The Northern Roots Story
So where do you start with such an ambitious vision? How do you take 160 acres of green space and transform it into the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park? How do you ensure a project of this scale delivers the right mix of social, environmental and economic outcomes?
Over the last two years Northern Roots and Oldham Council have been working with experts from the University of Salford, Planet.ie, Social Business International and E3M to take the Northern Roots project from initial concept to pilot phase.
We’ve completed soil testing and biodiversity surveys on the site, carried out community consultations, and developed a detailed project master plan. Key to this is the development of a business model that will support the creation of jobs, business and enterprise opportunities for local communities, whilst ensuring long term financial sustainability for the Northern Roots project.
Covid 19 has meant that, like everyone else, we’ve had to rethink our priorities and how we continue to involve and consult local communities in the development of the Northern Roots project. Over the coming year we’ll pilot a range of activities that demonstrate and test how Northern Roots can work, starting with the Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub. From initial site clearance and woodland management to birdwatching and forest school, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to get involved, volunteer, share ideas and help shape the project.
We’ll also establish our first base on the Northern Roots site – a space where people can come together to learn, grow, connect and create.
Over the next five to ten years Northern Roots will create a visitor centre, microbrewery, and teaching and workshop space, alongside community growing, market gardening, forestry, sport and leisure activities such as walking, mountain biking and camping, outdoor education, and a vibrant arts and culture programme.