Greenshare Conference 2015

Report on the Hull and East Riding Greenshare Conference 2015 from a Food4Hull perspective

Held on 18 March 2015 at the Lawns in Cottingham, the Conference was entitled ‘Growing your Green Potential’.  The following speakers gave food-oriented presentations

Adam Smith and Joshua Lawson of the Real Junk Food Project in Leeds, describing how this waste-to-café food project came about.  Adam is a chef and founder of the project, in which the food used is intercepted from going to waste, for example from supermarket bins or donations. They use their own judgement on what is unusable and needs to be composted, and convert the rest to café fare. Users of the café pay what they can afford, which may involve washing up or other practical tasks.  Both were passionate about the amount of waste which is effectively built into the current food system, our detachment from how food is produced, and how food is routinely transported hundreds of miles.  The system doesn’t have any sensible legal way of dealing with the huge amount of supermarket waste. Until it does, the Real Junk Food Café response looks to be a successful model which is being reproduced not only in Leeds but across the world.

Tom Bliss from Leeds on the theme Greening the City, focusing on local urban food growing as a response to climate change and resource limits. He referred to the concept of CPULs (Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes) where a network of interlinked urban growing spaces can produce food, opportunities for recreation and corridors for wildlife. He described several projects: ‘Feed Leeds’ is a network of 50+ individuals and organisations working to promote and support food growing in Leeds; ‘Leeds Urban Harvest’ collects and distributes soft fruits from trees and bushes in both public and private spaces; ‘BackToFront’ promotes using front gardens to grow produce; ‘Leeds Edible Campus’ involves the Universities in Leeds working with FeedLeeds to develop edible landscapes. More information on these projects at

Tamara Hall of Beverley on Community Agriculture, who spoke about issues with the food supply chain – supermarkets are not the best way of doing things and involve too much waste, packaging, and highly processed food which is not so good for human health. Tamara gained a Nuffield Scholarship to visit various CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) schemes in Finland, Sweden, USA, Japan, Greece and Holland, sponsored by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. CSA schemes offer a way of avoiding the problems of the current supply chain, and local food not only reduces food miles but also supports the local economy. Tamara is a commercial farmer based at Molescroft Grange Farm, runs Open Farm School Days and has been successful in gaining funding for projects such as not-for-profit allotments and ‘Let nature feed your senses’.

There was a workshop on The Green Project & City Farm, by Greg Harman of Recycling Unlimited. This charity runs a workshop and 2 charity shops in Hull and the Green Project (currently a horticulture site at Woodmansey), aimed at supporting people suffering social exclusion. Their new venture, with partners Hull All Nations Alliance (HANA) and Hull & East Yorkshire MIND, is the Hull City Farm, being developed on a site behind the Kingston Youth Centre on Beverley Road. Open to all, the project aims to raise awareness of food origins, develop skills & knowledge, provide educational activities, promote healthy affordable food choices, promote social inclusion & community engagement, and provide interaction with animals & opportunities to learn about animal care. About ¾ acre in area, the site will support raised beds, a growing area, hen house, water collection points, and a greenhouse or polytunnel,  using recycled materials where possible.  The City Farm hopes to act as a hub for food-related & community-based projects.

Lunch was provided by the TimeBank Kitchen using food sourced from local suppliers, with no fast food or processed food in sight. It was a delicious buffet offering home-made soups, sandwiches, salads, pickles and relishes, platters of fish and hot meat, artisan bread, home-made dips and a fruit bowl. There was something for everyone – vegan to carnivore – and everything was top quality, well presented  and very tasty.