Students are digging in to bring tasty treats to the park
MANCHESTER University students are helping transform an underused section of a park into an area where wheelchair users can pick edible plants.
The students have worked with the council to build raised planters near the lake in Platt Fields Park.
The planters are on a specially-hardened surface and have been built at a height that means wheelchair users can access them.
They will be planted with everything from tomatoes and herbs to raspberries and strawberries.
The idea is that wheelchair users will later be able to pick fruit and vegetables from the garden, but also that they will get involved in helping maintain the site.
A greenhouse is also being built to enable everything to be grown from seed for future sustainability.
The garden is being set up as part of the Incredible Edible Manchester project, where community food growing networks are being set up on derelict or underused areas of the city.
Teams of students are working with the council to plan more than a dozen gardens.
These include gardens being planned by St Chad’s Church in Burnage, planters near houses on Braemar Road and Brailsford Road in Fallowfield, as well as a community orchard, which is going to be created in Cheetham.
The project is part of a global grass-roots movement, which started in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, but now has groups everywhere from Brazil to New Zealand.
Alexander Clark, environmental coordinator at the University of Manchester, said: “The whole purpose of Incredible Edible is that people get involved in helping to keep the garden growing.
“They take what they need but then work to help replenish the garden. We’re trying to grow food for the community to share, and also trying to raise awareness of local food growth – and about the importance of having useful land that can be used for growing food.
“We’re using students as it’s a way of getting them to work more closely with other members of the community – strengthening the partnership between students and the wider community.”