The Leaf Project, Local Enterprise Around Food, is a very successful community garden scheme. It is a pragmatic and flexible programme based around the needs of community, committed to healthy eating through healthy food production and training healthy growers. All food produced goes to the volunteers involved in growing it.
LEAF operates 7 allotments on a previously derelict site and supports food production on other sites such as school and retirement facility gardens with 25 regular volunteers and 300 beneficiaries in total. Anyone is welcome and supported community groups tend to feed in volunteers. Almost all volunteers are local and arrive on foot.
During sessions, which center on long term development of the site and the needs of the growing plan, personal attention develops out of deepening relationships with volunteers and occurs onsite as well as at home gardens. Areas of training include; growing, propagation, soil improvement, companion planting, crop rotation, pests and diseases, seed saving, harvesting and preserving, composting, vermiculture, RWH, and food affordability.
The LEAF project has neighbourhood penetration and awareness throughout the Southey and Owlerton regeneration area. It has stimulated home growing in a two ways: flow of produce and surplus plants to and from site and home gardens. Also, produce tends to come back to the site as value added pies and crumbles.