About Abundance

abundance logo

Do you like fruit? Do you like free fruit? Are you interested in using local resources to benefit your community?

The Abundance project was created in Sheffield in 2007 by Grow Sheffield. Teams of volunteers harvest the seasonal glut of fruit across the city and redistribute this surplus to the local community on a non profit making basis.

Abundance aims to reconnect communities with their local food resources and to provide skills, training and practical advice in order to utilise and develop these for the benefit of everyone.

Our project volunteers also plant fruit trees, offer workshops on fruit tree pruning and grafting and run chutney and jam making workshops. See our events page for forthcoming activities.

We are also now selling fruit trees, grafted and tended by volunteers and supporters. These are local heritage varieties of fruit that are in danger of being lost, and planting more trees will help to preserve them and ensure future abundance in Sheffield.

You can get involved by either volunteering or perhaps you have fruit trees in your garden that you would like us to harvest? Please do get in touch, visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @abundancesheff

Visit the Abundance network website for more information on established groups across the UK  www.abundancenetwork.org.uk


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Our Abundance Hubs

All our hubs are quite fluid and transient and they have an inherent ability to move and expire constantly. The areas that we are focussing on this year are;

Nether Edge/SharrowWalkley/Crookes/UpperthorpeMeadowhead/Greenhill/NortonWestfieldGreystones/EcclesallHeeley/MeersbrookMillhousesSouthey/NorwoodHillsborough/Wisewood

Our Abundance Project Leader is Lucy.

You can contact Lucy at [email protected]


Aquaponics Pilot Project

 Sean and Cies-jan are keen to set up an aquaponics project in Sheffield and are looking for a plot of land to set up a polytunnel (20ft x 36ft) to begin a pilot project. Here’s what Sean had to say about it all:
Me and my friend Cies-jan are looking to set up an aquaponics project in Sheffield. In case you are not familiar with aquaponics, here is a brief description courtesy of Wikipedia:
“Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture, (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks), with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system.”I have a background in permaculture, sustainable technology, growing veggies and working with adults with learning disabilities. Cies-jan has 10 years experience working with fish and has trained in animal care. And we’re generally pleasant people.

Finding a suitable site is our first challenge. Would you be able to help us find a spot to stick up a 20ft x 36ft polytunnel to start a pilot project?

So, if you have a suitable site available and fancy some tasty greens and herbs and fish produced on your land, please get in touch. Contact us here at Grow Sheffield – [email protected] – and we’ll put you in touch with Sean.

Common Ground

Common Ground Community Garden is in Nether Edge (where St Peter’s church used to be on Machon Bank) and has been going for just over a year now. Morwenna from the group gave us this report on progress and latest news:

As we embark upon our second growing season we’re keen to encourage people from the local community to pop down and have a go at growing something this year! We’re going to be part of Sheffield on a Plate and a world record attempt aiming to create the world’s biggest sustainable stew, which could feed over 5000 people.

We’re having a big event on 1st March, 2pm-5pm in partnership with Nether Edge Neighbourhood Group (NENG). It’s a party for all the community and last year it was a big hit! Common Ground Hall needs as much support as it can get at the moment so please pop down, learn about the hall, the garden and the local community and see how you can get involved.

We meet every Saturday morning, 10am-12noon, new volunteers and anyone interested in finding out more can come along. And get the latest updates at our Facebook page.

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Draft Sheffield Food Strategy and Consultation

The draft Sheffield Food Strategy has been published. (Download it here). Here’s Sheffield City Council’s introduction to the strategy and the consultation:

“This draft Food Strategy builds upon Sheffield’s Food Plan published July 2011 responding to the changing circumstances that the people of Sheffield are living within as well as local and national policy developments. The new Food Strategy sets out our vision for food in Sheffield and a number of priorities that will help us to achieve this.

A range of consultation activities have informed the development of this strategy to date. We would now like to take stakeholder views on board in shaping the final version. Please let us have your comments by completing the online consultation.

The survey will be open from Friday 6th December through to 4pm Friday 3rd January.”

Sheffield Food Network micro-volunteering

The Sheffield Food Network map of sources of independent, local and fair food has been up and running for a while now, but we’re pretty sure we haven’t got anywhere near finding all of the places across the city doing great things with local and fair food.

So, we are looking for your help in finding food businesses or food organisations that might meet the Sheffield Food Network criteria and submitting details to the website. These microvolunteering tasks should take less than 15 minutes.

1. Find a food business or organisation, either one you know of from your neighbourhood, or one you’ve found out about through a leaflet, or from a friend, or from the internet.

2. Check whether they are already on the Sheffield Food Network map.

3. If not, please try to gather enough information to be able to fill in the details on this form. We are looking for contact details, opening times, and some information on what the organisation/business does and how they meet the Sheffield Food Network criteria (independent organisation producing or selling food that is local or fair, or both). Don’t worry if you can’t find all the information, even a few details would be really helpful.

4. If the organisation is already on the map, is the information correct and up-to-date? If not, please submit corrections or updates on the form.

And that’s it.

If you are interested in this type of bite-sized and online volunteering, we’ve also just started a new map of disused land and vacant plots which we’d love your help in developing.

Or if you’re interested in getting involved with community gardens and growing projects or other volunteering opportunities with Grow Sheffield, please see our volunteers page for details.

Mapping disused spaces

We have started up a Crowdmap to try to map disused spaces, vacant plots, derelict sites and other locations where community action could help turn such land into local amenities, such as community food growing sites or parks.

This is a development of the work we did earlier in the year with the Everyday Growing Cultures project and inspired by the land advocacy work of 596 Acres over in Brooklyn. We are hoping that people will get involved with this project in two main ways:

1. Add reports to the map. Do you know of a plot of land in your community which is disused or vacant and which could be put to better use? You can add information about the site to the map by filling in a simple form.

2. Start to organise activity around a site. If you see a site on the map which you’d be interested in trying to turn over to community use, you can start by commenting on the report on the map to notify people of your interest and start a conversation about it.

It is very early days so far, but we’re hoping to begin to build up a picture of the land across the city which could be an asset for the community and provide a starting point for people to organise around it.

Sheffield Food Strategy

Work has begun to re-start the stalled Sheffield Food Strategy. We attended a consultation workshop on Wednesday 6 November to find out about the work and discussions that had been done within the local authority recently and plans for continued developments. The event was opened by Graham Moore, the Chair of the new Food and Physical Activity Board, followed by a presentation from Cllr Jack Scott, outlining their thinking to date around proposed priorities within the Food Strategy over the next 2 years. (A copy of the presentation slides available here). There were then two rounds of discussions in groups, one on the proposed vision and strategic priorities, and one for further discussion on the priority areas.

Notes from the session (written up from the flipcharts) can be downloaded here. A summary of the key messages from the notes has been emailed around to attendees. It said:

“The big message for the vision was to emphasise the culture change needed and the importance of learning and food literacy.

Food Poverty seems to be reinforced as a priority but people were concerned that we need our politicians to lobby on our behalf to reverse the trends. Food waste was very important to many people, as were healthy eating and food growing but above all when we discussed the priorities for our future work this was about the processes and levers we can affect to make change, policy, procurement, regulation, communication and education for example.”

Grow Sheffield aim to stay involved with these discussions as they progress. If you are interested in getting involved too, you can email Jill Lancaster to be added to the email list.

Allotment Soup Call for Artists

CALLING ALL ARTISTS: Poets, Musicians, Performers, Painters and Artists of all kinds are invited to take part in:

Allotment Soup
Sunday 22nd September
Grimesthorpe Allotments

Allotment Soup is an annual creative and artistic harvest celebration that takes place on a different Sheffield allotment site each year.

Plot holders are invited to open up their plots to the public and to host an artwork, performance, or event on the day.

Artists, performers and poets are encouraged to liaise with individual plot holders and create an original work in response to the site, theme and season

If you would like to take part in Allotment Soup, please contact [email protected]

AUGUST: The Multifaith Forest Garden

One of our most popular volunteer events is BACK! You are invited to join us at the Multifaith Forest Garden at Parkwood Springs on: Saturday 10th August 11am – 2pm. The day will be a general maintenance day. In addition, thanks to Sheffield University volunteers we now have a new compost bay that requires the finishing touches and filling. The day will be hosted by Ed Thatcher. Ed’s contact number is: 07816596228

The garden is looking wonderful and there are plenty of currants to pick, so bring your tubs along. It’s a great time of year as the energy of nature is displayed in it’s true splendour, unfortunately this includes some pretty prolific weeds – any help to keep on top of these would be greatly appreciated. The volunteers from the university did a great job clearing meters of oil seed rape and rosebay willowherb. There will also be another chance for a guided walk around the garden for those who haven’t visited before.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has worked on, and visited the forest garden over the past months. We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones as we move towards another summer in the garden. There are several workdays coming up, so put these dates in your diary!

Saturday 10th August, 11am until 2pm

Saturday 14th September, 11am until 2pm

Saturday 12th October, 11am until 2pm

Saturday 9th November, 11am until 2pm

Saturday 14th December, 11am until 2pm

For more information, email [email protected] or call 0114 2580784

Food culture course

We like to keep you up to date with the latest training available around Sheffield. Please see below for details about a food culture course, due to start in September:

Food Culture Course

A Guide to Edible-culture, Organics and Permaculture for Health,

Nutrition and Security.

A Course of Eight weekly Evening Classes

– DATE- Monday Evenings 7 – 9pm

Starting: September 16th, 2013


VENUE – Regather Trading Co-operative –

57-59 Club Garden Road,




Tutor: Stephen Watts

To book a place or for more information  07507578885

e-mail: [email protected]

Also go to weblink –   http://www.regather.net/product-category/education

To view a copy of Stephens C.V click here


£100, concessions £50,

These courses are primarily designed for new growers.

There aim is to make the science and practice of food growing more accessible, both theoretically and practically.

This course will focus on these key subject areas –

–  Wild food – Theory and practice

–  organic horticulture – fertility- soil and soil improvement

–  Site design – permaculture design principles

–  Seasonal awareness – time and timing, planning and preparation.

–  Nutrition – food preparation and cooking what you grow

–  Herbs – how to grow and use herbs.

–  Community food growing- working with others.

•    Students receive a copy of the course book (providing essential information about each topic, as well as access to a wealth of essential on-line information)

•    The course includes access to an extensive seed bank of local heritage varieties of edible crops and also a wide selection of culinary and medicinal herbs, as well as borrow from a large library of relevant books and archive material.

•    You also get the chance to taste samples of fresh produce each week, including dozens of types of Apples and Pears.

•    The course also provides a social opportunity to meet and get to  know other people with an interest in local growing and eating.