The Luton Food Plan and our part in it

Everyone needs access to healthy and tasty food at a price they can afford. Not everyone in Luton does at the moment, and the council’s public health team have been working on a Luton Food Plan. Over four years, the plan will address healthy eating in the town, aiming to improve people’s diets, expand good eating choices, and encourage all of us to take an interest in what and how we eat.

There are three main areas of focus:

  1. The council will be getting its own house in order, improving catering options and vending machines, and using its procurement power.
  2. Access to healthy food, including working with takeaways to provide more healthy options on their menus.
  3. Greening the borough, encouraging more people to grow their own and improving access to green spaces.

Edible High Town is involved, particularly in the third of those areas. We’re part of the strategy group, hoping to lend some of our enthusiasm for growing and eating local fruit and veg. We’re also supporting Luton’s plans to become a Sustainable Food City, and to join the healthy eating Veg Cities network.

We’re all about community-building and place-making through food and growing, and it’s great to be connected with a project that has wider ambitions for upgrading the food culture in Luton.

Highly commended!

CPRE’s Living Countryside Awards were last week, and Edible High Town was nominated in the Greening Urban Spaces category.

We didn’t win, but we were highly commended. Well done to our volunteers and coordinators for this year’s efforts.

The winners were Incredible Edible Dunstable, who we’re fans of anyway. Congratulations guys!

There are lots of inspiring people and projects in the awards, so have a look at the full list here.

Making connections

Along with growing as much food as we can around High Town, this summer has also been a time to make connections with other organisations. It’s our first year in operation, and we’re looking to build up our networks and learn everything that we can from people who’ve been doing urban growing for a while.

People like Incredible Edible Dunstable, with whom we exchanged visits. They came to see what we were up to, and we were inspired by their beautiful growing space and their no-dig gardening techniques. It’s great to see the way they work with local business, and the long term commitment that their plot represents. You can see it for yourself on Katherine Drive, opposite the Co-op.

We’ve also been working with Penrose Roots, who run the Roots to Recovery garden on Old Bedford Road. They’re lending their design expertise to help us plan and develop one of our larger spaces on the corner of North Street and Cobden Street.

Stockingstone Allotments also got in touch and invited us to present an award at their annual ceremony. Philippa represented us and discovered a brilliant group of growers who were friendly, helpful, and ready to share their knowledge and seeds for next year.

We’ve also been working with the Luton Food Plan, a vision to transform the town’s relationship with food. (You can read it here if you’re interested.) We’re supporting one of the plan’s key aims to ‘green the borough’.

There’s  more – there are a number of other conversations going on that we look forward to telling you more about as they unfold. If you’d like to meet us and talk to us about your project, get in touch!

It’s harvest season – help yourself!

This week we dug up our patch of potatoes from the Albion Court plot, bundled them into paper bags and gave them away to local residents. It’s not the first crop we’ve had – there have been lots of herbs, some strawberries, kale and lavender. But it is the first proper meal we’ve been able to give away.

We also harvested a fine courgette, the first of many by the looks of things.

These are your vegetable plots. If you walk past and see something tasty, help yourself. Just make sure it’s ripe and ready, and save some for others too. Bon appetit!

Give us a sign!

The next time you walk down High Town Road, look out for the new sign on the Burr Street fruit and herb bed, making everything look official.

“This is a local community experiment in public food growing”, it says, informing people of what’s been planted, who’s behind it and how they can get involved – and inviting passers by to help themselves.

Join us every Wednesday

You can now join us in gardening High Town every Wednesday. Our friends at Noah have invited us to meet there, and we’ll head out around 10am. Everyone welcome.

We’ll still be organising work days on the weekends, so don’t worry if you’re not free mid-week. Wednesday sessions are for anyone who wants to join us in the regular maintenance of our growing number of growing spaces.