Bardon Grange Project

Bardon Grange is Leeds University Students' Union's community food growing project. Our volunteer sessions and events are open to anyone; students, staff and members of the wider community.

There are so many reasons to grow your own food; it's a great way to get outdoors, healthy, cheap, and good for the planet in so many ways! Our weekly volunteer sessions are an opportunity to learn how to grow organic food, meet new people, get active outdoors, and eat delicious food!

As well as two drop-in volunteer sessions a week, we also have a salad growing enterprise which supplies the Union and local caterers with tasty local food, and run workshops, courses and events to do with sustainable living.

In promoting local food and urban agriculture, Bardon Grange also supports local biodiversity, improves employability skills for students, and creates strong links between students, the University and the wider community. We are members of The Land Workers' Alliance, linking community food growing to the larger picture of food sovereignty.

...we wouldn't be here without our wonderful volunteers - come and get stuck in!

How To Find Us

You can find all the gardens we manage here

The Sustainable Garden is at the heart of campus, next to the Roger Stevens Building (number 89 on the campus map)

The Roof Garden can be found next to the Green Exchange office on Level 2 of the LUU building (LUU's address and opening hours can be found here).





How to get involved

Anyone is welcome to join any of our events - students, staff and members of the wider community including children accompanied by an adult. Whether you're an experienced grower or have never touched a trowel before, we'll share skills and learn from each other. We run regular weekly sessions on two of our sites, and occasional sessions at the many smaller edible spaces we've created around the campus and beyond. We also run events, workshops and courses to do with growing edibles and sustainable living more generally, which are free where possible.


Regular weekly volunteer sessions:

A great way to get outside, meet people, and learn all about growing food!

Please dress in weather appropriate clothing that you don't mind getting dirty. We provide tools, gloves, and tea and snacks. These regular sessions are drop-in's; there is no obligation to stay for the whole session, come for what ever time works for you.

Each week we will have a variety of seasonal jobs to get on with to maintain our gardens. We try to make sure that you learn something new each time you come, and we always encourage people to taste things they may not have tried before and to take produce home with them. 


12pm - 2pm March til October only

On the Roof Garden, Level 2, Leeds University Students' Union.

Feel free to come for a bit during your lunch break, no experience necessary. We'll be planting, sowing, harvesting & lots more. There might be light rain so bring a waterproof. Gloves provided.

2pm - 6pm 

(2pm - 4pm from November until March)
At the Sustainable Garden on Chancellor's court, Leeds University campus, next to the Roger Stevens Building.


Other events:

We often run sessions at our other low maintenance edible beds around the University campus, for example the hanging vertical planters on the Terrace Bar in the Union, and the beds in St George's Field.


Workshops, courses and events:

We run seasonal events and workshops; such as wild food foraging, fruit tree grafting, permaculture design courses, cooking and food processing, and film screenings.

The best way to hear about other events and workshops is to join our mailing list, email:

You can also check our facebook and twitter pages and the 'Upcoming Events' tab on this website.

The Sustainable Garden

The Bardon Grange Project designed and planted all of the edible areas of the Sustainable Garden, and continue to maintain the space at our weekly drop-in session with the help of our volunteers. The garden was officially opened in 2013 and is a partnership project with the University of Leeds Sustainability Team and Estates Team. This award winning* space is right in the heart of the university campus on Chancellors Court, adjacent to the Roger Stevens building.

The Sustainable Garden has wildflower areas, soft fruit hedgerows, vegetable and salad patches. The space is a demonstration of urban agriculture, showing ornamental edible planting in a busy public place. All the produce which is grown is for people to help themselves to. Free, local, and sustainably produced food is radical! We’re challenging the current food production system and hoping to provoke people to think differently.

The garden also provides ecological benefits like providing more pollinators for insects, and increasing biodiversity on campus, as well as providing unique opportunities for research.

We’d love you to get in touch with us if you have any questions about the garden or would like to get involved. Just email us at

*The garden won the category of ‘Landscape, Public Realm and Public Art’ in the Leeds Architecture Awards 2013.

The garden’s edible areas – what & how?

The garden has both perennial and annual edible plants. The perennial area is planted as a ‘forest garden’ using permaculture design. It includes fruit trees, soft-fruit bushes and shrubs and ground-covering plants. The idea is to create a low maintenance, sustainable system for food production which mimics the efficient ecosystem of a natural woodland. Perennial plants are not only less work to look after, producing crops year after year; they also provide a permanent habitat for wildlife, and preserve the delicate web of micro-organisms in the soil which can be mainly left undisturbed.

The annual vegetable area is planted in allotment style beds and grown using the no-dig method. Compost is added to the surface of the soil every year to build fertility. Not digging the compost in, or turning the soil, naturally improves the health of the plants without disturbing the important and delicate structure of the top soil, and helps locks carbon into the soil. This also reduces weed growth as less seeds are exposed to soils surface. The crops are on a three yearly rotation to prevent the build up of pests and diseases, and are grown using organic methods, without the use of artificial chemicals.

The produce is free for anyone to harvest and take home but please be aware that there are a high number of people using the space and only harvest what you need. There are signs all around the garden explaining how to harvest all the different plants, and a traffic light system in place to tell you what is ready to pick:

Red: Please don’t pick.

Amber: Can be picked, but not ready yet.

Green: Ready to harvest! Follow instructions on labels on how to harvest.

The salad & herb enterprise

The Bardon Grange Project has been growing mixed salad bags with herbs, and edible flowers for three years now. It brings some income to the project, and we set an example by providing the University and local businesses with tasty, organically grown, (very!) locally grown food. All of our produce is delivered by bike trailer.

We currently supply seasonal salad to Leeds University's Terrace Bar and Refrectory, and externally to Grub and Grog and a few other local caterers. You can purchase our small tasty salad bags in Essentials (Leeds University Union), or get in contact if you are interested in buying in larger quantities

We will be looking for volunteers to help us build our salad growing/selling enterprise. Once the season gets underway, we will need volunteers who have an interest in the project and are seeking experience in growering, harvesting, processing to help us with our salad picks on a Monday  morning. We would also be interested in anyone with promotion/marketing experience or other business skills who might be able to offer office based support for our social enterprise.

Our salad is grown from seed (from, organically, in good soil and picked by hand, we like to boast that our salad is probably the best you can buy in Leeds...

The Roof Garden

Thanks to the fantastic Green Fund funding from the NUS, we are building a roof garden on Leeds University Students' Union!

There roof garden cannot be open access as there are weight restrictions in place, so we are creating a highly functional space to propogate seedlings for our other sites, and to grow organic high quality mixed salad, herbs and flowers which we sell within the Student Union and to local caterers. However we do run volunteer sessions up there, so there is a chance to get out on the roof if you're up for helping out! Check our "How to get involved" tab for more details on volunteering.

We have built a greenhouse with sub-irrigated seedling shelves, and in the main space we've installed buckets for growing in; these are also sub-irrigated, with a net pot acting as a wic, sitting on rainwater gutters which are flooded by float valves connected to the mains. We are going to build a sheltered area for processing the salad which we grow on the roof. Not to mention a polystyrene compost 'HotBin' and our wormery.

Growing in containers is a more intensive use of soil, so we are taking a lot of care to feed the soil and keep the soil life happy. We are growing in good quality container compost into which we've mixed biochar. We add liquid feeds such as compost tea's, worm compost and we are looking into setting up bokashi compost bins.

This is about as local as food can get, and a fantastic use of wasted urban space. Our salad is grown from seed (from, organically, in good soil and picked by hand, we like to boast that our salad is probably the best you can buy in Leeds...

Upcoming events

Every Monday 12-2pm

The Roof Garden, Level 2 LUU

Our roof garden is now open to all! Come along and get involved in our salad growing enterprise and help out in our greenhouse. Jobs for the coming months include seed sowing, caring for seedlings and brewing compost tea to feed our salad containers. All tools are provided, but please bring suitable clothing for mucky/wet working (although we can nip into the greenhouse if it’s tipping it down!) Come along for a bit or the whole time, no experience necessary.


Every Wednesday 2-6pm

Sustainable Garden next to Roger Stevens

It's our weekly volunteer session in the Sustainable Garden (by Roger Stevens Lecture Theatre, University of Leeds Campus) Come along for a bit or the whole time, no experience necessary. We'll be planting, sowing, harvesting & lots more. Bring a bag or container to take home some produce. There might be light rain so bring a waterproof or we have spares. Hope to see you there! : )


To keep up-to-date and for more details of the events listed, please join our mailing list by emailing:

or check out our facebook page.


Making Wild Garlic Pest. April 26th 4pm - 6pm:

Meet us on St George's Field where we will forage for wild garlic. We'll then go together to LUU Little House to make wild garlic pesto together. Please bring an empty jar! Email for more info and to book a place.

“Summat 2016” Saturday 23rd April, : Summat is organised by Leeds for Change, “a full day of guest speaker panels, workshops hosted by groups from Leeds and further afield”. Bardon Grange is co-hosting a workshop – ‘Struggles for land in Leeds’.

Vertical Planting; hanging pockets on the Terrace Bar LUU. April 20th 10 - 11.30am.

We created an edible living wall! It needs a bit of spring loving. Open session, come and help us top up with compost and fill in the gaps.

Apple Tree Grafting workshop, March 16th, 6pm @ Leeds Uni Union, Level 2, Room 3.

Come along and learn how to graft apple trees, and take your own home. Email to book your place

Seed bomb workshop, March 14th, 5pm @ Leeds Uni, Little LUU House.

Come and learn how to make seed bombs! Email to let us know you're coming!

3 upcoming sessions for Student Volunteer Week:

  • Monday 22nd Feb ’16, 1pm – 3pm: Drop-in volunteer session on the Roof Garden, LUU.
  • Tuesday 23rd Feb ’16, 1pm – 4pm: Drop-in volunteer session at Bardon Grange, off Weetwood Lane, far Headingley.
  • Weds 24th Feb ’16, 1pm – 4pm: Drop-in volunteer session at the Sustainable Garden, Leeds University

Tuesday 9th Feb ’16, 1pm – 3pm: Pruning tour of all of our soft fruit on campus. Starting at the Sustainable Garden, moving to Lyddon Terrace, then St George’s Field.

About Us: History, Values & Aims


Bardon Grange was established as a Community and Volunteering project by Leeds University Union in 2009. It started in response to students at Leeds University expressing an interest in having a communal space to grow food. Our original site was the old walled garden at Oxley Halls of Residence was University land and a space that was not being used.

The project converted the site into a productive growing space, ran weekly drop-in food growing sessions, and put on regular workshops and events to help people learn more about sustainable food production and gain new skills. We also led gardening sessions for young children in schools, planted an edible/wildlife garden at the St John’s Shopping Centre in Leeds city centre, worked to provide and promote fresh, local food and support other sustainability issues.

In 2013 Bardon Grange became part of LUU's Green Exchange, and was funded by the NUS Student's Green Fund. The project took on managing the Sustainable Garden, built the Roof Garden on the Students' Union, and expanded its salad growing enterprise. It also ran a project called 'Backyard Growing' which aimed to get students to grow in whatever space they had available to them: we ran an urban edible spaces design course, workshops on making your own growing containers, and joined a local Transition Towns project to run action days in the Hyde Park area creating edible beds in residents backgardens.

Bardon Grange now runs drop-in food growing sessions at the Sustainable Garden and (soon) on the Roof Garden for all members of the community, we maintain edible beds around campus and at our original site in far Headingley, grow salad for sale, supports other food growing initiatives at the University, and runs workshops courses and events to do with sustainable living.

We joined the Land Workers' Alliance in 2015 because we feel community food growing initiatives can be part of a wider movement that is finding solutions to the problems of the current global food system.


We want to promote sustainable living and foster community and well-being. We believe that a low-carbon, sustainable lifestyle is vital for society and the planet, and that the current global food system is the planet and its population. We aim to help LUU and the University of Leeds lead the way in sustainability in Higher Education. We do this by producing fresh, local, and seasonal food, grown using low-carbon and environmentally-friendly methods. In addition, we provide the opportunity and support for students, staff and the wider local community to do the same.


The Bardon Grange Project aims to:

·      Educate, empower and encourage students, staff and other local people in food growing and gardening skills.

·      Communicate and explain our values and why we believe local food is important.

·      Grow food and plants using low-carbon, environmentally-friendly methods.

·      Promote fresh, local, and seasonal food to the local community.

·      Promote knowledge and understanding of sustainable food production (we practise and endorse Permaculture principles and no-dig gardening).

·      Foster community between students, staff and other local people and organisations.

·      Promote biodiversity and healthy soils, as a means to healthy plants and produce.

·      Use resources in a low-carbon and environmentally-friendly way.

·      Be economically viable and offer value for money.

·      Demonstrate and encourage urban agriculture.