Blackburn Urban Food Futures: A collaborative initiative to cultivate local food systems

Categories: Research, School of Science, Engineering and Environment

The National Festival of Making and the Making Rooms, in collaboration with the University of Salford, have announced a series of free workshops aimed at building a prototype, small-scale local food system designed by the community. Blackburn Urban Food Futures is a research-based project and an extension of the Think it - Make it - Grow it project run by the University of Salford.

The workshops will be led by Dr Andy Jenkins and Dr Laura Coucill from the University of Salford, who are experts in urban agriculture and architecture, alongside expertise from the Making Rooms.

The aim is to collaboratively design the food system and later construct the prototype as part of the National Festival of Making, taking place on the 6th and 7th July in Blackburn. Participants who join the next workshop will also build their own small food system that they can take home to sit on their windowsill - allowing them to grow in their own home.

A small group of people positioning plant pots on shelves

The series of workshops kicked off with an introductory session on Friday 8 March, where participants gained insights into urban food cultivation and had the chance to meet with experts in urban agriculture and architecture from the University of Salford. Attendees also got the opportunity to hear from architecture students from the university, who shared their own designs for a hypothetical food resource for Blackburn town centre.

Andy said: “We’d like to invite local people, whatever your background knowledge, to join us for this really exciting project. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or simply curious about urban agriculture, our workshops offer a unique opportunity to learn, connect, and imagine a local food growing ecosystem for Blackburn.

“It doesn’t matter if you can’t make all of the workshops in the series, just come along to the ones that you can. ”

The workshop series includes:

  • an introductory session about growing food in towns and cities across the world, where participants gave their input on a university project by architecture students from the University of Salford (8th March)
  • an opportunity to build a windowsill food system to take home and hear an update from the architecture students (5th April)
  • a workshop to discuss ideas, build models, and draw a vision for the future of food growing in Blackburn (3rd May)
  • a final workshop to design the chosen idea in more detail and shape how the people of Blackburn will use and interact with the food system (31st May)
  • a making event where festival participants can help build the final design during the National Festival of Making (6 and 7 July)

Find out more about the workshops.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.