Yorkshire’s maritime city has long celebrated its links with the sea, but Hull’s seafaring heritage has also helped shape a revolution in urban farming, thanks to home grown food nurtured in old shipping containers in a former dry dock.
Ground-breaking initiative ‘Rooted in Hull’ is an urban agriculture project that has transformed a derelict dry dock near Drypool Bridge, within walking distance of the city centre.
The social enterprise, founded by two friends in 2014 based around the ‘farm in a box’ concept, saw boxes swapped for old shipping containers to create a community space for growing, sharing and learning about food in the heart of Hull.
Today the thriving site not only provides a place for locals to learn about food, improve their mental health and overall wellbeing, but also a Farm Shop & Kitchen, offering a wide range of produce, grown on site and hand-picked to bring quality fresh food to the city’s plates.
The Kitchen is open daily for take-away drinks, soups and sandwiches, made using locally sourced ingredients and suppliers, while the Farm Shop and Market Stall is stocked with fresh vegetables and herbs from the farm, plus other locally sourced produce.
And coming soon is a small bakery, with a wood fired oven already fitted and funding secured to employ a college leaver wanting to learn about community baking.
As well as offering ‘Rooted’ real bread in the farm shop, plans are also in the pipeline for pizzas at night-time gatherings, when restrictions allow.
Adding to its strong community outreach, the project has recently appointed photographer and artist Fiona Caley as its ‘artist in residence’ to deliver artistic activities and events on the farm from her new studio space – a shipping container painted bright red.
Created by Adrian Fisher and Mark Cleaver, the ‘Rooted’ project was built by the community as a collaborative venture to create a living, thriving community to help make Hull more food resilient as well as champion growing and eating healthy food.
Shipping containers and raised beds were used to create a “farm in a box”, which can easily be moved to a new site if needed in the future. The shipping containers were designed and fitted by apprentices at Hull College – including all plumbing, electrics, and welding – and each year 50 college student work there to develop skills as part of their education.
Other regular visitors and volunteers include various community groups, with some learning business skills by helping run the cafe or working on site maintenance.
Along with food self-sufficiency, and boosting community skills, ‘Rooted in Hull’ also places a big emphasis on being environmentally friendly.
As well as using reed bed water filtration and solar energy, there is a composting toilet on site, while the latest addition is a new electric cargo bike, so they can make local deliveries from the farm.
For more details on ‘Rooted in Hull, visit www.rootedinhull.org.uk
For all other tourism information about Hull, see www.visithull.org