By Valerie Hart
FareShare Sussex is working in partnership with Nurture through Nature to grow fresh vegetables on a new allotment in Moulsecoomb and deliver them on electric bike to its charity members in the area. Moulsecoomb and Bevendean is an area within Brighton & Hove listed on the government’s index of multiple deprivation.
The refrigerated electric cargo bike will sustainably deliver this food via Bevendean Foodbank and Moulsecoomb Food Club. FareShare Sussex will be working with local communities to make this happen, by providing volunteering and employment training opportunities.
Nurture Through Nature is a charity that has been growing and supplying vegetables for food banks and community centres throughout Brighton & Hove since 2011. They also collect and distribute surplus produce from other allotment growers, which cuts down food waste.
This will be Nurture Through Nature’s fourth allotment plot. Currently neglected, this plot has the capability of producing good quality food once renovated.
We are very passionate about supporting food banks. Having been a social worker for 20 years, food banks were always something on the agenda. It’s only until fairly recently that food banks have really been accepted and some wouldn’t accept them unless the parcels were from supermarkets.
By working together on this project we will increase the amount of vegetables we source and streamline our joint distribution to people living in food poverty.Head gardener Nick Blewitt
This project will initially run for nine months, having started in March 2021 in line with the growing season.
Based at Moulsecoomb Estate Allotments, Nurture through Nature runs food-growing groups twice a week. They encourage volunteers from the local area, including those who are unemployed or socially isolated, involving them in planning the plot over the growing season.
They teach volunteers skills in horticulture whilst building their self-esteem and employability. Some go on to undertake further training at the local college and develop careers in gardening. An example is Simon O’Grady who has gone on to train in horticulture and now works as a gardener when he is not supporting the volunteer sessions.
In normal times, they would have up to 10 volunteers per plot, which fell to three during lockdown. Now they average four to five volunteers per plot, which enables them to get all the work done.
They grow a whole range of vegetables on their other three plots and have begun planting on the new one.
“Because this new plot had been neglected for a long time, we need to develop its infrastructure by installing raised beds, adding good quality top soil and installing an irrigation system for watering,” says Nick.
In conclusion Nick says:
“We really like working with FareShare Sussex as we are aligned in what we do. Also, all the food grown here will be delivered by their electric cargo bike, which fits with our value system as it will add very little to our carbon footprint.”