A new scheme to get Keighley people growing food could also grow new jobs in the town.

Organisers of Let’s Grow Keighley hope the increase in food production will also help local people’s health blossom.

They believe the initiative – still at the nursery stage – could provide a wide-ranging harvest of environmental benefits.

A public meeting will be held on October 7 to nurture interest among Keighley people and share ideas.

Key themes include growing food on unused urban land, developing a local food market for home-based growers and starting small businesses in woodland.

Let’s Grow Keighley is led by Richard Dillon, of the Co-operative Members, Pippa Chapman, from environmental group Transition Keighley, and Keighley West ward councillor, Jan Smithies.

Coun Smithies said: “We could grow our local economy through a wide range of community and business initiatives, and grow local health and well-being.”

Coun Smithies wanted to expand on the successful planting of vegetables in former flowerbeds outside the old Keighley College in North Street, as reported on by the Keighley News last week.

She said fruit and vegetables could be grown in various other locations, improving the look of scrubland, supplying food banks and providing sources of nectar for bees.

Coun Smithies added: “All round Keighley there are examples of people growing their own fruit and vegetables, or keeping a few hens, a sheep or a beehive.

“Many local schools encourage the pupils to contribute to school-based growing areas.

“A local food market would help connect growers to buyers. There are lots of opportunities to build on what is already going on.”

Coun Smithies said another idea – increasing tree planting and expanding woodlands – could create jobs while helping prevent flooding.

She added: “There are openings for expansion of planting for coppicing, local charcoal and other woodland small businesses.”

Coun Smithies also suggested the manufacture of jam and sloe gin, and the sourcing of biomass to provide alternative energy.

The public meeting will be held from 4pm to 5.30pm at Keighley Healthy Living Centre at 13 Scott Street.