‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way!’, by Sara Venn of Incredible Edible Bristol.
Over this challenging year at Incredible Edible Bristol, we changed how we work to ensure the growing spaces we could access were as productive as possible. In the face of a food crisis not seen across the country since WW2, our core team of community gardeners set about growing as much food as possible and getting it to communities where food access had suddenly become more of a challenge than ever before.
In our different gardens, we tailored the crops knowing that the communities they support have very different needs. In one space we know from working with the community that they love fresh runner beans, carrots and cabbages, broad beans in early summer, and peas for as much of the year as possible! Most of this food went to those who were shielding or was used in soup and was delivered to the vulnerable families and individuals in the area. We did this by co-ordinating with both the local community centre, who were doing collective shopping for those unable to do their own for whatever reason, and the local food bank.
In other gardens we focused on getting food to individuals at risk of hunger and vulnerable families by collaborating with people who would prepare the vegetables and then deliver the produce, but to very different communities. Bristol has 91 languages and therefore 91 food cultures so we concentrated on a slightly more diverse harvest. Different squash, patty pans, spinach, oriental greens, chillies and garlic along with corn and kale were split between 5 organisations all cooking for people unable to get out or to access the foods they needed. Being able to offer this produce for free gave a boost to organisations already struggling to keep producing what they knew was needed for their communities.
We are often asked about how we ensure food gets to the people who needed it, and we would always advise finding an organisation who provide hot meals to the community and give them the resources to do what they do!
Our growing challenge was supported by Dalefoot who kindly provided us with some Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads and some Lakeland Gold following the Garden Press event in March, which really supported us to mulch areas we had not used before and led to us ordering 2 tonnes of their vegetables and salad compost for what then became our main space! You can see some of the results.
If you’d like to donate to Incredible Edible Bristol, there is a donation button on our home page ediblebristol.org.uk
Or if you would prefer to support a national organisation or a charity local to your area, Sara suggests looking for your local Fareshare who will put you in touch with organisations who will welcome both food and cash!!
Sara Venn Incredible Edible Bristol and Juliet Fossey, Staff Writer, Dalefoot Composts.