Seeds are being planted for a growing network of Little Veg Libraries across Leeds

A network which promotes local growing of produce, such as seeds and vegetables, is creating Little Veg Libraries in communities around the city.

By Emma Ryan
Saturday, 26th June 2021, 4:45 am

Feed Leeds has already set up Little Veg Libraries in Guiseley, Garforth and Chapel Allerton and they are managed by local branches of Incredible Edible and Chapel Allerton spaces respectively.

Two more are in the making with more people sowing the seeds for their own Little Veg Libraries each day.

The idea is that people can share books and leaflets about food, gardening tools, seeds, seedlings, surplus produce and more by dropping off and taking from the Veg Libraries - that work in a similar way to the Little Libraries that have popped up across Leeds allowing people to swap books.

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Sarah Priestley of CA Spaces puts plants in the Little Veg Library in Chapel Allerton Park. Looking on are Jamie and Tim Waddington of Leeds Woodcrafters and Angie Talbot of CA_Spaces.

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She said: "I was inspired by seed sharing stations that I’d seen in Canada and thought we could build on this idea by creating Little Veg Libraries that not only encouraged sharing seeds, but also seedlings and surplus produce. This way we could provide community support throughout the growing season and really build a good food movement in Leeds. It’s incredible to see how quickly they are catching on."

At the one in Chapel Allerton there are often queues to drop items off and this one was also set up in response to food poverty amongst communities.

Sarah Priestly of CA Spaces said: "We set up our veg club in 2018 with three veg beds in Chapel Allerton Park. We knew there was a lot of hidden hunger in the area and foodbanks did not have fresh produce. Allotments are so exclusive, feel intimidating and I felt I didn't know anything about growing.

Boxes for seeds and leaflets in the Little Veg Library at Chapel Allerton.

"People can learn together and become self-sufficient and it is a living foodbank where there is always fresh produce and herbs that people can pick. It has been amazingly successful. Lots of people have been dropping off seeds and bulbs, I live right by it and there are people at it constantly queueing to drop stuff off."

Feed Leeds vice chair, Tom Bliss, added: "This is such an obviously fantastic idea that we're almost afraid to promote it for fear of being swamped with requests - but then this is exactly the

sort of thing we set up Feed Leeds to do - so bring it on."

The team are keen to support anyone wanting to construct a Little Veg Library. They can be any shape or size but the Feed Leeds website has suggestions for dimensions, possible makers and funding, and advice on locations.

Sarah Priestley and Angie Talbot from CA_Spaces and Jamie and Tim Waddington of Leeds Woodcrafters.

Ideally LVLs will have a dry area where seed packets, leaflets, recipe cards, books etc can be protected from the rain, display shelves for small tools, seedlings, plants, surplus harvest and unwanted food.

Other ideas include a suggestion/thanks box, a 'night safe' for drop-offs, and/or storage for larger items such as bags of soil or compost, larger tools, and even a community compost bin.