An exciting series of free interactive workshops on sustainable food aimed at the general public is coming to the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool Waterfront between 9th and the 12th of March. The event is organised by the Liverpool Food Growers Network and the University of Liverpool and is part of the Open Eye Gallery’s Look Climate Lab 2022.
Recent events such as Brexit and Covid-19 have exposed the cracks in our industrial food system, and with rising concerns over climate change, ecological degradation and extreme weather events, the security of our food has become one of the most pressing concerns of the 21st Century. Over half of the world’s population live in urban areas, and many rely on complex supply chains as their primary source of food. Our city is also home to three of the ten most deprived food deserts (areas with poor access to healthy food) in England.
Urban agriculture – the growing, harvesting and distribution of food in and around towns and cities – could act as a solution by bringing production of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs back into our urban areas. Recent University of Liverpool research shows that we could substantially increase domestic production of fruit and vegetables by growing more in towns and cities. Importantly, the amount that could be grown is more than enough to meet the dietary health recommendations for local populations.
Clara Steiner, a researcher from the University of Liverpool and project coordinator of the Liverpool Food Growers Network, said: “It is time to seriously reimagine our urban landscapes as sites of food production”.
“There are many likely benefits of doing this, such as strengthening local communities, increasing urban biodiversity and improving access to good food. Urban agriculture can also improve mental and physical wellbeing, and provide education and employment opportunities around sustainable food systems”.
The Liverpool City Region is emerging as a hotpot for urban food growing, in underground farms, back alleyways, allotments and community gardens. The Liverpool Food Growers Network was recently set up as a partnership between the University and food grower practitioners, and it aims to connect and support urban community growing spaces across the region. It also aims to inspire and empower members of the public to get involved with growing their own food.
The workshop series, hosted in collaboration with local community groups, will highlight the incredible food growing projects that are happening across the Liverpool City Region including:
- Introduction to Beekeeping by Grow Speke
- Introduction to Composting by Compost Works
- Relax & Grow by Faiths4Change and Mersey Forest
- Windowsill Growing by Croxteth Community Garden
- Reimagining your Future Food Neighbourhood by Feeding Liverpool and Hope Community Garden
- Growing on the Streets: Involving local residents in greening up public spaces by Taking Root Bootle
- Dereliction to Delicious by Grow Speke
On the final day, Saturday the 12th March, there will be a panel discussion on urban food growing with panellists including Dr Charlotte Hardman from the University of Liverpool, Rachael Emblem from Croxteth Community Garden, Christine Leung from Taking Root in Bootle, and the artist Hellen Songa.
There will also be an exhibition by Hellen Songa, called Volunteer Voices, featuring portraits introducing the people who give up their time to make these community gardens a reality.
All events are free. Further information and a timetable are on the website, https://openeye.org.uk/whatson/liverpool-food-growers-network/
If you would like to attend the panel discussion please book a (free) space via the Eventbrite link accessible from the website.
Contact email: FoodGrowers@liverpool.ac.uk
Organisation website/social media pages: https://www.facebook.com/LiverpoolFoodGrowersNetwork
Twitter : @livfoodgrowers
Instagram : @liverpoolfoodgrowersnetwork