In September 2022, Shropshire Council approved a motion put forward by Councillor Rosemary Dartnall which granted citizens the right to apply to grow food on publicly owned land. That means land that is owned by Shropshire Council or by your local Town and Parish Council that isn't being used or is in disuse can be applied for by community members.
The Right to Grow is a movement being pushed by the amazing organisation Incredible Edible. They have been building their campaign with legal backing to push the Right to Grow through Parliament's Levelling-up Bill.
Recently, Incredible Edible, Sustain and others celebrated Hull for being the first city to grant the Right to Grow. While Shropshire did in fact do this a year earlier, there has yet to be a Right to Grow application granted in Shropshire.
Shropshire Good Food Partnership wants to ensure that citizens and councillors know about the Right to Grow, and how they can work together to make the most out of publicly owned land that are maintained by tax payers.
In the context of the cost of living crisis and supply chain disruptions, local growing and community gardens can provide an essential service in providing food and building food resilience.
Here are two helpful resources to introduce Shropshire citizens and councillors to the Right to Grow and the application process works.
Shropshire Council's Portal for Community Growing Projects (Includes application form, guidance for Councils and Community Members and other details.
Note: Both parties must be clear on whether the land identified belongs to Shropshire Council or the Town and Parish Council, as that will determine who the application gets submitted to and who conducts the necessary checks.
SGFP will be glad speak with community members who are seeking the Right to Grow in their communities and to write letters of support for local growing projects.