MEMBERS of the public are being urged to get behind a funding bid to create a ‘farm in a box’ in the centre of Hull.
The scheme is being drawn up to reconnect city residents with food and to improve their knowledge and understanding of where the food comes from and how to prepare it.
Rooted in Hull, the not-for-profit enterprise behind the scheme, hope that local families will save money off their food shopping bills as a result, and that they will improve their health by growing and preparing fresh produce on the site.
The proposed site for the ‘micro farm’ is a vacant plot next to the Royal Mail sorting office on St Peters Street. Designs have been drawn up with the help of Hessle-based firm, Ettridge Architecture and while the plans are at the ‘feasibility stage’ at the moment, a full planning application is set to be submitted to Hull City Council soon.
To provide the funding that would allow building work to start - if city planners approve the scheme - Rooted in Hull want the public’s help to win a £25,000 grant from the Aviva Community Fund.
People can vote online for the project to receive the funds, with several other community schemes across the country also competing for grants from Aviva.
Mark Cleaver, a director of Rooted in Hull, explained his vision for the project, saying: “Rooted in Hull is an urban agriculture concept based on a farm in a box.
“We have worked closely with Ettridge Architecture to create the concept of a unique micro farming enterprise that has the potential to benefit people who live in the city, becoming a visitor attraction and talking point.”
Dave Ettridge, the architect behind the project, added: “In a city with no permanent land available, the design was based on creating a structurally mobile and self-sufficient space.
“Mobility is imperative to the project as it means that as development sites lay dormant, the city farm project will bring the area to life with a practical and sociable scheme that will benefit the community at large. The main structures for the project will be based on ship container architecture eventually housing a café, shop, toilets and a multi-purpose room.
“Growing areas will be constructed using mobile raised beds designed to take multiple structures including: traditional chicken folds; poly tunnels and cold frames. Fruit trees in tubs, a movable pig pen and other growing and livestock features.”
The designs for the farm include environmental features and the whole farm will be created to be mobile so that it is capable of being relocated around the city according to what brownfield sites become available, Mr Ettridge said.
“For power and sustainability, we aim to have solar panels and other renewable energy technologies. This approach will allow us to inhabit vacant sites but will allow developers to regain their land when required as the project infrastructure can be loaded onto lorries and relocated to further vacant development sites.”
The farm is designed to create spaces for community groups to grow food and showcase their rural skills, to learn and share knowledge about agriculture and the environment and to work together to create a “ground-breaking” tourist attraction, he said.
The modular design will allow the farm to expand as new projects or micro enterprises are developed.
Any funding from Aviva would contribute to the first phase of infrastructure development including the growing beds, shop and toilet facilities.
Last year, Rooted in Hull won international recognition for its concept through the global innovation competition, Smart Living Challenge - an international competition designed to generate ideas that foster a sustainable lifestyle in urban environments.
To vote in support of Rooted in Hull’s funding bid, visit https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/Project/View/1957