Meanwhile leases for community food growing land

Meanwhile leases are temporary leases that allow businesses to use property that’s lying vacant, often because the owners are waiting for the right time to develop it.

The vacant site acquired through a meanwhile lease, before Moveable Feast made it into a community garden- photo credit MoveableFeast blog

A group called Meanwhile Space has supported the development of several meanwhile projects, and, with legal advice, has drawn up meanwhile leases that landlords/meanwhile tenants can use. These include meanwhile leasesfor both community food gardens and farm garden businesses.

Mobile gardening

The use of meanwhile leases has led to the practice of mobile gardening – growing everything in containers that can easily be moved to another growing site when the meanwhile lease runs out. In the UK, Moveable Feast is an example of this.


Children playing in the Moveable Feast garden_photo credit Moveable Feast blog

A Horticulture Week article (needs log in) describes how landscape architect Nicole Collomb helped start the Moveable Feast  temporary community garden in St Leonards, East Sussex, after coaxing a local property developer to let her use derelict land earmarked for housing that it was mothballing until the economy picks up.

She is now calling for councils to promote meanwhile leases for urban farm gardens and community food growing.

Horticulture Week quotes Nicole Collomb as saying, “There is no reason you can’t do this elsewhere – the model can be replicated….Plant beds on pallets can be moved by forklift at three months’ notice from the owner, Roost.”

Meanwhile leases are also behind  community gardens at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Canary Wharf and Bradford city centre.

The Prinzessinnengarten  in Berlin is a mobile urban farm garden, run as a community farm business on what was a piece of wasteland near where the Berlin wall used to be. As at Moveable Feast, all growing is in containers which can be moved to another site if necessary.

Photo credit Prinzessinnengarten website

Here is a video about Prinzessinnengarten – it lasts about 20 minutes.

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