Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

App app and away

The summer before last I commissioned the fresh, green loveliness we know as Landshare (www.landshare.net) from Keo Films and Mint Digital. It has now sprouted a verdant little app, currently featured on the App Store.

The Landshare website and campaign has sparked a nationwide revolution over the last year. It connects would-be growers of fruit and veg with people with land to share – and they share the produce.

There are currently 2 growers to every 1 plot offered and the new app is designed to enable the public to take action.

  • Councils will be held to legal task to provide allotments according to their statuary obligations
  • tens of thousands of acres of wasted, unproductive land around the UK is to be identified

The Landspotting function was an idea I originally came up with inspired by a long-empty plot at the end of my road, a wasted gap between the last house and a tyre workshop on the corner.

The app functionality includes:

  • using the camera with geolocating technology
  • giving users live access to expert growers for instant advice
  • extending accessibility and full integration of tools with social networks

The Landshare App is free

The app also gives users direct, on-the-move access to the core Landshare tools – extending its ability to match growers to land, through a postcode driven map and listing database, and more. Already, Landshare has seen more than 3,000 acres of land offered and matches in every region of the UK.

It has been cited by the House of Lords, New Local Government Network, the international Wikinomics team and most recently – the Food Ethics Council – as changing the landscape in food accessibility and security.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall spearheads Landshare and says of the new App: “Landshare has always been, literally, a ground-breaking initiative but now it’s set to really push the agenda. We know there are 100,000 people on council waiting lists in England alone, with up to 40 year waits, plus a significant amount of waiting lists that are actually closed! This app will ensure that councils can no longer shut the door to their legal duty to provide.

Landshare has been at the forefront of the debate on land use and accessibility – it is no longer acceptable to say that the land is not available because most of us pass derelict land in our travels every day. By bringing attention to the scale of space that is already on our doorsteps with “LandSpot”, we hope to help enable this potential to be realised and for much more land to be made fertile.”

The Landshare app launched on Friday (6th August 2010) and can be downloaded free at www.landshare.net/iphoneapp

Users without iPhones can also make use of the new tools at www.landshare.net

Some Landshare facts & figures:

  • Landshare is a movement of more than 50,000 people – and it’s growing daily.
  • The idea came out of Channel 4’s River Cottage, when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall helped some Bristol families grow food on disused council land.
  • More than 100,000 people are on waiting lists for local authority allotments in England.
  • An estimated 16% of council waiting lists in England are closed.
  • Despite having a legal duty to provide allotments, some 12% of councils do not know what the status of their waiting lists is.
  • The Local Government Association reckon that 200,000 allotments have disappeared in the last 30 years
  • 6 million people in Britain are estimated to be interested in an allotment.
  • There is 60,000 acres of unused rooftop space in London alone.
  • There is an estimated 80,000 acres of official derelict land in England.
  • In Scotland, more than 44% of derelict land is in urban areas.
  • Landshare addresses concern among policy makers about future food security and greenhouse gases from industrial farming and food miles.
  • Landshare was recently cited in “Food Justice: The report of the Food and Fairness Inquiry” published July 2010
  • It’s one of the best things I’ve commissioned at C4.

And the last word to a happy customer on the App Store: “this app literally changed my life”.

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