Chefs and restaurateurs have long been making use of their locale, adopting seasonality and sustainability, but the pandemic has amplified the cause
By Josh Barrie
June 25, 2021
The Landing, a kitchen garden on the roof of a Stockport car park, is full to the brim with ‘ruffled soul’. That’s a lettuce and a sentiment. What was a grey, disused space above a shopping centre was transformed over lockdown into an urban allotment, where Korean cabbages bloom in wooden planters and the scent of fennel fills the air.
In the gutters are Alpine strawberries, sweet with early summer, and beneath a series of trellis panels, which sit in front of a 1960s glass roof and a Primark store behind, are spiralling fig leaves and chubby broad beans.
Building The Landing was the work of Sam Buckley and his team at Where The Light Gets In (WTLGI), his award-winning restaurant on the other side of town. Hospitality closed, Buckley struck a “very good deal” with the local council to lease the space and went about carting 20,000 tonnes of compost by wheelbarrow, navigating the car park’s winding roads to the roof.
“It took 15 days for us to do it,” Buckley tells me. “We were chipping away in lockdown and building the structures and planters. It was a lot of work. But we’d sit and admire everything after and have a box of ice-cold beers.”
Though still unfinished, the garden is blossoming, and beetroots, berries, artichokes and more have already been harvested for the chef’s reopened restaurant. Soon, in the greenhouse, there are plans for lemons, curry leaves and melons.
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