Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden
Now entering its 8th year, Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden (BFCFG) is located on ⅓ acre, previously disused council land in Woodhouse (LS6). Initiated and run by local volunteers, the space is being transformed into a truly inspirational, multi-functional garden, a place of abundance and vibrant wildlife, yet finds itself in an inner city district in the top 20% for health deprivation (Office for National Statistics). The area also has a high density of gardenless/back-to-back terraced houses, a predominance of fast-food outlets and excessive littering, all indicators of poor diet and lack of care for the environment.
BFCFG is a living demonstration of the innovative method of forest gardening, that uses ecology to achieve the 'holy grail' of a low maintenance yet productive food garden that is also beautiful, enhances wildlife habitat and mitigates climate change by sequestering carbon in soil. The garden is open to the public at all times and we provide a profoundly inspirational and therapeutic experience, enabling participants to exercise, reconnect with nature and learn sustainable food growing in an engaging way, showing that with a holistic approach it is possible to rehabilitate ecosystems and grow food whilst addressing social issues.
We have over 100 edible species and are increasing this each year. The garden is now a valued community resource and a hub for local people to gather, to work and enjoy the garden and to learn sustainable food growing.See www.bedfordfields.co.uk for photos and further information
Our weekly drop-in workdays are led by a small group of core volunteers who provide refreshments and a hot healthy meal with a salad picked right there and then from the garden. In 2016, we had over 130 people come to a workday, workshop or event, at least 70 of whom had never been to the garden before, with hundreds more using the garden outside timetabled activities. Workshops and events this year have included garden tours, foraging, plant identification, cultivating edible mushrooms, wormeries, community composting and our first community apple pressing day.