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Edible Estates 1: A guide to food growing for social landlords

1 - Introduction

'Over the last decade access to healthy affordable food has become a substantial issue in the UK. To help address this, opportunities for people to learn about where food comes from, and how to grow their own, are increasingly being taken by local communities and backed by social landlords, government, celebrities, and major trust funders. However, while traditional allotments are still popular, many have long waiting lists. This has led to a rise in community food growing projects which not only provide a much needed facility to residents but can enhance community cohesion and reduce anti-social behaviour. As such, it is little surprise that, in 2011 over 37% of Housing Associations and other social landlords reported food growing on their estates and are increasingly turning over their lawns to provide areas for their communities to grow food.   

Social Landlords in partnership with organisations like Sustain and Planning Aid for London have been at the forefront of this movement as part of their broader mission to improve the lives of residents in their communities. The National Housing Federation through Neighbourhoods Green recognises that such schemes play an important role in enabling the delivery of great homes and promoting health and wellbeing amongst communities. We hope this guide will support our members to make the best possible use of food growing schemes as part of their green space assets.' 


David Orr 
Chief Executive National Housing Federation


2. Purpose of this guide 

This guide has been developed to share learning and good practice from communities and social landlords who have been involved in food growing initiatives on social housing owned land. The guide offers a practical guide to support those working for or with housing providers in collaboration with local people, to establish food growing schemes. 

The guide has been produced by the following partners:    

Capital Growth was launched in 2008, by food charity Sustain, with the aim of supporting community food growing in London. So far over 2,000 projects have been supported through the campaign, involving 99,000 people with over a quarter of these on housing land or involving tenants and resident groups in the capital. Eleven housing associations supported the campaign and inspired food growing in their communities and helped residents overcome the barriers to start a food growing project. 

Neighbourhoods Green established in 2003, is a partnership initiative hosted by the National Housing Federation which champions the role of green space in creating sustainable communities and supports the housing sector to take forward best practice in the design, management and use of open spaces.    

Planning Aid for London is a charity that has been providing town planning advice in the Greater London area since 1973. PAL has supported community food growing efforts across the capital since 2009 and has FAQs about community food growing on its website. 

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Neighbourhoods Green is a national partnership supported by Design Council Cabe, Groundwork, the Green Flag Plus Partnership, the Landscape Institute, the National Housing Federation, Natural England, the Royal Horticultural Society and the Wildlife Trusts.
site last updated 02 March 2016
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