Leeds market gets green fingered with pop-up allotment

Leeds Indie Food, the city-wide festival of independent food and drink culture, has unveiled a pop-up allotment in Kirkgate Market.

The Allotment has been created for visitors to relax and enjoy eating in a location where food is grown, prepared, cooked and sold. It incorporates edible planting, trees and seating – a true market garden at the heart of the foodhall.

The Allotment is this year’s centrepiece of the ‘DO” strand of Leeds Indie Food. The idea started back in December with a meeting between Arup, Ellie Andrews of Café 164 and Leeds Indie Food to bring something different to Leeds for the duration of the food festival between May 11 and 28.

Previous years has seen: The City of Cake at Trinity Leeds, in which some of Leeds’ iconic buildings were recreated in cake, and a nod to the Leeds launch of the British Art Show with four famous pieces of art recreated in cake.

Matt Dix, Leeds Indie food, says: “It’s been amazing to see the Allotment taking shape, and we’re really excited to be working with Ellie again. Her events have been some of my all time favourites, so we knew this collaboration with Leeds International Festival would be in good hands. The new Kirkgate Market space has been going from strength to strength too, and we think The Allotment should bring something really special for people to experience, explore and enjoy. I’m sure people are going to use it in ways we haven’t even thought of yet.”

Paul Simkins, associate at Arup, said: “It’s been great to work on designing this installation in Leeds Kirkgate Market. It’s a fun space for relaxing and events, which also explores ideas around urban greening and growing food within the city. The space prototypes the application of modular design, digital and offsite fabrication to landscape and public realm projects, exploring how this might make it easy to replicate similar spaces throughout the city.”

The Allotment will open daily alongside Leeds Markets opening hours – entrance is free and no booking is required.

During the five weeks the Allotment is open, the space will be turned into a creative haven with free events and activities taking place on each of the Saturdays.

Andrew Cooper, Leeds International Festival chair and chief executive of LeedsBID, which has funded the festival, said: “LeedsBID has invested and supported the vibrant independent food and drink scene in Leeds.
This interactive and innovative allotment demonstrates how public places can be transformed to create dynamic spaces by various organisations working together.

“With the level of investment, it would be great to see this installation become permanent and to help cultivate other similar ideas across the city.”