Food for thought: A strategy for improving Greater Nottingham’s Food, Health and Environment

The strategy is intended to create a local integrated
approach to food policies and practices that brings together health, environment, economic, cultural and social
issues. It aims to coordinate resources from a range of organisations to improve Nottingham’s food, health and environment. T
he strategy is desi
gned for partners to
adopt the parts of the strategy that are relevant to their own areas of work to help meet their won targets.

The main aims of the strategy that the Allotment and Community Garden Strategy can contribute to directly are:

To s
timulate an expansion of the production and consumption of local organic food

To encourage methods of food production that protects and enhances biodiversity

To address the issues of social inclusion and ensure that people on a low income

have access to healthy affordable food

Indirectly the outcomes of the Strategy will impact on the other key aims that are harder to evidence.


East Midlands Food and Health Action Plan

The vision for the Food and Health Action Plan is to impro
ve the health and well
being of East Midland communities through the provision of safe and sustainable
healthy food.

Its aim is “To ensure that all residents within the East Midlands have easy access to affordable healthy food through increas
ing the amount

of locally produced food
to reduce food mileage and support the local food industry”.

Local Context

To date much of the innovative work on food growing which has taken place in the city has been led by the voluntary sector or

other partnerships and or
This includes the long standing Stonebridge City Farm in St Anns and the Arkwright Meadows Community Garden, and a number of
community organisations are
successfully using allotments to deliver community focused food growing activities.
[add c
ase study example]

Other local organisations and partnerships include:

Health & Environment Partnership (HEP).

Improved health is a vital part of a sustainable future. The Health and Environment Partnership in Greater Nottingham strateg
ly identifies and addresses
environmental causes of ill health through its networks and projects.

HEP supports service development such as increasing energy efficiency in homes and
organisations, promoting walking and cycling instead of car use and the con
sumption of healthy food from sustainable sources. The HEP supported the development
of the Food Initiative Group (FIG).


The Food Initiatives Group (FIG) is a food partnership project based in Groundwork Greater Nottingham run by people intereste
d in p
romoting healthy, sustainable

FIG promotes the production and consumption of healthy, safe and affordable food from sustainable sources.

‘Garden to Plate’.

Network of community food growing projects.

Transition Nottingham

Transition Nottingham was e
stablished in the summer of 2007 to provide a grassroots response to the problems of peak oil and climate change. They provid
support in turning Nottingham into a city that is less reliant on fossil fuel energy and is a better place for people live.

icy in Nottingham


Sustainable Community Strategy 2020

The Sustainable Community Strategy 2020 (SCS) sets the overall strategic direction and long term vision for the economic soci
al and environmental wellbeing of
the City of Nottingham up to the

year 2020. To achieve its vision the SCS sets out 6 strategic priorities which will be delivered through the themed partnersh
ips of
One Nottingham, the city’s Local Strategic Partnership:


World Class City: Develop Nottingham’s international standi
ng for science and innovation, sports and culture


Neighbourhood Nottingham: Transform Nottingham’s Neighbourhoods


Family Nottingham:

Ensure that all children and young people thrive and grow up to achieve in education, training and employm


Work in Nottingham: Tackle poverty and deprivation by getting more people in to good jobs


Safer Nottingham: Reduce crime the fear of crime and anti social behaviour


Healthy Nottingham: Improve health and wellbeing

Whilst the f
ood growing framework will contribute towards a number of the SCS objectives, of particular significance is in relation to st
rategic priority 6: Improve
health and well
being, and the element of the Action Programme on
locally sourced food:

“We will enco
urage the sourcing of locally grown food for the city, drawn from Nottingham’s agricultural hinterland as well as gardens and

allotments in the
city itself, including every school. This will reduce the carbon footprint of our consumption and contribute to
healthier eating.”


Council Plan

The themes and key priorities of the NCC Council Plan 2009
2013 have recently been revised to reflect the priorities of the SCS (see above).


Breathing Space

Breathing Space looks to establish a better b
alance for open and green space provision alongside community needs and aspirations. It has an aim over the next 10
years to:


Provide City residents and visitors with quality open and green spaces.


Enable people to become more involved i
n open and green space planning, development and management.


Improve co
ordination of resources to raise standards and increase satisfaction of the service.


Work with local communities to develop and create open and green spaces that are
safe and accessible.


Protect open and green spaces now and into the future by raising environmental sustainability, promoting bio
diversity, and supporting wildlife.


Develop open and green space to provide opportunities for mitigation and

adaptations for ‘climate change’.


To ensure adequate accessible open and green space provision exists through guiding and informing City Development and planni
ng policy

This food growing strategy will align with Breathing Space in helping achie
ve its aims by focusing on some of the key principles identified.


Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Our joint health and wellbeing strategy outlines how the City Health and Wellbeing Partnership and cross
sector partners in Nottingham can work toge
ther to
improve the health of everyone, with the result that people feel well and live longer, businesses lose fewer working days and

our health and care services experience
less pressure


PPG17/Area Commentaries

The FGF has been developed alongs
ide work by Nottingham City Council to audit all its open space and to draw up standards of provision: how much space needs
to be provided, where it should be, and what level of quality it should have. This work links in with:

Central Government g
uidelines (Planning Policy Guidance 17)

The emerging Local Development Framework

or ‘local plan’

The three Strategic Regeneration Frameworks (SRF) which between them cover the whole of the City



An Allotment and Community Garden Strategy Working Group was formed to develop the draft strategy to a working document that
represents the City Council’s
vision for allotments, community gardens, and food growing opportunities. It brings togeth
er NCC departments, allotment holders and other key stakeholders and is
chaired by Cllr Dave Trimble.

The roles and responsibilities of the Group include:

Looking at and discussing progress reports on the development of the strategy

sider in more detail key proposals in the strategy

Set up sub groups to examine complex or controversial issues

Make sure that all relevant organisations are consulted and that there is a consensus on the proposals




The Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) has three cross cutting aims: Aspiring, Green, and Fair. The Food Growi




The Food Growing Framework looks at ways in which Nottingham City Council can
work to encourage and support more food growing in the city. This is focused
on a number of work strands, some of which continue NCC current work, and some of which are relatively new.

Rather than NCC taking on the primary role of growing food, it aims loo
k to work in three general ways:


NCC will provide opportunities for individuals and organisations to grow food. The main way of doing this will be in NCC’s ro
le as a land owner and land
provider: of allotments, parks, commercial land, schoo
l grounds and housing land. NCC will aim to provide greater access to more land for more people to grow
food. In some work strands NCC will also aim to provide opportunities in the form of financial support (money or in kind).


While there is a

lot of enthusiasm

locally and nationally

for the idea of growing food, this isn’t always matched by the organisational system or structures to
actually get things started and then keep them going.

The Food Growing Framework itself is one way in which
NCC can provide organisation and structure. Within each work strand there are specific programmes to
establish or support food growing, linked to NCC officers and resources. On a detailed level, the ‘mechanism’ may be a form o
f lease agreement or way of
mmunicating messages so that the interest and enthusiasm of a potential food grower can be put into action.


Inspiration for food growing can happen in many forms: direct personal experience or through TV programmes and the web. While

this gen
eral inspiration is
important at current levels it needs to be sustained so that food growing in Nottingham makes a significant impact over the n
ext decade. Activity across all the work
strands will be inspirational, and the successes

and failures

be shared.

For many people there is also a potential skills gap: their interest and desire to grow food may not match their experience a
nd this can lead to disappointment and
giving up. The Food Growing Framework will provide training and information acros
s all work strands.

ng Framework will use these to guide priorities because they have close connections to many of the issues and actions in the
Food Growing Framework.


The challenges of inequality faced by Nottingham are reflected in food and h
ealth. Some people in the city have less access to fresh food and are more affected by
illness related to diet and lack of exercise. They may have less access to green spaces or a good quality environment. In pra
ctical terms: some people have bigger
s than others!

The FGF will contribute to creating a fairer Nottingham by, for example:

Prioritising opportunities (resources and facilities) such as new allotment sites or community hubs in areas where there is g
reatest need.

Making sure that the work
to inspire people gets the message across to all sectors of the community, and that people who are already ‘in the know’ don’
get better access to resources.

Developing projects to specifically support people who are in the greatest nee


As a whol
e, the Food Growing Framework will make a very green contribution to the future of Nottingham. It will reduce the carbon foot
print of the city and
improve the environment and bio
diversity. However, it’s important to recognise that some forms of food growi
ng might have a more negative impact. For example:
crops like tomatoes or out
season vegetables grown in heated greenhouses using fossil fuels, fertilizers and mechanical irrigation systems may be ‘local
sourced’ but can have a higher level of carbon
emissions than crops grown in warmer countries and transported in to Nottingham.

The Food Growing Framework will therefore not support food growing initiatives which lead to an overall increase in carbon em
issions .The Research strand of the
Food Growing

Framework will look to develop clear ways of measuring this.

The Food Growing Framework will prioritise and support initiatives that have the highest impact on reducing carbon emissions

Locating facilities so that they can be reached by public tr
ansport, cycling or walking

Reducing the amount of mains water used in food growin


The Sustainable community Strategy as a whole looks to ‘break the cycle of poverty in this city. We want our children to grow

up with higher aspirations and
tions for the future’ [SCS Forward

Cllr Jon Collins].

The knowledge and skills needed for food growing are often seen as things which have been lost to recent generations, but man
y young people are now
enthusiastically involved in growing food at home
, in school, or through community projects. For all young people, knowledge about food growing and the
experience of eating fresh fruit and vegetables is an essential first step towards a lifelong pattern of healthy eating. For
some younger people, working

with plants
and being outdoors can be a more positive kind of education that the formal classroom.

FGF will….

Look to support initiatives involving young people

Links to older generation

Green apprenticeships, outdoor education, training

Business dev



The approach adopted to deliver the strategies aims is centred on a Food Growing Framework, which identifies nine work strand
s. Each work strand has a specific
role and character, but all of them contribute to the FGF
as a whole.

Strand 1: Allotments

Nottingham has a long tradition of allotments, and the City Council has a statutory duty to provide them. Currently over 3000

individual plots are available to rent
and can be used for high yielding fruit and vegetable cr
ops or more informal leisure gardens. Working within the context of allotment law the strategy will aim to
maximise the use of plots and improve their condition.

Strand 2: Community Gardening Hubs

Support and encourage the development of a network of ‘c
ommunity garden centres’ across Nottingham. Stonebridge City Farm and Arkwright Meadows
Community Garden are existing sites which provide examples of what can be achieved. Each site will encourage food growing wit
hin its own land and in the wider
local nei
ghbourhood, providing practical examples and acting as resource with information and training. Hubs will be independently man
aged by community based
organisations on a formal and long term basis. NCC will recognise sites through the planning process, provi
de support and in most case the land.

Strand 3: Edible Plants in Public Places

Using edible plants such as fruit trees and bushes, vegetables and herbs in public open spaces owned and maintained by NCC. T
hese can include parks, playgrounds
and street pl
anting. The aim of this strand is to inform and inspire rather than achieve high crop yield.

Planting can be incorporated as informal landscape, or designed displays (e.g. Nottingham in Bloom schemes). Within a number
of larger parks kitchen gardens

be created as display areas.

Strand 4: Blooming Neighbourhoods

A wide range of community gardens or neighbourhood gardening projects exist in Nottingham. Most are informal and may focus on

ornamental display, but edible
plants are becoming more common.
NCC supports these initiatives at present through Nottingham in Bloom.

Strand 5: Growing access to public land

A new initiative. NCC will develop a ‘letting agency’ role to allow greater public and community access to grow food on land
owned by NCC (and
other public
bodies). Suitable land will be identified, and then matched to people or organisations wanting to use it. Appropriate leases
or licenses will be issued, generally on a
short term basis but with some options to continue if the land use is succe

Strand 6: Schools and children’s services

All NCC schools (and other children’s services buildings and projects) will be encouraged to grow some food within their own
grounds, to link with local
allotments or hubs, and to have trained and supporte
d staff.

Strand 7: Private gardens and land

The Food Growing Framework overall will look to inspire individuals to use their own gardens, yards or balconies to grow food
, and it will provide information,
training and events to support and encourage this.

Advice will also be available to private land owned by business and institutions on how their land could be used.

Strand 8: Commercial growing and Business Support

The Food Growing Framework will look at opportunities to support local food production in

a variety of ways including: the use of NCC owned
commercial/agricultural land; supporting local business (growers and local food processing), supporting farmers markets and c
ommunity purchasing; through
procurement (e.g. NCC schools); and as a planning a
uthority through the protection of food growing areas in the city.

Strand 9: Research and Partnership

NCC will continue to work with other organisations which also have an interest in supporting local food growing, healthy eati
ng, and sustainable develop

NCC will initiate and collaborate in research work to look at the potential for food growing in the city, and to assess the v
alue and impact of the Food Growing



Action Plan

The food growing framework aims will
be delivered through detailed action plans related to each strand.

10 Year Timeline Tree


Year 1


Year 4


Year 7


Strategy Delivery Roles


As a 10 year plan the strategy is aspirational in what it wa
nts to achieve. The strategy [will] identifies priorities that it will work on in the roots phase of the
delivery. Strands of the food growing framework which are new to the Council in some cases are un
resourced. As future priorities are identified at rev
iew stages
and as development and needs change the balance of resources may be re
directed accordingly. In addition the strategy identifies the need to secure resources to
meet the needs of the strategy through partnership, external funding or other means
suitable and available at the time.

Monitoring and evaluation

The success of the strategy will be monitored through quarterly strategy group meetings with reviews scheduled to take accoun
t of developments and changing

Quarterly Strategy Group m
eetings will report on the progress of the aims evidencing outputs and contribution to wider outcomes.

The Strategy Working Group will undertake the following to ensure the success of the strategy:


Implement the strategies action plan


ource resources to help deliver the strategy


Review the strategy and action plan


Celebrate the strategies success and achievements


Aim: Continue to provide and improve on Nottingham’s long standing allotment t


The provision of allotments by NCC is the work strand which has the longest history within the Food Growing Framework and whi
ch is well established locally and
nationally. Since the 19

century allotments in Nottingham have provide
d food growing opportunities for a diverse variety of people, and remain the most important
way for residents (especially those on low income or without private gardens) to access land to grow enough fruit and vegetab
les to fed a family.

The demand for all
otments has increased significantly in recent years and is one of the clearest indicators that residents across the city are
looking to increase the
level of food growing. Initiatives such as the St Anns Allotments Restoration Project have raised the profi
le of allotments and shown the potential for bringing in
additional resources.

However, this interest comes after many years of decline and low take up of plots, and the majority of allotment sites need i
mprovement, while some areas of the
city have very

little local provision.

Work strand summary:

Continue to provide and improve allotments in Nottingham


Provide enough allotments


Improve the quality and condition of sites


Secure resources


Support community management


Promote and celebrate allotment



Deliver a high quality allotment service

Provide enough allotments

Develop a provision standard (number of plots, location)

Retain and protect viable sites

Create new sites

Change the use of underused sites

mprove the quality and condition of sites

Draw up management & maintenance plans for all sites

Implement site improvements

Establish a high quality maintenance system

Support community management

Develop links with existing allotment associations

e leasehold and management agreements

Introduce new forms of partnership management for small sites

Liaise with direct let tenants

Secure resources

Draw up detailed budget

Utilise NCC resources

Work in partnership and secure additional funding

and celebrate allotment gardening

Publicise and encourage take up

Operate an effective waiting list and letting system

Celebrate, research and archive allotment use and culture

Deliver a high quality allotment service

Implement new tenancy agreement

vide excellent customer service

Ensure full compliance with legal and policy requirements

Monitor, review and update the Allotment Strategy

Employ and support staff to implement the above

The work strand action plan provides more detail on these points
with a timetable and outputs and outcomes of delivery.


Overall responsibility for delivery lies with the NCC Allotment Service, but over 70% of allotment plots in the city are now
on sites which are self managed by
allotment associations on lon
g term leases.


Existing resources are in place for Allotment Officers, with a revenue budget for maintenance etc. Significant further resour
ces will be required to carry out
improvement works (and potentially regenerate derelict sites or crea
te new ones).

How this work strand fits in with the rest of the Food Growing Framework:

NCC has a statutory duty to provide allotments, and there are a wide range of laws which define this role. These give protect
ion to the allotment tenant

and to the
site they are on

while also defining the use of allotment gardens. Under the 1922 act an allotment garden is defined as being ‘wholly or mainl
y cultivated by the
occupier for the production of vegetable or fruit crops for consumption by himself or his fa

The word ’allotment’ is of course now used by people in a much wider way, and this is worth bearing in mind through the work
of the Food Growing Framework.
While many people and organisations may express interest in ‘having an allotment’, for some t
his may actually mean they want a vegetable patch or other place to
grow food (perhaps on their own land).

Recent years have also seen some existing allotments in Nottingham being used by community projects or put to alternative use
s. While this often b
rings valuable
benefit it can push the limits of allotment law and mean that residents are less able to access an allotment. The Food Growin
g Framework will look to clarify the use
of allotments, and as a whole aim to increase the options for food growing
on the most appropriate form of land.



Aim: Support the development of a network of community gardening hubs


The network of community gardening hubs outlined in this work strand make up a key eleme
nt of the ‘inspirational’ role of the Food Growing Framework. While
many of the smaller community gardens can play an important neighbourhood role they do not generally have the resources to ac
commodate a range of visitors,
offer allotments or projects bas
ed on allotment sites and have limitations for public access.

Community gardening hubs will be places where people can go and….


SEE food being grown


Have a chance to GROW food


LEARN how to grow food


EAT local food




Get INFORMATION and advice


obtain SUPPLIES (seeds, plants, etc)


get INVOLVED with the management and running of the community garden

Some areas of Nottingham already have projects that meet this description, but

most parts of the city lack this kind of facility. In order to co
ordinate its use of
resources and to provide support across the city, NCC will look to support one ‘hub’ in each of the nine Areas of the city. H
owever, NCC will not be directly setting
or running the Hubs, so for any projects to be set up and successful it will need community support and ownership within the

Adopting this work strand as part of the Food Growing Framework will help to give clarity to the many organisations and ind
ividuals who have already expressed
interest in establishing projects like this.

Work strand summary: develop a network of community gardening hubs across Nottingham

with one in each of the nine Areas of the city. Each ‘hub’
will provide hands on food

growing opportunities, education, and inspiration for the local community.

Definition/description of community gardening hub:

Size at least 0.1 hectares

or to accommodate functions as below

Open for public access at least 20 hours per week

ities for members of the public to be actively involved in growing plants

To be managed by a community group or have opportunities for local people to be involved in the management

Significant amount of the garden used for food growing and production

ve facilities for visitors (shelter, toilets)

Be DDA compliant

A ‘stand alone’ site

or have direct public access to the community garden if part of a larger site

Adequate access

To run a programme of educational or training activities

Sell or distri
bute garden supplies and locally grown food

Have opportunities to eat food

a café or at events

Possibly have livestock i.e. be a form of city farm.

At present (August 2009) there are two projects in Nottingham which meet this definition:

Arkwright Mea
dows Community Garden (in Bridge ward

Area 8)

Stonebridge City Farm (in St Anns ward

Area 6)

What role will Nottingham City Council play?

As noted, it isn’t the role of Nottingham City Council to directly set up and run a network of hubs, it can only
support and encourage them. They can only be set up
and run successfully if the local community wants them, and if there are people

especially volunteers

willing to get involved. While the definition/description in
this proposal outlines the kind of pr
ojects NCC is looking to support, it should still allow for local variety.

The role of NCC could be to: Consult with local Areas to find out if there is support for a hub in the Area, to identify poss
ible sites, and issue lease or agreements.
NCC officer

time could be allocated to support the overall hub network, individual hubs, and co
ordinate the work of other NCC departments to support the hub
network. NCC could provide a small amount of direct financial support and/or work to secure further funding a
nd resources.


NCC Allotment & Community Garden Officers can play a role in initial co
ordination and consultation (along with officers from Neighbourhood management etc).
Key partners are likely to be:

A number of community growing organisatio
ns which currently meets under the umbrella of ‘Garden to Plate’

Existing Area based partnerships trusts e.g. Partnership Council in Area 4

New organisations which are likely to be set up specifically to run individual community gardening hubs

A support

network of growers and training organisation


No resources currently allocated for new hubs. (Arkwright Meadows Community Garden and Stonebridge City Farm have secured som
e funding for their work.)

Outputs & outcomes:

Continuation of Arkwright

Meadows Community Garden and Stonebridge City Farm

Creation of up to 7 new hubs

Training and events


Volunteer and community involvement

Food growing opportunities

Green Pennant etc

Neighbourhood improvemen

** Planning Note:

‘Allotments &

Community Gardens’ are types of open space which NCC has to identify under PPG17.

The above definition of a ‘community
gardening hub’ is proposed as the definition of ‘community garden’ in this context.

How this work strand fits in with the rest of the

Food Growing Framework:

The hubs obviously have food growing areas, but they may not in themselves deliver a high volume of crops, especially if they

are used for training etc. However,
they could play a role in the distribution of food from other growers

(through sales, events, cafes etc), and the hubs will play a crucial role in providing skills and
inspiration so that people can go on to grow food on allotments, in private gardens, or via other community projects.


Aim: Introduce edible and fruiting plants into public open spaces.

Nottingham City Council owns and maintains a large amount of ‘public open space’. This includes green areas such as parks and

playgrounds, sports
areas, wildlife co
rridors, and cemeteries, along with street spaces and squares.

These spaces are generally open to the public free of charge and are used by thousands of residents. The landscaping of these

areas, the way in which they are
designed and planted, is generall
y ‘ornamental’ and based on long standing traditions of what public parks should look like and how they should be used.

There is however a great opportunity to use some or part of these spaces to introduce edible and fruiting plants as a very di
rect way
of providing inspiration

free food!

for City residents. This process has already begun and many parks contain fruiting trees. During the Second World War ‘Dig fo
r Victory’ campaign
sections of formal parks were often converted to vegetable plots an
d while this style of growing can be a very direct way of introducing food growing, edible and
fruiting plants can also be ornamental and attractive, as well as beneficial to wildlife.

Work strand summary: Increase the amount of edible and fruiting plant
s used in public open space owned and maintained by Nottingham City Council,
such as parks, playgrounds and in street spaces.

Deliver this by integrating the work strand into:


Long term design and maintenance of open spaces


Nottingham in

Bloom planting schemes


Specific display gardens

Long term design and maintenance of open spaces

All NCC owned open space is designed and maintained in some form, with decisions being made on what plants to be used and how

they will be maintained
. Larger
parks have management plans to guide this. Edible plants can be introduced as part of the design of new open spaces, to repla
ce existing or old plants or to add to
existing planting. This part of the work strand will be relatively low maintenance,

and may best suit trees and other perennial plants, perhaps in a wild or natural

Nottingham in Bloom planting schemes

The very successful Nottingham in Bloom planting schemes tend to be in high profile or publicly visible locations, and tradit
ally used colourful bedding plants.
Some perennial planting is used, but the majority is annual. There is scope to introduce edible planting, using the colours a
nd shapes of vegetables, herbs and fruits,
both as ‘spot’ plants in mixed beds and stand alone
examples. Because some of the Bloom displays are on traffic islands and along busy roads, the edible plants will
perhaps be illustrative rather than productive crops.

Specific display gardens

Some of the larger parks in Nottingham have areas which could
be used for specific edible garden displays, perhaps in a slightly separated or protected area. These
give the opportunity to grow and display fruit and vegetables in more traditional styles: allotment, kitchen garden, potager
etc. These could be used for
informal or
formal visits and educational work, as well as for casual visitors. Community groups could take on the planning and maintenan
ce of these sites.

If there is sufficient support from the local community, small parts of parks could be used as a c
ommunity garden, looked after by local residents or friends of

Timeline Priority:

Some of this work is currently underway and will be continued throughout the lifespan of the strategy.


This work strand is not aiming to produce high y
ields of crops: inevitably some of the food will be picked before it is ripe and some people will help themselves to
the crops. It’s purpose has a more inspirational and educational focus i.e. to give Nottingham residents a very public demons
tration of wha
t edible and fruiting
plants look like. A large part of this work stream can be delivered directly by NCC: the design and planting of public open s
paces through the Parks Development
Officers and the Horticultural Officers, and maintenance incorporated int
o long term contracts.


Much of this strand could be combined within existing roles and areas of work. Staffing and resources are currently in place
within NCC:

Park Development Officers

Nottingham in Bloom

Horticulture staff

Budgets for plant
s and grounds maintenance

Park Rangers

for events and work with community groups

The role of NCC in this area will be greatly enhanced by community and voluntary sector activity. Some voluntary project (e.g
. ‘Sprout’ in Area 4) are already
supporting f
ruit tree planting in public places and the Parks Development Officers and Rangers encourage Friends groups and public involv
ement. The planting and
maintenance of display areas in parks would give a very strong opportunity for community involvement, and v
oluntary groups may be able to take on formal
responsibility for these.

Outputs & outcomes:

Fruit trees planted in public open spaces

Display gardens created and maintained

Awards and achievement

Bloom awards, Green Pennant, Green Flag

Number of vo
lunteers/residents involved

Improved neighbourhoods

Increased public awareness and access to edible and fruiting plant

How this work strand fits in with the rest of the Food Growing Framework:

The ‘Edible plants in public places’ work strand is primarily

a form of Inspiration rather than a high yielding vegetable production system. It will provide a taster for
a range of other work strands such as growing in private gardens, community gardening hubs, blooming neighbours and allotment
s as well a community
involvement element that spans a number of strands.

This work strand is however distinct from hubs and blooming neighbours in that it is based on public open space with free acc

including access to the crops!


Aim: Support a variety of small scale community gardens across Nottingham, through the Nottingham in Bloom initiative.


There are many different definitions and examples of community gardens. The ‘Hub’ work strand of the Food Growing Framew
ork looks at the role of larger
projects with a food growing emphasis, but ‘community gardens’ can be collections of pots and planters which a group of neigh
bours look after on their street or an
area in a residential centre or a hospital garden maintained

by volunteers. Many of these smaller gardens are ornamental and mainly use flowers and shrubs: a
community garden is not necessarily for food growing. However, some of the projects are also using edible plants, both for th
eir ornamental value and for food


The majority of these small projects work independently of NCC, but in recent years Nottingham in Bloom has given them suppor
t, though its ‘Blooming
Neighbourhoods’ competitions and with donations of tools and seeds along with advice. This h
as helped Nottingham’s success in the Britain in Bloom contest, and
in 2008 the city was awarded the highest national award of ‘Champion of Champions’.

In 2009, the focus for Bloom was on neighbourhoods, and over 80
individual projects entered the Bloomin
g Neighbourhoods competition and received support.

Work strand summary: Support small scale community garden and neighbourhood projects across Nottingham, and encourage the use

of edible and
fruiting plants, through the Nottingham in Bloom initiative.

Timeline Priority:

In general terms this work strand has been in place for a number of years

with more edible plants being introduced by volunteers themselves. Work will continue
from 2010


The main NCC element of this work strand will be de
livered by the Nottingham in Bloom team, (supported by other staff from Parks & Open Spaces) but the real
work will of course be done by the neighbourhood and community garden volunteers!


Bloom resources in place/anticipated

Additional NCC s

e.g. neighbourhood management?

Health / active communities and NCH

Outputs/ outcomes:

Neighbourhood improvements

Community involvement

Number projects in Nottingham in Bloom

Green Pennants

Amount of seeds, tools etc distributed.

How this wor
k strand fits in with the rest of the Food Growing Framework:

There are many definitions and varieties of ‘community gardens’ and this work strand has many connections to rest of the Food

Growing Framework. Key
characteristics of the ‘Blooming Neighbourhoo
d’ projects however are that generally they:


Include a higher proportion of ornamental plants


Have a less formal organisation structure and generally do not have a lease or tenancy agreement.

This makes them dif
ferent from allotments, the ‘Hubs’, or projects using NCC land under the ‘Land Letting’ work strand. ‘Blooming Neighbourhood’

projects are
unlikely to produce high food yields, and their role is much more in terms of inspiration: for both participants and
their neighbours. The large number of projects
across Nottingham, and the high level of community involvement make it important to recognise them as part of the Food Growin
g Framework.


‘Competitions’ can have a valuable role in promoting and

celebrating food growing activity. While many people grow for their own pleasure and have little interest
in the results being judged by others, having the best plot can be a real motivation for some gardeners. Perhaps more importa
ntly, a competition link
ed to some form
of show or presentation can be a focus for publicity and celebration, and bring together people who would normally be working

on their

it’s a chance to share
experiences, ideas, and encouragement.

Options for promoting and celebrating f
ood growing projects could include:

A specific food growing category within Nottingham in Bloom

Blooming Neighbourhoods (which could include food growing community projects)

Continuation of the NCC allotment competition

for sites and individual plots

Events organised by the community gardening hubs


Aim: Develop new ways of providing community access to publicly owned land


Other work strands in the Food Growing Framework look at food growing

on land owned by NCC, land which is public open space, allotments, school grounds, or
available for commercial rent. But there are significant amounts of land which could be described as under
used’ or ‘left

Typically this includes:

Land which form
s part of a housing estate and which has been landscaped as grass, but which is little used by residents.

Land which is being held for future alternative uses, but is currently empty.

Open space which is difficult to use or maintain, and may have become
overgrown and effected by fly typing etc.

Many of these spaces could be suitable for food growing, as forms of allotments or community gardens; especially in areas of
the city were there is a shortage of
allotments or other growing spaces. This would not o
nly increase the area of food growing in the city, but could also improve the quality of local neighbourhoods by
maintaining neglected land.

At present there are no mechanisms in place to bring together potential growers with available land. The land may
be owned different departments within NCC, and
there isn’t a single point of contact where members of the public and community groups can find out what might be available.
There is no strategy or planning
document to say which pieces of land could be used.

There are also no clear legal mechanisms in place to guide how the land could be used. While NCC might want to encourage use
of land it also needs to be sure that
the land doesn’t become neglected or mi
used, and on temporarily available land may need t
o take the land back within the necessary ownership of property rights.

Work strand Summary:

Establish a land matching agency to enable areas of NCC land which has the potential to be used for food growing (for either
temporary or long term use)
with po
tential growers / communities that wish to improve neighbourhoods and local food provision.

Identify suitable land and resolve any potential legal/planning issues

Develop a range of legal framework agreements (lease, licenses, tenancy or service level agr
eement) to manage use of this land.

Promote the availability of identified land and match with growers

A range of ‘growers’ are likely to be interested in access to the land, such as:

Individuals who want to grow for their own use (especially if
they have no access to an allotment)

Informal community groups

Community groups, charities, social enterprises with formal status

Small businesses.

The form of lease agreement needs to reflect this diversity of growers, how the l
and is to be used and future plans for the site. For example, the agreement might
stipulate ‘annual plants only’ in a location where food growing might only be planned for one growing season. In other locati
ons sheds and other site facilities might
be allo
wed on condition that they are taken away or that they contribute to the long term future of the site.

Agreements might include:

Temporary allotments (long established within allotment law and provision)

Service level agreement: access
is given to the land at law or no cost in return for it being used and maintained in a way which also benefits the community.

Lease/ licence: commercial or semi commercial agreement with rent paid by the grower.

Timeline Priority:

Initial wo
rk will be to establish what land is available, and draw up legal agreements etc. One
or two year pilot project with a range of growers and different agreements would be a useful
way of dealing with any potential problems.

NCC focus would begin with NCC

property, but the work strand could eventually also
cooperate with other owners of ‘public land’ e.g. health authorities, registered social landlords


This is a new area of work, although the Allotment Service and other NCC officers
receive requests and enquiries about access to land for food growing. Information on land
ownership is held by Property

who would normally rent out land on a commercial basis as
part of the NCC property portfolio. However, most of the land covere
d by this work strand is
likely to be held by other NCC departments (or managed by Nottingham City Homes) as non
commercial property.

Delivery of this work strand should be co
ordinated by the Parks & Open Spaces section of


No re
sources are currently allocated. Officer time will be required to implement this work
strand, and in some cases capital funding to make sites safe and secure. Initially it is
proposed that this could be explored through a Food Growing Framework partnership

will need a champion identified, potentially at neighbourhood level, to progress the concept.

Outputs & Outcomes

The ‘list of land’

database etc

Increase the amount of land being used for food growing.

More people/ organisations having

access to land

Assist in the housing association community engagement agenda.

How this work strand fits in with the rest of the Food Growing Framework:

This work strand has the potential to significantly increase the amount of land available
food growing in Nottingham. Production can be medium scale (for home use) or community/
commercial. While some sites will be publicly visible (and therefore inspirational) the legal
tenancy agreements/ will generally give access rights to the grower ra
ther than public


Aim: encourage food growing in school grounds


One of the key themes of the Sustainable Communities Strategy is the importance of ear
intervention and support for young people. This is recognised as essential to help break
cycles of poverty in Nottingham and raise aspirations. Work with schools is therefore an
important element of the Food Growing Framework: providing young people wit
h the
experience of growing and eating fresh fruit and vegetables and with the skills to make this a
lifelong habit.

A lot of work has already started in this field, both locally and nationally. The quality of food in
school dinners is improving and l
ocal schools take part in ‘5 a day’ initiatives to encourage
children to eat fresh fruit. A number of schools in Nottingham already have vegetable
patches in their grounds, and others have links to local allotments (Ellis Guildford,
Scotholme). Much of thi
s work has been initiated by the schools themselves, perhaps
working with the voluntary sector or with the Park Ranger team, and also

Curriculum Services. Building Schools for the Future (BSF) is a major programme of school
building and redevelopment, a
nd food growing areas are being incorporated at the design
stage on some sites.

Challenges still remain. In recent years the National Curriculum has tended to closely define
what is taught in schools, and food growing has not been a clear part of this

In some cases, there is a skills gap amongst teaching and other school staff. Projects may
have worked successfully on the enthusiasm and skills of an individual staff member, but
then struggle to continue if they leave. And there is still the annual
issue of how to look after
crops during the school holidays, and how to plan work which goes from one school year into
the next.

Work strand summary: Encourage food growing in all schools across Nottingham, so
that every school has:

A food growing
area within its own grounds

Links to other projects such as allotments or hubs

Staff who are trained and supported

How this work strand fits in with the rest of the Food Growing Framework:

Although schools some times have to work as ‘closed
’ communities (and cannot allow open
public access) this work strand will

in the long term

have an impact across Nottingham.
Its success is also likely to depend on developing links to other work stands such as the
community gardening hubs to provide i
nspirations and support. The potential involvement of
an older generation of gardeners and allotment holders can break down inter generational
barriers. Once children become interested in food growing, this will have an influence on their
parents and carer
s, and the wider community. In the short term this work strand may not
bring high food production but it will be key for inspiration.


Aim: Encourage residents, business, and other organisations to grow fo
od on their
own land


While many residents might want an allotment, or be involved in community projects, some
of the most productive forms of food growing are in peoples own gardens. Plants can be
easily cared for, weeded, watered, and
then picked and eaten! While some people have fairly
large home gardens, others use a backyard with pots and planters.

It clearly isn’t the role of NCC to plan or control the way residents use their own gardens, but
the Food Growing Framework can encour
age and inspire people who have an interest and
choose to grow food at home.

A large amount of land in Nottingham is also privately owned by institutions or business, and
this could be used for food growing in a number of ways:

allotments for

use by staff

Edible landscaping for staff and visitors

Allowing community access to use land

Work strand summary:

Encourage individuals and organisations to grow food on their own land by inspiring
individuals and supporting organisations

Inspiring individuals

Many of the other work strands in the Food Growing Framework will help to inspire
individuals such as visits to community gardening hubs, being part of a Blooming
Neighbourhood or seeing the impact on children in the local schoo
l. This work strand also
brings together the main programme of information and inspiration across the Food Growing
Framework. This will include:

Information: Food growing section on NCC website, information in Arrow and other NCC publications, leaflets

Events [link to Bloom]; shows and competitions

Training programme

Access to seeds, plants, tools and other materials

Supporting organisations

Develop an advisory service for organisations/business on the use of edible landscape designs

After the initial pilot stage of the Growing Access work strand (based on NCC property) extend this to include other organisa


No resources currently allocated within NCC (apart from elements of the Allotment Service
and Bloom).
Resources required would be relatively low cost as they would not require
capital expenditure.


While NCC would be responsible for information on its own website etc, other aspects of the
work strand could be delivered by partners e.g. tra

Note on ‘landshare’, private gardens and NCC

There are a number of successful schemes around the country which look to match up
individuals with larger home gardens that are under used with people without growing space.
The majority of the
se schemes are community based and small scale. On a national level the
Landshare project set up by Channel 4 is looking to match ‘land’ with ‘growers’.

These schemes are offering models for bringing greater access to land, but they also have
some ris
ks, particularly for large local authority involvement. While the majority of people
getting involved may do so for genuine reasons, there is the possibility that others would see
it as opportunity to gain less legitimate access to property (and people). N
CC would have a
responsibility to ensure that participants were not put at risk, but a vetting system (e.g.
criminal record check) is likely to be seen as intrusive and bureaucratic. Disputes will
inevitably occur, and any expectation for NCC to resolve th
ese is likely to be very time

For these reasons the Food Growing Framework does not propose direct NCC involvement in projects of this kind at the present
time (although
information about the Landshare website etc would obviously be part of

the general information provided on food growing options). However, the
development of the Growing Access work strand could provide some opportunities.