Rooted in Hull Host BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time
Listen again to GQT hosted by us at the University of Hull on the 23rd January: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bbjvn
Press coverage in the Yorkshire Post
A blissful ignorance can pervade between city dwellers and their seemingly remote countryside counterparts, a scenario that can breed misunderstanding and a detachment from how food is produced. So what better way to address that knowledge gap by literally taking a farm into the city? That is a vision that the Rooted project is attempting to realise by taking its interestingly novel concept of a ‘farm in a box’ to the urban centre of Hull. The aim is simple: to support and make improvements in people’s physical and mental health, through knowledge and experience of food; particularly for those affected by poverty.
In Hull’s UK City of Culture year, the micro-agriculture enterprise is being established on derelict land on St Peter Street near to the site of the demolished Rank Hovis Mill building. In a first milestone for the project, a first container has been installed on the site to act as a meeting room and office space. A second container will house a kitchen and cafe, and it is due to be fitted in spring, but that is just the start. Additional containers are set to be added as the project gathers pace in order to incorporate what project leaders described as “modern and innovative growing and food processing facilities”.
A host of local businesses, plus students from Hull College have been involved in the project to date, and Rooted’s co-director, Adrian Fisher, said: “This first container is a milestone for Rooted as it is the first example of our partners working together to provide a community space that can be enjoyed by people in our region. “It is great to see private sector companies in Hull working in unison with Hull College Group and Emmaus Hull to collaborate on a project that will have a positive impact on the city.”
Mr Fisher spent decades in farming before he switched to working in community organisations which promote food in Hull. “We want to connect people back to food and show how simple it can be and that it doesn’t have to be expensive,” he said. “Certainly here in Hull there is no formal education around horticulture now and agriculture doesn’t come into it, yet as a society we need young people who can come into these sectors with new ideas.” The project has the added benefits of offering work experience to students. Young people studying construction at Hull College are helping to give the first two containers a more appealing makeover and they have been busy panelling them with wood, installing electrics and painting and decorating the interiors and exteriors; input which has also had the benefit of giving young people useful work experience. The students have also been involved in the development of mobile raised beds to create multiple agricultural structures. Graham Towse, the college’s principal, said: “Projects like these really help to instill a sense of pride in our students and they can all be immensely proud of their contribution to the community, and their help in raising aspirations and building communities.” Work on the site started last year and the first container was installed on Monday.
Hull-based construction firm Hobson & Porter has helped Rooted establish contacts for the project and it has partnered with national building supplier Jewson to provide materials for the site’s building structures. Jewson has donated materials for the construction of the containers and is among a number of businesses to support the project, others include: Bonus Electrical, Boston Renewables, VIP Communications and Hudgell Solicitors.
Mr Fisher is keen to link up with a farm in the region to introduce a live link that will allow footage from a working farm to be shown on television screens at Rooted.
With just a handful of empty seats in the 400 seater theatre, it has to be said that GQT was a superb evening for growers in the audience. Questions from thew floor were on message covering subjects as diverse a creating a pond for wildlife to how to stop parsnips from splitting with engaging school children in the art of growing vegetables in the middle. The panel were brilliant with a level of expertise that one can only wonder how they retain such encyclopedic knowledge with out the need for retakes or editing
The University played the perfect host in their superb newly refurbished venue.
Ultimately though, the star of the show was Jeanie Webster from Rainbow Garden. We recommended Rainbow Garden to the production team and she was brilliant.
You can listen to GQT here
Gardeners’ Question Time
Having successfully applied to host GQT highlighting the contribution of community growing and gardening in Hull and its role in encouraging participation, we are delighted that they have agreed to come and it is confirmation of the value that community growing and gardening makes to the city’.
Although Rooted in Hull are the host organisation, we needed a venue that met the needs of the show. Middleton Hall at the University was the obvious choice, being close centre and having recently completed a major redevelopment with a seating capacity of 400 and state of the art facilities.
Botanist and Urban Tree Specialist Professor Roland Ennos has been instrumental in organising the logistics at University stating ‘The University is always keen to support its local community and I am particularly pleased to be involved with Rooted in Hull and its aspirations to make Hull a greener more sustainable city’
On the 23rd January 2017, Eric Robson and his panel of horticultural experts will answer questions from the studio audience in an hour long recording starting at 6:30pm. Doors will open between 5:30 and 6:20 and anyone with a question will need to prepare it in advance to hand in on arrival to the venue.
Studio audience places are limited and tickets will be available at £4.50 from the Hull Box Office from the 23rd November. Ticket include a complementary drink on arrival and the venue café will be open before and after the show
And So it Begins
We are delighted to announce that our first three contianer buildings have been commissioned. Supplied by Century Container Services, based at Saltend. The containers have been used once to transport goods by ship to the UK and have been selected for their good condition. The UK has a surplus of shipping containers as we import more than we export. They can be put to a range of uses as they are extremely well made, robust and secure. Our containers have been re sprayed by Century in their spray booth to ensure that all the containers we get look the same and meet planning requirements. The first container has been positioned on site two of the plan.
Container 1 (in picture) has arrived and been positioned on site to be used as a store and workshop.
Container 2, kindly funded by Hudgell Solicitors, has been delivered to Hull College for fitting out as a multipurpose space. College students will be insulating and lining the container and installing lighting and electric circuits.
Container 3, kindly funded through the YORhub, will be delivered to Hull College for fitting out with a small kitchen as soon as they have completed the first.
In addition to the containers, the College will also be producing the raised bed kits over the Autumn term and 50 tons of good quality agricultural soil has been secured for growing our first crops.
July 2016: Many Big Thank Yous
Following an application to 4 Good Fund, Yorkshire based construction firm Hobson and Porter have stepped up to help prepare our site. One of the may operational challenges to setting up Rooted in Hull has been to clear and level the site simple to make it accessible. Fortunately, this is exactly the kind of work that Hobson and Porter know how to deal with. With their expertise, they organised all the relevant permissions, health and safety, excavators etc.. We can now have a level site and can see what space we have to work with and how David Ettridge’s design will be laid out.
See the Hull Dail Mail for press coverage
See a short slide show showing the site being cleared
Whilst we organise the final site leveling, preparations are in hand for the first two container modules, the first kindly being provided by Neil Hudgell Solicitors the second coming as part of the 4 Good Fund grant.
With all this positive development, the icing on the cake, or perhaps the beans on the bean poles comes from the fantastic news that the Rank Foundation in Partnership with Esmee Fairbairn have agreed to provide us with funding to contribute to overhead costs for the next three years. This support gives us a strong platform from which to build Rooted in Hull to be a great asset to the city and a strong partner to the many organsiations that we are working with.
Finally, a thank you to Hull College. We will be working with the College over the coming years with student involved in many elements of the design and build of our modules. The first being the raised beds of which the first prototypes have now been produced and installed at the Emmaus site, Lockwood Street as part of our work with the Homeless in partnership with NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group
May 2016: Planning Permission Granted
Hull City Council has passed, with conditions, our planning application to use the land next to the Royal Mail Sorting Office on St Peter Street for Urban Agriculture. The application was submitted jointly with the land owner, Wedge Holdings, and includes a new access route to their business premises, Humber Galvanizing, situated behind the land. The conditions imposed by the City Council are not onerus, the key issue raised being one of archaeological interest. As the site is close to location of the old city walls, their is a small possibility that the installation of the access route may unearth something of interest.
The granting of planning permission is one of the last major hurdles to starting development and we are now hopeful that works will start this summer. David Ettridge of Ettridge Architecture, has been tasked with resolving the issues outlined in the planning conditions so that the contractor can begin preparing the site
January 2016: Growing Connections
At the heart of Rooted in Hull are people. People create ideas, communities and make things happen. Our focus is, of course on the people of Hull but that doesn’t make us inward looking. Quite the contrary, it is the creativity in Hull that we want to share and creativity of other communities that we we want can learn from.
Those of you that have been following our journey will know that we managed to raise enough funds to send one of our Directors, Adrian, over to Raleigh, Hull’s Sister City in the USA. Hall and Raleigh have had a relationship for 30 years this year. The relationship has declined over the last decade and we are leading the way in rekindling the connection and friendships.
Adrian’s trip came from an invitation from the Raleigh Sister City Association after we hosted a delegation from the city last year. We are particularly keen on building this relationship as both cities have very different approaches to Urban Agriculture and there are lots of opportunities to share knowledge and god practice.
Adrian returned from his week long trip on Sunday the 13th March and, when recovered from his jet lag, will publish a summary of the trip on the website.
Finally, a huge thank you to all the people who supported Adrian to go on this important exchange.
December 2015: Planning Application Submitted
Well, our application to Hull City Council Planning Department has been submitted for the first two levels of the modular farm. This will take around 8 weeks to process, particularly as this will span the Christmas period and so will slow things up a little. There are a couple of images from our application below.
In the mean time, we are finalizing grant applications to enable us to pay for the ship containers, growing beds and other aspects of project. We have also been invited to America to meet with representatives from our Sister City, Raleigh. You may remember that we hosted a visit from delegates from Raleigh’s Sister City Association in September. They were so impressed with what is happening in Hull that they have asked us to attend their Urban Agriculture Conference in March as they believe that both cities can benefit from sharing ideas and knowledge. This invitation is a real validation of our Vision for a sustainable city and of all the work already going on in Hull.
To enable us to go, we are now also working on raising around £3000 to pay for the flights and accommodation and subsistence. We will be launching a Crowdfund in early January so please watch this space.
If you would like to support us, you are also welcome to contact Adrian or Mark directly or use the contact page of the website
Its been a good month despite with details gradually comming together to start work on site. We have also had some very productive meetings with potential new partners and have also been invited to host a day with a delegation from Hull’s Sister City, Raleigh in North Carolina USA.
Members of the Sister Cities Association of Raleigh, twinned with Hull, are visiting the city for three days in advance of the 30 year anniversary of the relationship in 2016.
The President of the Sister Cities Association of Raleigh and Chair of the Hull Committee will spend time their time meeting with representatives across all sectors of the community.
A key part of the trip will be to visit local food companies and urban agriculture projects to find out about the UK context and help create connections with similar groups in Raleigh, North Carolina USA.
The first day of the visit, Monday 1st September, Mark and Adrian will guide the visitors, Majorie Salzman (President) and Douglas Johnston (Chair in Hull) to several community food projects whilst stopping for lunch at with Mark Cunnah at Hull Pie and finish with a pint of beer with Allan Rice at Atom Brewery.
Mark was asked to organise the day to provide a flavour of the vibrancy of the city’s food and urban agriculture and to provide a commentary on the opportunities and developments in community food including a forthcoming event: Hull Harvest Feast-ival, planned to be held in Victoria Square on October 10th (more about that to follow)
America has a fantastic urban agriculture movement so we were delighted that the Raleigh Sister City Association were interested in our work in Hull. To be asked to get involved and organise the day is a great opportunity and we hope that it will lead to new friendships
Hull became Raleigh’s first Sister City on 3 October 1986 and the Sister City Association are planning events to mark the 30th anniversary of the relationship in 2016.
Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our finding bit to the Aviva Community Fund but we would like to thank everyone who supported us to get 5592 votes and the great publicity we received.
Despite not securing this funding, we have been awarded a £5000 grant from the Neil Hudgell Solicitors Trust and further support from YORFund in the form of a £5000 grant and £5000 in kind benefit. This will enable us to start purchasing some of the infrastructure for the farm.
For more information about the Neil Hudgell Solicitors Trust and the work that they do, click here
Lots of developments including submitting three bids for funding. We have secured two and hope to win a third with Aviva Community fund for £25000. To get it, we need your help. Please vote for our bid by visiting the fund webpage here.
If you can also help us spread the word and get others to vote, that would be a real help too.
You can see how we are trying to spread the word by following us on twitter and look out for articles in the local press such as this one
It has been a busy year so far with lots going on behind the scenes. We are nearly ready to close on a lease for our first site which means we can start making things happen on the ground. With this in mind, we have been working with Ettridge Architecture on some plans for the planning application. We will update the site with some great images soon.
We have also been busy building some partnerships to ensure that we can deliver activities on site when work starts and in putting together funding applications. One particular application is for a fund that requires your support in terms of votes. It is a bit like crowd funding but the crowd doesn’t have to pay. Much like crowd funding we had to put together a smart phone video of our project and ideas. I’ll be updating the website soon with where to see the video and details of how, where and when to vote with a weblink to the voting site. Voting starts on the 1st of May so be ready.
Smart Living Challenge 2014 Vidcast
Following a very successful trip to Sweden to discuss the opportunities that can be created by our approach to Urban Agriculture, we are developing international links and partnerships to both take Rooted in Hull to success in Hull and to develop the farm as a blue print for other cities and countries.
The Smart Living Challenge team have produced a great short video that gives you a flavour of the activities Mark attended during the week away and
FLASH NEWS – Rooted in Hull has won the Smart Living Challenge 2014
We are delighted to have had our idea for a new type of city farm recognized as innovative and as having real potential for delivering benefits to both our city of Hull and cities world wide.
The 2014 Smart Living Challenge competition has 3 categories, Move, Live and Eat, we entered the Eat category. To enter the competition, we had to put together a 60 second video pitch outlining what made out project special. The pitch can be seen here. There were over 300 entries from across the globe from which 15 entries were chosen, more information here.
The pitch title was ‘Culturevate your city’ as we wanted to identify the project with the cities various food cultures and ‘to cultivate’ as in growing food and to develop new skills. It also resonates with our aspirations for the City of Culture
What this means for us:
Over the Summer, we have received two small grants to help us with setting up the farm. The money will be used for purchasing equipment and infrastructure when we get our first site and for set up costs.
We have been working hard over the summer to build partnerships and talking to landowners in the search for the first site for the farm.
We have also entered a global competition called Smart Living Challenge. The competition sets out to find new ideas for more sustainable city living. See http://2014.smartlivingchallenge.com/ for more information
A trip to Stockholm on other business provided Mark an opportunity to see Urban Agriculture Sweden. Mark met up with Professor Christina Schaffer from the University of Stockholm’s Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology to find out more. Professor Schaffer runs courses on Urban Agriculture at the University, has been involved with mapping and linking many of the Cities community growing projects and runs one of her own.
Projects in Stockholm appear to have many similarities to those in Hull with Professor Schaffer, working with others, to encourage communities to look for non traditional spaces for growing and taking responsibility for green spaces. However, one striking difference is the lack of security. All the allotments and projects seen in Stockholm had low fencing, if any, and some were completely open to walk around, even with no one present. This is a reflection of wider society evident in the city where bikes were often seen not locked up, even at night on city streets, and cafes left their seating out on the street when closed.
Community growing in Stockholm encompasses a wide variety of approaches from the 4 ha farm in the City’s National Park that includes woodland grazing by cattle and sheep, small animals such as rabbits and an allotment area, through to allotments, small community growing areas in lawns at the University, the temporary use of an old railway siding, to name a few. Community Growing in Stockholm appears well supported by their equivalent City Parks Departments who often provide soil and other resources to help groups get going but there are clearly problems where such projects don’ fit nicely into any particular government department.
In addition to the Farm in the National Park, there are two other projects that include livestock, one is a Bee based project promoting bees and other pollinators and another using pigs in a less affluent area of the city.
The trip provided some useful insights and it would be nice to follow up with an exchange or potential study tour some time in the future.
Below are some pictures of tradgard pa sparet or Gardening on the Track
To support the development of Rooted in Hull, we are being advised by Cliff Southcombe of Social Enterprise Europe. With Cliff’s his help Rooted in Hull is now a registered company with Adrian and Mark as Directors. We have invited a group of independent individuals to support us by forming an advisory board providing additional oversight and inspiration.
We are still working closely with, and are now members of, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and we have started to raise funding for the farm with recent confirmation of our first small grant.
We are still looking for our first site but are planning some other food related activities on the mean time.