Our background and history

What does Growing Durham do?

Pictured: the Growing Durham Team (L-R) Peter Samsom, Liz Charles, Hannah Murray-Leslie.

Growing Durham encourages people across the county to grow some of their own food and provides support for them to turn their food growing ideas into reality.

Priorities for the Food Partnership

Growing Durham makes a contribution to a wide range of issues identified in the County’s Sustainable Food Strategy.

The most obvious contribution is that people who grow some of their own food have better access to fresh food (fruit, vegetables and herbs). However, they are also less dependent on a complex food system and so contribute to making food provision a little bit more resilient.  They are more likely to cook, or learn to cook some of their meals using the fresh ingredients they have grown and by doing that they avoid additives and hidden salts and sugars, with all the health benefits that that brings.

The vegetables that you grow in your garden or allotment don’t travel far to your kitchen so food miles are virtually zero and gardens, especially if cultivated without the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides, are vital places for our wildlife. Gardens can benefit pollinators such as bumblebees and indeed many food crops depend on those self-same pollinators to get a decent crop.

Getting out into a garden and growing some of your own is also really good for your health, not just because you get fresh food, but also because getting out into green spaces and your hands in the soil is excellent for your mental health.  You can read more about the benefits of growing your own food here.

The first few years of Growing Durham

In 2015 Food Durham appointed two part-time development workers, Hannah Murray-Leslie and Peter Samsom, to work across the county to help create a network of new and diverse community growing schemes.  In that period they worked with a wide range of community groups and individuals and helped set up community gardens and orchards.  You can find out about some of the projects that Hannah and Peter have been involved with on the Projects page of the website

In the second phase of the project Growing Durham is working with partners to develop its work around ‘growing for wellbeing’.

Growing Durham publishes an electronic newsletter which comes out 3 or 4 times per year.  If you’d like to receive it direct to your inbox, please contact Liz Charles via our Contact Us page.