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String o' Beads Forest Garden Chain

Tom Bliss - - 20 06 14
A feature within www.leedsedibleca!"
String o' Beads (rhyming slang for Leeds - working title only) is a concept for a chain of pocket
forest gardens and orchards! with interspersed wild flower " pollinator and food planting! across the
#eeds $dible Ca!us site! linking the community permaculture garden at Bedford Fields in the
north with the %ni&ersit' of #eeds Sustainable Garden in the south! to provide a foraging route
deep into the city.
#B$ %tring o Beads is primarily an academic pro&ect for Leeds 'et students! but it does have potential for live
implementation. This will only be considered if all stakeholder parties are content and funding secured. ()pert survey!
engagement and design work by Leeds 'et! *arks and *ermaculture +,"(dible -ities would then ensure that any
planting was appropriate! attractive and ecologically sound! with long-term maintenance and support systems in place. .t
is not intended substantially to alter the character! aesthetic or functions of the 'oor. .nitially! intervention would be
minimal - usually in unused corners - with additions phased in as agreed over a period of years.
/or illustration only. /inal locations of beads would be decided by analytical process - see website for progress
Forest gardens adopt a woodland ecosystem model for the low-maintenance growing of fruit and
vegetables as permanent crops! while also promoting biodiversity though the inclusion of wild flowers
and native planting. *ermaculture principles are employed to mimic the natural structure of a
woodland! (ground cover! under-story! mid-story and canopy) to deliver scrumpable food for passing
locals and students (many of whom are disconnected from fresh food! or even in food poverty)!
enhanced habitats for pollinators and wildlife! and an attractive aesthetic in keeping with the
re0uirements of a busy city centre community park and campus.
The canopy is provided by fruit and nut trees! such as apples! plums! pears! cherries! chestnuts and
ha1elnuts. The mid-storey includes shrubs such as blackberries! raspberries! gooseberries!
blackcurrants and perennial herbs! and the under-storey and ground cover consists of edibles such
as strawberries and low-growing herbs like wild garlic and mint. -limbers like peas and beans grow
through the structure! which also supports bees from hives on campus nearby.
The scheme would link and enhance the many e)isting food and wildflower pro&ects across the (dible
-ampus. .t would also feature an edible trail with educational signage and! potentially! art
installations if deemed appropriate.
Tea break at Bedford /ields -ommunity /orest 2arden
/ollowing coincidental en0uiries from a number of parties! informal discussions have suggested the
above concept. There are however some key groups! notably The Friends of )oodhouse *oor
who have not yet been directly involved! but without whose support the pro&ect could not advance.
Feed #eeds are co-managers of #eeds $dible Ca!us. 2rants would be managed via the /eed
Leeds account. (Tom Bliss of /eed Leeds and Leeds 'et Landscape dpt is co-ordinating).
Bug#ife are keen to encourage pollinator planting (including orchards) on the 'oor! which falls within
their designated B-Lines scheme. They do not have funds! but have much to bring to the table. The
#ondon +rchard (ro,ect is actively looking to help develop orchards in Leeds! and may have
significant resources available. Grow )ild have offered at 34k for planting (available %eptember)
and further resources may be available by other means.
#eeds Green $-change (#+% funding) have offered potentially generous sums (35k6) for planting
and interpretive signs. Bids to this fund will need to be made by students (we have a volunteer).
Counit' First funding may also be available - and other potentially significant sources would be
#eeds (ar"s have identified two areas for potential wildflower meadows on the 'oor! and are also
interested in planting suggestions for the decommissioned bowling greens (which could form one of
the main beads). They do not have funding! but have much else to offer! not least plants from
.edhall /urseries. There are also edible beds planned for the 'oor! as in 789:. (Parks have asked
for any suggestions for Woodhouse Moor to be submitted separately to any on UoL land).
Bedford Fields community forest garden would form one of the enhanced beads and would provide
plants! e)pertise and! possibly! labour - as would Bardon Grange 0 %o# Sustainable Garden who
are! with +oL (states! aiming to enhance wildflower! fruit tree and edible planting on campus.
The %ni&ersit' of #eeds sustainability team are already developing the %tring within the +oL
campus! and acadeics fro both uni&ersities are scoping research topics (including evaluation!
social attitudes! traffic pollution! pollinator biology! food &ustice etc) based around the pro&ect.
#eeds *et #andsca!e has two students working on %oB as a research and design pro&ect (;une to
%ept). They are engaging with partners and working with L'+ and L*# ecologists to develop initial
sketch plans. These will then be reviewed by *arks landscape architects! /eed Leeds! the BugLife
team and others as re0uired! before final working proposals are produced for submission to
stakeholders. (<verseas interns will also be available in %eptember! and other L'+ modules may be
framed around this pro&ect in the autumn). #eeds *et #ets Grow (volunteering " allotment pro&ect)
also have students who can assist with design and planting. <ther L'+ students have e)pressed
interest in creating interpretive signage! artwork and web-based systems (apps etc). if appropriate.
#$1A sustainable architects are commissioning wildlife-themed sculpture"s from a local artist!
Benedict *hillips! which they are keen to site within the L(-. <ther artwork may be available via
students and community groups.
#eeds (eraculture /etwor" 2#(/34 the (eraculture Association (based in Leeds) and local
permaculture consultancy $dible Cities are keen to be involved! and have suggested the addition of
permaculture education and training to the %tring of outcomes.
+thers who have e)pressed an interest include =yde *ark %ource (community environmental
provision)! -ity of Leeds %chool and >ll =allows -hurch growing pro&ect. <thers who may like to be
involved include the +niversity of Leeds 2reen >ction /ood -o-op and %ustainability >ction 2roup
(who have bee hives on campus)! <blong! the =yde *ark 2arden *ro&ect! Blenheim and ?osebank
*rimary schools! and other local groups and businesses - including! ideally! food outlets who might
serve up produce gown by the scheme.
>llotments covered most of @oodhouse 'oor during in @@..
Sur&e'4 $ngageent and Conce!ts
> series of potential target sites have been identified (see map) which are being assessed for their
e)isting ecology and functionality. 'eanwhile meetings are taking place with key stakeholders to
establish opinions! ideas and challenges. <nce these processes are complete! the target sites will be
narrowed to a short list! with potential timings and adopters identified! and concept designs and
management plans will be prepared. These will be shared with the wider group before being
narrowed again to sites capable of development in the winter of 789A"4! for which detailed plans!
including funding bids! will be prepared for formal submission (anticipated completionB mid >ugust).
Leeds +niversity %ustainable 2arden