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Two square boxes made of old decking, with plants growing in them in a concrete area - one with a sign giving instructions on making mint tea from the mint growing in the planter Two square boxes made of old decking, with plants growing in them in a concrete area - one with a sign giving instructions on making mint tea from the mint growing in the planter

Meanwhile Space and #MoreLand

By Sara Venn

We hope our More Land campaign has helped give Incredible groups some thoughts and ideas on land use moving forwards, and how to look at land, and come up with plans for change as we all move forwards.

One thing we haven’t touched on yet is the concept of ‘meanwhile’ spaces; those spaces that are set aside for development in the near, or even not so near, future. Our towns and cities are full of these spaces and often they are shied away from by authorities as they are asked if they might be utilised as there is often hope that using them might stop developments that have been controversial. There are many stories of spaces that have been given to communities as meanwhile space that have ended up being fought over and people feeling let down on either side, and in a world where land in towns and cities is at such a premium we at Incredible Edible think that is sad.

Of course there are tales of great use of these spaces, with the Moss Cider Project in Manchester being one of them, but we wonder how to make these spaces usable in a meaningful way? For certain one way would be to not just set an end date but a plan around that end date. Just because a piece of land is no longer available, does that mean it’s an inevitable end of the project? We don’t think so as long as the expectations are managed on both sides and there is clear and honest understanding. It’s inevitable that as one space is developed another one will appear that is just as appropriate for the project being moved. So why not create a framework whereby these spaces can be used for community growing and the beginnings of food enterprises?

Of course the challenge will always be growing without soil, but using creative thinking, such as growing an orchard in containers that can be moved on a forklift, make these ideas possible, and exciting. Why not speak to your local authority and see how you can support this and make sure food growing is at the centre of our towns and cities?

We’ll be revisiting our More Land campaign as we move through 2020 but if you have any interesting stories around land use please do get in touch-we’d love to tell your stories.