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Green Revival: Sheffield's Glasshouses to Bloom with Affordable Food for Locals

Glasshouses in a park in Sheffield are to be repurposed to cultivate affordable food for local residents, following a decision by councillors.


Image courtesy of Sheffield City Council

Sheffield City Council has announced plans to refurbish the structures at Norton Nurseries in Graves Park and to seek a new operator to utilise the space for food production.


During a recent charity trustee sub-committee meeting, it was resolved that the new operator must facilitate equitable access to affordable food for the community. A licence has been issued to appoint an operator for a period of up to five years.


Opened in 1983, the glasshouses were initially employed as greenhouses to cultivate and supply bedding plants for Sheffield's parks. This practice ceased in the mid-1990s due to high operational costs and a decline in demand for bedding plants.


Currently, the glasshouses are underutilised and at risk of further deterioration, according to the council.


The incoming operator will be tasked with providing fresh food at reasonable prices for the local community. Repairs to broken panes and cleaning of gutters will be undertaken before the facilities are transferred to an external partner for management.


Selina Treuherz, the coordinator of the ShefFood partnership, praised Sheffield's initiative as a leading example of local authority engagement in community food-growing.


She highlighted the importance of developing local food infrastructure in the face of increasing food insecurity, the climate crisis, and challenging trade agreements, stating that enhancing the city's capacity for food production would strengthen the local food system's resilience.


Ian Auckland, chair of the committee, emphasised the goal of reactivating the space for community use and food cultivation, reflecting the council's commitment to utilising the glasshouses for the benefit of the community.

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