Slow Food Birmingham has submitted a proposal to Birmingham City Council to build an urban farm on the Vyse Street car park in the Jewellery Quarter.

The proposal includes glass houses, a community space, a garden, an educational hub, and a café, with the aim of promoting sustainable agriculture and reducing carbon emissions. If approved, the farm would provide fresh, locally-grown produce to people in Birmingham and serve as a model for change, championing hyper-local food production and education.

According to Slow Food Birmingham, the “Biodiversity Centre” would be a café and education hub, partnering with local schools and colleges to promote interest in food cultivation and cooking among students and to reconnect people with where their food comes from and how it’s grown.

The food produced at the farm would be delivered by cargo bike through the Jewellery Quarter and other parts of the city, supporting residents, businesses, and food justice network groups that aid those experiencing food crises.

The farm would form phase one of Slow Food Birmingham’s plans, with the longer-term vision being to repurpose the upper floors of the car park into community spaces. A new community benefit society co-operative would manage the project once planning permission is granted.

“Our efforts are aimed at supporting the Birmingham community as a whole, particularly those who have been historically marginalised by the current food system,” said Jordan Quinlan, chair of Slow Food Birmingham. “We want to share experiences of developing and managing these proposals and create a toolkit that local communities across the city can utilise to start their own growing spaces.”

Quinlan also stated that some of the growing activity would support the expansion of the JQ Hub, which would relocate from 1000 Trades to the urban farm’s rooftop. The JQ Hub, which is run entirely by Slow Food Birmingham volunteers, champions local producers and food businesses and provides a fresher, tastier, and more sustainable alternative to the carbon-intensive supply chains of major supermarkets. “Twenty percent of the cost of each order goes towards supporting local food justice networks, Slow Food initiatives, and advocacy events,” he added.