Growing on private land

Allotments v Public land v Private land - Bear in mind that allotments are fenced, but you can't sell the produce. Growers on council land may sell their produce but perhaps not fence their plot. But if you grow on private land (your own, a friend's or maybe someone like Yorkshire Water or a school) - you may be able to do both - if you want to. See Ownership

If you're looking to grow on private land that you don't own, you will need to find out who owns it. The sure-fire way to do this is to pay a £30 fee to the Land Registry then click on Land Registry Searches. (You may want the section titled "Title Register & Title Plan for Land not having a full Postal Address"). 

This blog may be helpful too

Once you know who own the land, you have three basic options.

1) Informal: Borrowing / sharing land 

See Garden Sharing. and this very good article.

2) Formal: Renting, leasing or purchasing land

This gets a lot more complicated, so we're not giving detailed advice here ourselves. The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens can support you in identifying and accessing land for a variety of projects (including training for buying the land). They are also the initiator of the Land Access Advisory Service, which offers documents for download and workshops, or can provide specific advice. 

Land Access Advisory Service

And here are some more links which might prove useful:

Growing Together

Farm Business Tenancy

Community asset transfer

Community Farm Land Trusts

Asset Transfer Unit

Community Land Advisory Service and

Incredible Edible Todmorden 

Stroud Common Wealth 

Community ownership assets 

3) Temporary: 'Meanwhile' use, Squatting, and Guerrilla Gardening

• 'Meanwhile' use 

This just means temporary use, and here we're assuming you'll be getting permission from the landowner. (Feed Leeds would not wish to encourage any use of land which would antagonise or deliver negative publicity for community urban agriculture).

There are lots of good reasons for establishing a temporary project - maybe it's just too good an opportunity to miss, or maybe it's a way to get a group together which can then move elsewhere when the plot is reclaimed by the developer or whoever. 'Meanwhile' sites often use movable planters, for obvious reasons, but they can also leave behind a productive legacy such as seeds in the soil, bees and fruit trees.

More information on meanwhile spaces




Land squatting is a bit more permanent, and is essentially the same as squatting a building. The official line is that it "isn’t in itself a crime, but trespassers on non-residential property may be committing other crimes. It’s normally a crime for a person to enter private property without permission and refuse to leave when the owner asks." So in theory, temporary land squatting might be made to work, as long as you're prepared to leave if asked.

The law on land squatting      

Squatting takes us into the more political issue of common rights.

Biodynamic Land Trust 


Planners network UK Manifesto for land reform in Britain 

The Food Commons project 

Localism Act – Community right to bid and Assets of community value 

Guerrilla Gardening 

This might be applied to any of the above, and it works on the principle that it can be easier to get forgiveness than permission (as Incredible Edible Todmorden proved across a whole town)! It usually involves growing on small patches of unused public land, and usually with a 'help yourself' harvesting policy.

More information on guerrilla gardening

Please advise of any broken links, or links you think should be included here