Allotments v Public land v Private land
Bear in mind that allotments are fenced, but you can’t sell the produce. Growers on council land may sell their produce but perhaps not fence their plot. But if you grow on private land (your own, a friend’s or maybe someone like Yorkshire Water or a school) – you may be able to do both – if you want to. See Ownership
Inside a park
As well as planting up their own edible beds, LCC Parks and Countryside have opened the door for people to establish food growing projects in all Leeds parks that have a resident gardener. These are marked on the Food Map on the ‘landowner-friendly’ layer.
In 2015, LCC plan to re-establish the edible beds in parks planted in 2013/4, (see the Map) and to encourage local ‘friends’ and other community groups to adopt them. This might be a good way to start food growing in your local park. They have also offered to prepare a plot for any local group wishing to grow in a community park.
If you do decide to grow in a park, bear in mind that you’ll not be allowed to fence your plot – though you could define it with planting to provide some psychological protection. You may therefore not be able to keep all of your harvest to yourself (see Ownership). You’ll also not be able to erect a shed or tool store, or keep livestock, and you will probably have to organise your own insurance. Most importantly, water will probably not be available.
You might like to reference this document (they will ask for a donation to download): https://www.sustainweb.org/publications/food_growing_in_parks/#
Outside a park
It’s important to find out who owns any land you would like to grow on.
If you suspect it is private, see Private land (i.e. not yours)
If you suspect it is public, then there are four likely ‘owners’ within LCC: Parks and Countryside (they manage a lot of land that is not inside an official park), Environment and Housing, Education, and Highways. In any case the maintenance may be carried out by Parks, so you may need to liaise with both Parks and another department too.
If you want to grow in a road verge, you will probably need to work with Highways. There are quite strict laws around growing on road verges (for safety reasons), so you will need a Cultivation Licence. See https://www.leeds.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-travel/licences-and-permits.
If you are aiming to grow on council Environment and Housing land you may need a different licence. Housing have been known to charge for officer time, which can add up to a substantial amount.
You can find advice on filling in an LCC Community Partnership Agreement here, especially a pro forma form to help you get started here
Most Education land is within school premises, in which case you would contact the relevant school (see the Schools Map), but Education do own some land outside the school fencing.
In any event your first step would likely be to email email@example.com. They should be able to advise which department own and/or manages the land, and how you need to approach them.
There are strict rules about this. Be sure to read the advice about archeology on the Downloads page
Community Partnership Agreement
This is the main Agreement developed by Parks (with help from Feed Leeds) for growing on Parks land, and it may be used by other departments too – with or without additional documents and licences.
It consists of a simple description of your scheme with some key objectives, a timetable for occasional meetings with the landowner, a commitment from you to look after the land as agreed, and a health and safety risk assessment.
Feed Leeds has written an introductory leaflet with we hope will prepare you for filling in the CPA.
See Agreements, Licences and Rules on the Resources page for both our advice leaflet, and the Agreement itself – as mentioned above.
Community Land Advisory Service
The Community Land Advisory Service can also help http://www.communitylandadvice.org.uk/
The Leeds Parks Forum
Most parks and green spaces in Leeds have a registered ‘friends-of’ group, more than 100 in all, who it might be useful to contact. There are also more than 50 In Bloom groups, who tend to take care of street planting and smaller beds around their area.
These meet at The Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum, which is dedicated to protecting, preserving and enhancing the parks and green spaces of Leeds for the benefit of people and wildlife. You might want to join.
See the Parks Forum Map
Volunteer groups http://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/Pages/Parks-and-Countryside-Volunteer-Groups.aspx
Leeds In Bloom http://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/Pages/Leeds-In-Bloom.aspx
For further information, contact Parks@leeds.gov.uk
Parks have also set up a group called the Community Food Growing Forum, which is by invitation only but meets very rarely.
Please advise of any broken links, or links you think should be included here.