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Dream Fund Biospheric Project

15th August 2013

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Dream Fund project investigates sustainable food production processes

The Biospheric Project team have completely transformed an unused mill to create an urban food centre in Salford The Biospheric Project team have completely transformed an unused mill to create an urban food centre in Salford

Climate change and rising food prices are problems that are increasingly hard to ignore in urban areas. The Biospheric Project, run by Manchester International Festival and The Biospheric Foundation, aims to revitalise the ways in which cities and communities interact with each other to tackle these issues head-on.

The project's organisers have already transformed a derelict mill in Salford into a thriving agricultural space, complete with a research centre and laboratory. They are also promoting awareness about sustainable food production processes through a range of specialist events and activities. This project has gone from strength to strength thanks to £91,121 funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery.

The Biospheric Project is part of the Manchester International Festival programme, a biannual arts and entertainment event. Jennifer Cleary, Director of Creative Learning at Manchester International Festival, remembered how The Biospheric Project came into being two years ago; "We were introduced to Vincent Walsh who is the director of the Biospheric Foundation and was interested in creating an urban food farm and laboratory within the city of Salford, which is right next to the city of Manchester and one of the key areas in which we work.

"The Biospheric Project actually won the 'Connecting Communities' part of the Dream Fund from People's Postcode Lottery", continued Jennifer. "What that's enabled us to do, as well as creating the project and turning this disused building into an urban farm, research centre and laboratory, is actually run a really large public programme which is connected with all sorts of different members of the community."

The main aim of The Biospheric Project is to investigate the ways in which food, technology and design can help to forge a new way of urban living. Vincent Walsh, the Director of The Biospheric Foundation, is extremely proud of his colleagues' achievements so far. "We've actually had a huge impact, firstly by developing beautiful forest systems like this for the local community. We've also developed a local food shop and food distribution hub where people can get greater access to food. But also, more importantly, we developed an amazing platform where we're developing technological food systems."

This project encourages local people to question where the food they eat is coming from and become as involved in that process as possible. As well as planning demonstrations on planting and gardening practices, the project's organisers are also running workshops on healthy eating, cooking on a budget and food growing in the home.

"It's really transformed this community and also, more importantly, the aspirations of the community", said Vincent. "On behalf of The Biospheric Project I'd like to say a massive thank you to the players of People's Postcode Lottery for the fund that's helped us to create a food production system in Salford."

The Biospheric Project is committed to encouraging healthy living and environmental sustainability in urban areas. For this reason it was a successful candidate in this year's Dream Fund and received funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery. Registered charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations who likewise require funding for their 'dream' project can apply for Dream Fund 2014 until 20th September 2013.