Landshare is a scheme to bring together people who want to grow their own food but don’t have the land, with folk who have a bit of land to spare and are willing to share, writes Geraldine Royds-Betz




With more than 70,000 members in the UK, Landshare also welcomes those who can help out with tips or tools — or who just want to get their hands dirty!


When my daughter was small we lived in a street with a string of allotments running behind the houses. Our neighbours had somehow managed to annex two of them and I was forever hankering after the huge, juicy lettuces growing like rows of green buttons beyond the back gate.  Eventually my neighbour gave me one and my daughter took it inside to wash it and gave it a good scrub in the sink.   How I would have loved a strip of that garden, just enough to grow a few sweet peas or a handful of herbs, so I have a deep appreciation of the Landshare project started by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame in 2009 after he helped families in Bristol turn a council wasteland into a community garden for local kids.


Landshare supports a wide range of initiatives, from Everton Football Club sharing some of its land at Goodison Park for residents and staff to grow their own food, to urban gardener Jeff McMillan helping people grow their own on a rooftop in central London.


"Landshare is a great tool for networking," says Jeff. "I joined because I thought I might be able to learn a few tips from other urban gardeners or offer some advice of my own."


Landshare also runs mini campaigns pushing for more allotments and urging local councils to get involved.


LetsGrow, for example, helps people to link up with others in their area looking for allotment space. Apparently there are laws in the UK (unfortunately excluding Inner London and Northern Ireland) which oblige councils to provide land if a group of more than six people request an allotment.


Landspot provides webspace for people to log the locations of fertile but unused land, such as scrubland beside a railway track or waste land on a housing estate,  in an attempt to raise awareness and to help Landshare push for permission to access such land for growing food.


 "Be part of a movement for change. The more of us that join together, the more difference we will make," says the Landshare community.

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