Saltaire is on the verge of a fresh food revolution.
Village group Sustainable Saltaire has joined forces with landscape architect students from Leeds Metropolitan University in an ambitious Edible Gardens project to grow food on verges, in planters and on disused land in the village.
And they are taking encouragement from a scheme in Todmorden known as Incredible Edible, which has attracted international attention and spawned similar projects as far afield as Slovakia.
Sheri-Leigh Miles, project leader for Sustainable Saltaire, said: “We have challenged the students to help us maximise the opportunities for edible growing in Saltaire.
“Incredible Edible is an entirely amazing project. Todmorden is a robust West Yorkshire town and they have just planted food all over the place and the community has really got behind it.
“We are hoping that this will inspire people in Saltaire to do the same.”
She said the students will be given a “blank canvass” and will use their expertise to find the best places for the community to grow fruit and veg to ease pressure on Council-run allotments. Earlier this year, the Telegraph & Argus revealed that the most popular allotments in Shipley, Bingley and Keighley had waiting lists of more than a decade.
Edible Gardens will be started by the five Leeds Met undergraduates, who are in their final year of study, with a village consultation and exhibition.
One of the student team, Natalie Graham, 22, of Baildon, said: “We are just hoping to encourage the community to get started and we are hoping to give them the foundations and ideas about where they can plant and let them get on with it.”
Incredible Edible started growing on council-owned land in 2008 but the scheme has now spread to plots by the roadside, outside a doctors’ surgery and even the local police station.
Mary Clear, from the group, will speak to people about the success of the project in Saltaire on Tuesday following the consultation to find out what Saltaire residents think of the scheme.
She said: “Incredible Edible started off exactly like Saltaire will, with a few good people coming together. In the last four years it has just grown. We have had really good involvement from the police station, the doctor’s surgery and businesses.
“It is not just about growing, it is about getting people outdoors and to give people that confidence that, no matter how bad things get, there is a great sense of community.
“When I talk to them in Saltaire there will be, without a doubt, passion in the room from people who want to pick up their spades and give it a go.”