I admit I didn’t know much about Leeds before the past week. Actually, I hadn’t thought about the place enough to wonder about it. My daughter’s spent a week there. She’s had the good fortune of being hosted by someone who’s getting involved with permaculture and efforts that help the environment through community engagement. One of the places they visited is Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden.

I’ve volunteered with Noyo Food Forest (NFF) in Ft. Bragg, California which runs a large high school vegetable garden, using it to teach students and the community about permaculture practices. They hold events like drip system workshops and community dinners made with food from the gardens. They also have a booth at the farmer’s market and a smoothie bike at fairs to help pay for the project,

I looked up Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden in Leeds, England. It was started in 2010as an inner-city community-driven forest garden. Like NFF, it aims to inform the community, the city, and the world about what’s possible if we take the time to think about how we feed our community and land, producing food with no depletion of the soil.

Being in the inner-city (Leeds’ population is close to 800K), Bedford Fields demonstrates “the potential of creating multifunctional and resilient spaces from otherwise marginalised land through forest gardening.” It’s an open-access garden educating people about viable alternative food production (permaculture) which is “resilient to climactic and social change.” They teach about forest gardening (multilayered and mixed planting) and wider environmental issues through workdays and workshops. On their web site, they talk about the ‘urbalisation’ of our cities, that is, “bringing rural life to the city,” or from urbanite to “urbalite.”

And they have the most attractive compost toilet I’ve ever seen!

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