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Will city allotments, rooftop gardens and vertical planters be part of Manchester’s future?


A 3,000 sq ft allotment is coming to St Ann’s Square – and it’s unlike any allotment you will have seen before.

It’s all about growing the awareness of eating sustainably and what we can do to help.  Be inspired by experiments and techniques you can use at home, too, as experimental chef Samuel Buckley runs a practical workshop about fermenting and preserving food on July 25 and 26.

Watch top local chefs Mary-Ellen McTague and Robert Owen Brown battle it out to cook with a selection of ingredients we may be relying on more in the future.

A number of interactive shows are involved with plenty of tasting opportunities along the way. Master Chef star Oliver Bray will also be devising a menu of the future and there is plenty for you to get involved with too, as free activities run every day from 10am-6pm.

Learn how to grow your own edible mushrooms using coffee grounds with FarmLab, a pop-up urban farming experiment from Squirrel Nation, who are seeking to create low carbon food options.  You can also take part in workshops from Real Food Wythenshawe and there will be a seed swap from 1pm on Friday 29.

You can even bring along a handful of earth and find out what it is worth! The University of Salford will be working on the allotment and encouraging people to bring down samples of soil from their own gardens to create a map of soil types across Greater Manchester and advise people on the right plants for them.

The final day will be dedicated to a Twitter Q&A session where you are invited to ask experts including Chris Walsh from the Kindling Trust, Jemma Hynes from FoodSync, Dr Michael Hardman from the University of Salford and Professor Amanda Bamford from the University of Manchester about the future of food.

“Many people are worried about climate change and it’s interesting to ponder how future changes will affect the food we eat and the crops we grow,” says Professor Bamford. However, plants not only feed us, they can be used to insulate our buildings, trap air pollutants and fertilise our soils. As a professor of Plant Sciences I am thrilled to bring the green stuff into the city.”

So will city allotments, rooftop gardens and vertical planters be part of Manchester’s future? See what the city has in store and get along to The Allotment.

The Allotment is part of the Science in the City Festival which runs from 22-29 July and celebrates Manchester’s status as the first European City of Science in the UK.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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