Beeston residents get chance to join the grow-your-own revolution

Residents living in Beeston are the latest to have a chance to transform their front gardens so that they are full of home grown fruits and vegetables.

ASHA, a local community group, has successfully secured funding from NHS Leeds to bring the innovative Back to Front project to Beeston. As part of the project people in the area will have a chance to enter into a harvest competition to see which garden has yielded the best crops.

ASHA will be using the funding to encourage women in the area to take up gardening so that they can enjoy the health benefits of the activity. It will also give them a chance to find out more about how they can develop healthy eating plans for their families.

As part of the project ASHA will also convert its own front garden to motivate women who are less active due to health issues to do the same at home. ASHA will also provide tools to encourage group work for women within the community.

Roxana Summers, Health Improvement Specialist for Vulnerable Groups at NHS Leeds, says: “This project is great as it will lead to a healthier family and a healthier you, not only will you end up eating more fruits and vegetables, but you will be getting added exercise. Working in the garden reduces stress and you’ll save money on food. By working on ASHA’s communal gardens many women in the area will have an opportunity to socialise with their neighbours. Although ASHA are working with women we want to encourage men to take part as well.”

Zaheda Khanam from ASHA comments: “This project will fit in with people’s lifestyles as many people in the local area already use their front gardens to grow spinach, pumpkins, beans, marrows, garlic and coriander.  These are staple foods in the diets of many people. All we will do is give them a little bit of a helping hand to make sure that they can grow more food and that their gardens look stunning!”

Back to Front was initially set up by NHS Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University and now includes a number of partners including Leeds City Council and Shine in Harehills. The project has recently become a constituted community voluntary group and established its own management committee.

Sabina Halliday, Back to Front’s Group Secretary, comments: “Leeds Met is currently undertaking research to help more households in Leeds become ‘Back to Front’.  Their findings will be available in the Back to Front Manual due out for publication later this year. We need to make it socially more acceptable for people to grow vegetables at the front of their houses. This would be particularly useful to householders with little or no space available to grow food, but who are keen to grow stuff. Other beneficiaries might be people with no access to a car, those with disabilities or with little time to visit remote allotment sites.”

To find out more about the Back to Front project please visit: or contact ASHA on 0113 270 4600.