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Top crops

27 October, 2023

An easy way of reducing your carbon footprint when food shopping is buying the most local version of a product (although what you eat is much more important than where it’s from). In Hull, this has been taken to another level: with the recently established “Right to grow”, every empty space in the city that belongs to the council becomes a potential ground for small scale farming. And it has a great social impact too. 

Following the unanimous passing of this new rule, councillors identified a list of suitable lands they own, from car parks to wasteland, and facilitated access to insurance and water to grow crops there. The initiative is also supported by the not-for-profit community organisation Rooted in Hull, who teaches people, including refugees, how to grow crops in an urban environment. This initiative is expected to improve mental health, bring people together, reduce anti-social behaviour, embellish the city, and improve the quality of the food of the people of Hull. 

Those who experimented with lockdown gardening or who manage to keep plants alive in tiny city flats know very well the positive impact of gardening on mental health. The hormones it generates have been described as a legal and healthy “harvesting high”! But communal gardening is the real victory, bringing more solidarity within the community and is an affordable way of building connections and tackling loneliness for many people.  

Living in sustainable cities means thinking about how to make the most out of the many unused spaces all around us, and it is a major success when it serves the common good and communities’ happiness. 

By Flora Gicquel

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