Leeds Indie Food festival goes to ground in Kirkgate Market

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A market hall right in the very centre of Leeds has for decades been renowned for being the place to go for quality fruit and veg and now it is as fresh as you can get – it is still in the ground.

Leeds Indie Food, the festival set to provide feasts around the city next month, has revealed ‘The Allotment’, a green space for creativity and community in Kirkgate Market.

A market garden in every sense of the word, The Allotment, is a pop-up green space, where visitors can relax and enjoy eating in a location where food is grown, prepared, cooked and sold.

It incorporates edible planting, trees and seating and has been installed by Leeds designers and engineers Arup.

The firm say the scheme has also been used as a prototype for exploring how easy it is to create similar spaces elsewhere in the city.

During the five weeks that the Allotment is open, the space will be turned into a creative haven with free events and activities taking place on each of the Saturdays.

It is one of the programme highlights of Leeds Indie Food Festival which takes place from, May 11 for just over a fortnight with the backing of Leeds City Council and Leeds BID, which has funded the foodie feast.

Council leader Judith Blake said: “It is this type of creative and innovative approach that makes the Leeds Indie Food Festival stand out. Using the space in Kirkgate Market which is accessible to everyone is really impressive and provides an opportunity to showcase the festival in such an historic location.”

The idea started back in December with a meeting between Arup, Ellie Andrews of Café 164 and organisers of Leeds Indie Food about how to bring something different to Leeds for the duration of the festival.

It was a tough act to follow 
as previous highlights 
included the ‘The City of Cake’ set up in The Trinity where some of Leeds’ most iconic buildings were recreated in cake.

Matt Dix, of Leeds Indie Food, said: ‘It’s been amazing to see the Allotment taking shape, and we’re really excited to be working with Ellie again.

“Her events have been some of my all time favourites, so we knew this collaboration with Leeds International Festival would be in good hands.

“The new Kirkgate Market space has been going from strength to strength too, and we think The Allotment should bring something really special for people to experience, explore and enjoy.

“I’m sure people are going to use it in ways we haven’t even thought of yet.”

Despite plans for the allotment to be in situ for five weeks it is hoped that the seeds can be planted for it to become a more permanent fixture given the level of investment ploughed into the allotment scheme and the festival as a whole.

Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive of LeedsBID, said: “LeedsBID has invested and supported the vibrant independent food & drink scene in Leeds. This interactive and innovative allotment demonstrates how public places can be transformed to create dynamic spaces by various organisations working together.

“With the level of investment, it would be great to see this installation become permanent and to help cultivate other similar ideas across the city.”


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