Stronger Roots

Business, Community • Manchester

Stronger Roots is an inspiring initiative led by MUD to assist refugees and asylum seekers, offering them an opportunity to connect with nature and cultivate their own food.

Our story

Manchester Urban Diggers (MUD) is a wonderful network of urban community market gardeners based in Greater Manchester. We make spaces for people to grow food and produce organically grown fresh fruit and vegetables for local communities to enjoy. We also offer our space to the local community to host workshops, events, volunteer sessions as well as social prescribing sessions.

MUD emerged from humble beginnings, with our roots going back to May 2019 when three of us embarked on this journey of urban farming and community development. It all started when we secured permission to convert the old bowling greens in Platt Fields Park into a hub for growing food. Since we are based in a public park, many passers-by wanted to get involved and, quite literally, it grew from there. We’ve been fostering community engagement ever since, providing free meals for countless individuals, nurturing local wildlife and serving as a unique gathering place for the community.

“Stronger Roots” is one such initiative that encapsulates the essence of MUD and Platt Fields Market Garden, bringing together asylum seekers, refugees, and community members of all ages. For those individuals who find themselves confined to contingency hotels, unable to work or integrate into their new society, Stronger Roots has become a lifeline, offering a newfound sense of belonging and connection. Weekly sessions provide a platform for celebrating diverse cultures, their culinary traditions, and the art of cultivating food together. Participants cook and share recipes, as well as stories from their homelands, creating a feeling of home and purpose in a foreign land.

Our advice

Place - We focus on developing place-based community gardening and food growing systems. This first and foremost requires a space to dig! If you’re thinking of doing something similar, seek out potential partners who have direct access to land or can facilitate the acquisition of land.

Plant - Growing plants is at the heart of our projects. It not only provides food to feed the local community but also supports the surrounding biodiversity. We have found that digging and planting are the key methods for us to engage with place, people, and planet.

People - We work with over 300 volunteers across our project sites and are constantly looking for support from people who enjoy locally grown vegetables and fruits, are wanting to improve their well-being and engage with the local community. It’s people who turn these gardening places into gathering places that have even more to offer.

Planet – We want to build sustainable food systems because we care about the planet that we all share. Doing the right thing for the environment has social benefits too as community gardening develops both new relationships and connections to nature.

Our metrics

Number of sessions.

Number of participants.

Feedback from involvement (wellbeing, confidence, self-esteem, mental health and quality of life).

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...



Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Business, Community, 50 to 249 people

Shared by

Jo Payne

Updated May, 2024

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