FREE fruit and vegetables just a short walk from your front door is the dream for one unique band of volunteers.
Edible York was founded in 2009 to give anyone the option of picking up a ripe lettuce or a handful of tomatoes from a patch in the city.
The Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, Paragon Street, and Peasholme Green beds are all filled with everything – and more – that can be found in the aisles of a supermarket, while community patches on allotments, or in the grounds of a school can be found throughout York.
“This was inspired by something that has happened in other places, like Todmodden, and we had conversations with the council and other green-minded people in York about how lovely it would be to develop other under-used places and grow your own food on your doorstep,” explains founder Chloe Smee.
“It’s an important skill that everyone can feel they can grow some really fresh and local food on their doorstep, and that’s a skill that most people have lost.”
The idea is to give anyone in York, no matter their age, the ability to produce their own fruit and vegetables – with this weekend providing a starting point to learn the basics.
The group hopes to keep expanding its free service to one day have points all over the city where a cucumber, courgette or cabbage can be picked at ease.
“I loved the city but I wanted to see something really vibrant and lively and it seemed like a great opportunity,” added Chloe.
“I had seen this happening in other places and thought York’s nice, small and compact, there’s lots of nice people who feel very strongly about it and are passionate about the city they live in, and this seemed like such an obvious thing to do.”
On Saturday, Edible York will give gardeners the chance to learn new skills in the communities around them, as they open up their gardens and city centre patches to volunteers and supporters.
Chloe added: “The idea for Saturday is to have York’s open Edible Gardens, and anybody who has an edible garden, be it their private space, an allotment, a community growing space or a school, opens their gates for the day and invites people to come in so that gardeners can learn from each other, and they can reach others to volunteers.
“For Edible York it is a way to celebrate the breadth and the diversity of edible growing that’s happening across the city.”
Volunteer Jamie Searl, 56, of Fishergate, added: “This should be spread around York because it’s a good facility and amenity.
“I’ve been here weeding and someone has come along and tried something.
“It’s growing and flourishing, and people are benefitting from it.”
lThe gardens will be open from 1pm to 4pm on Saturday and is followed by a party at Clements Hall from 5pm to 8pm.