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Are you interested in growing your own food?

 

What is the programme about?

The programme is about supporting community food growing projects to become more sustainable and ensuring that local people with the enthusiasm to grow food can access support to ensure their projects succeed. We’d like to support new and existing projects.  Maybe you’re completely new to food growing but think it might be something that would interest your friends and neighbours.  Knowing where to start could be a problem and that’s what’s great about this opportunity, as we’ll take you through every stage!  For those already involved in growing it’s a chance to take your project to the next stage.  Over the last year, we’ve already supported a number of projects, so there’s lots of support on hand to help new groups to grow!

So, what makes a successful community food growing project?  Is it people who can plan ahead? Is it the sunny, well drained site? Is it a supportive neighbourhood? Or is it an ongoing grant to help buy the essentials, like seeds and equipment?

What’s clear is that each project is unique, with its own strengths, challenges, aspirations and goals.

What support is on offer?

The programme is flexible so your group will be able to access training and support based on the specific needs and goals of your project.  See below for details of what’s available:

Strong Roots Workshop: A series of one day workshops, designed to provide you with an understanding of the key elements that make a successful and sustainable food growing project, covering vision and planning, people, legalities and funding; land and design, sustainable growing and food. Informative, interactive and inspiring, the workshops will give you the confidence, skills and knowledge to develop your community food growing project.

Workshops will begin in February and can be arranged at a time to meet the needs of your group so can take place during the week or at weekends.

Introduction to Fruit and Vegetable Growing Training: Practical and theory based horticultural training for groups to aid skills and confidence on a range of topics, e.g. planning your plot; soil types and testing; preparing a bed; practical growing skills such as seed sowing, pricking out, potting on; pests & diseases, plant care, and harvesting and storing. Training courses will begin in March and will take place for a couple of hours across five consecutive weeks, and can be arranged at a time to meet the needs of your group – so during the day, in the evening or at weekends.  Courses can run at a variety of places, such as onsite at your growing plot, or at dedicated training centres and allotment sites across Manchester.

Site Assessments and Plans: This will comprise of a site survey to determine site dimensions, soil type, growing conditions, existing vegetation, physical constraints and drainage and security issues.  A meeting will be held to discuss your aspirations for the site and how to get the best out of it. Your group will receive written advice on what to grow, and how to improve the site, and a planting schedule and site plan will be prepared along with a list of funding pots your group can apply to for support.

Community Development Support: Advice and support to groups on a one to one, short term basis to help you achieve clearly identified objectives.   For example, you might need help with general capacity-building, service planning, developing policies and procedures or advice on becoming a social enterprise etc which will enable you to become a sustainable and successful food growing project.

Additional Training Courses: Courses are available for groups looking to expand or develop your project.  Examples of training available are advanced food growing courses; advanced organic production, including pest control, composting, cuttings, pruning and grafting workshops; food preserving; sustainability audit training; bee keeping; habitat creation; container growing; green roof workshops; keeping chickens; basic carpentry and wildlife gardening. Training courses can be arranged at a time to meet the needs of your group so during weekdays or weekends.

Small grants: Groups that are successful in becoming part of Growing Manchester will be able to apply for a small amount of funding to support the implementation or development of your community food growing project.  Grants have previously been used to buy the essentials, like seeds, plants, compost and small tools and equipment.

More information about how to apply for a small grant will be included with the letter confirming whether your group has been successful in joining the Growing Manchester Programme.

Who should apply?

Growing Manchester is aimed at supporting Manchester residents and communities with an enthusiasm to grow food, so either:

  • Groups and organisations already involved in food growing or gardening who need support and advice, e.g. community allotments, gardening groups
  • Groups and organisations who want to get involved in food growing

We’re particularly keen to hear from community food growing projects which have an understanding of the wider benefits of food growing in terms of improving health, confidence and self esteem; protecting the local environment; helping to build new or strengthen existing links with local communities; increasing the access to and sourcing of local food and above all the enjoyment of good food!

Examples of groups / organisations that might apply to be part of the programme are community allotment holders, community and voluntary organisations; children’s centres; schools; day care centres; community centres; youth centres; neighbourhood care groups; residential homes; registered social landlords, housing trusts and supported housing accommodation providers.

Your project must:

  • Be based in Manchester
  • Have permission from the landowner to grow food
  • Involve at least five people
  • Benefit the local or wider community

How to complete the application form

The information you provide in the application form is just the start of a discussion about your project and the ways in which we may be able to support your crucial work.

Please fill in all sections of the application form; the information you provide is as much to help you review your needs as it is for us and will help us ensure that we meet your groups needs and aspirations. Food Futures are able to provide advice and guidance on the application process. If you have any queries about the application form or application process, please contact us.

Call Emma Reid on 0161 234 4102 or email us at emma.reid@manchester.gov.uk

Please find the application form at the bottom of this article.

The Application Process

  1. Return your completed application form to Emma Reid, before the deadline: Midday Friday 27th January.
  2. A panel will meet to discuss all applications and make recommendations for support, week commencing 30th January.
  3. We will then advise you on the decision in a letter or email by Friday 10th February.
  4. Training and support is expected to begin from mid February and we will contact you with further information.

Please send your completed application form to:

Emma Reid

Public Health Manchester

Manchester City Council

P.O. Box 532,

Manchester

M60 2LA

Email: emma.reid@manchester.gov.uk

Telephone: 0161 234 4102

Growing Manchester Application

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