Gardening fever spreads across East Leeds

Volunteers at the garden in Cross Green
Volunteers at the garden in Cross Green
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Dozens of green-fingered volunteers have been mucking in to transform an area of wasteland into a bountiful food growing area in Cross Green.

Work is ongoing to improve the area on the railway bridge off Fewston Avenue. The food grown there will be available for anyone to pick when it's ready and will also go to the Cross Green Community Cafe.

The project is being run in partnership with Hyde Park Source, Cross Green Community Group, Back to Front and Space 2.

Cross Green resident Mary Brennan, 63, has been getting involved with the community growing area. She said: “They decided on this area because it is unsightly and accessible. We have all ages helping out- from three-year-olds to pensioners.”

Fellow Cross Green resident Jean Copley said: “It is bringing the community together and it is nice to see something negative turned into something positive. It's a good laugh, you get fresh air, it’s free and anyone can have the produce.”

Some of the produce being grown includes strawberries, potatoes, cabbages, peas and herbs.

People involved are learning about basic woodwork including how to build raised beds and planters. They are also learning more about food growing, such as what to plant where and when, watering and harvesting.

Lulu Howorth, 51, a gardener for Space 2, said: “This community has been brilliant and there is always a good turnout.

"It will take a lot of maintenance and upkeep and people around here are really up for it and work hard and that is why we have got this far with it."

Pete Tatham, a coordinator at Hyde Park Source, 32, said: “This is giving people a regular meet-up and is good for mental, social and physical wellbeing.

"It is improving the environment and giving local people a sense of ownership and pride and empowering them to make a difference."

The project is part of the Back to Front project, which is encouraging people to grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens all over east Leeds.

Dozens of households have taken up growing so far in areas including Seacroft, Harehills, Burmantofts, Richmond Hill and Cross Green.

So far around half of the houses on St Hilda’s Crescent in Cross Green are growing produce in their gardens and there are opportunities for all residents to participate.

Work on the community growing area and Cross Green gardens takes place every Thursday between 10am and noon.

For more information or to volunteer email project manager Jayne Rodgers on

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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