Sowing the seeds for a healthier community
A new community food growing project opened on Wednesday 27 October at Aylesbury Vineyard Storehouse to provide own grown fruit and vegetables at one of the town’s main foodbanks. The project, called ‘Grow It, Cook It, Eat It’, is a partnership between Buckinghamshire Council’s Public Health service, Aylesbury Garden Town and Storehouse. It brings together local volunteers to run the garden and grow fresh produce that can be shared through the foodbank.
The community garden was officially opened by Councillor Bill Chapple OBE, Vice Chairman of the Aylesbury Garden Town Board and Councillor Anders Christensen, Town Mayor. It coincided with a Community Family Lunch event at the Vineyard Church, where local people had the chance to see the garden and the impressive range of fruit and vegetables that are already coming through, including tomatoes, peppers, leeks and more.
Councillor Chapple commented, “It’s fantastic to see everyone coming together for the launch of the garden at Storehouse. We hope that many local people will get involved, as community food growing has so many benefits. Not only is it great for keeping active in the fresh air and giving your mental health a boost, but it connects people together, creating closer-knit neighbourhoods in Aylesbury”
Getting the garden established on a piece of rough ground to the side of the foodbank’s offices proved quite a challenge, as it had to be completely cleared and revamped before raised beds and a pathway could be put in. Dave Furze from charity Community Grow, worked with a team from Community Payback to do this, with support from a team of staff volunteers from the new Sainsbury’s Gatehouse store.
Adam Townsend, Foodbank Manager at Aylesbury Vineyard Storehouse said, “We’re really grateful to everyone who’s helped get the garden up and running. It’s fantastic to be able to offer our foodbank clients fresh produce that’s grown here on site and they can also get involved with growing and cooking it too and learning new skills.”
The garden is the first of five ‘Grow It, Cook It, Eat It’ projects to be rolled out across the county by Buckinghamshire Council. The scheme is open to anyone who’d like to take part, improving access to healthy, nutritious food and also offering classes in how to prepare and cook fruit and vegetables.
Councillor Angela Macpherson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said, “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen many more people across Bucks dealing with hardship and increased food poverty, leading to a major impact on mental health and social isolation. ‘Grow It, Cook It, Eat It’ helps tackle some of these challenges, giving communities the chance to grow food sustainably together and encouraging healthy eating. We’re delighted to be working with Storehouse and Aylesbury Garden Town on our first community food growing project and look forward to launching others very soon.”
Anyone interested in getting involved in the ‘Grow It, Cook It, Eat It’ project at Storehouse should contact email@example.com