Over the next six months, thousands of people in the town will grow produce in containers across town, from ordinary schools to posh department stores, from fat cat car dealers to patients in secure units. The council is also growing food in local parks and town centre 'tubs'.
The town's new 'urban farmers' will bring their harvest to 'kitchen playgrounds' -
recipe-making sessions led by professonal chefs - and the final harvest
will be cooked for a final 'town barbie' in front of the new Museum of Modern Art in October 07.
You'll find more on the project here and on Worldchanging.
Time will tell if our
first intervention in the landscape of Middlesbrough can help turn the
town in to a food savannah, as opposed to a food desert; and start to popularise an urban design linked to permaculture, rather than monoculture.
As Matthew Taylor of the Royal Society of Arts recently wrote:
Encouraging healthier lifestyles is easier with people used to the idea they are in control of their lives and who can afford to join a gym or buy a good pair of running shoes.
Maybe our initiative will become an effective example of what Matthew calls a pro-social campaign: a new collective commitment to environmental and social change, led by voluntary behavior and that has a key impact upon local life and public management.
For sure, we've only just begun our project and cash is starting to flow in to regeneration projects that we're linked to and the council appears to now be developing some form of 'pocket allotment' strategy for the future.
I look to sister initiatives like the Massachusetts Avenue Project green with envy. And my collaborators - artist Debra Solomon of Culiblog, designer Nina Belk of Zest Innovation and Andre - as grand inspirations.
Update on project here.