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.