Families across Knowsley will be tucking into freshly grown vegetables, thanks to a partnership between local growing charity Incredible Edible and Knowsley Foodbank.
In the true spirit of Knowsley Better Together, the charity has donated crops of vegetables, including courgettes, carrots, cucumbers and spring onions – all grown at its base at Court Hey Park in Huyton – to Knowsley Foodbank to be included in food parcels for families facing hardship during the Coronavirus crisis.
And there’s more delicious fresh produce its way to the Foodbank as Incredible Edible is about to harvest even more crops, including tomatoes, peppers, onions, peas, beans, melons and sweetcorn in the coming weeks.
In recent months Knowsley Foodbank has been working in partnership with the council’s Covid 19 Community Support and Volunteer Line to distribute food parcels to people and families in need. As well as arranging food parcels for the borough’s ‘shielded’ medically vulnerable group, the foodbank is distributing provisions to those who are self-isolating without support from family or friends, and those facing financial hardship.
In addition to the donations of produce, Incredible Edible has also been supporting people to ‘grow their own’ during the Coronavirus lockdown, distributing thousands of vegetable plant seedlings across Knowsley.
Volunteers and community leaders have helped distribute the seedlings to households, schools, nurseries, supported accommodation, mental health units, hospitals and community groups. Funding from The Steve Morgan Foundation, LCR Care and Awesome Liverpool has enabled Incredible Edible to continue with the donations of seedlings throughout the pandemic.
Karen Mower, Director of Incredible Edible Knowsley, said: “Feedback from the community on this has been absolutely fantastic and people have said how much this has helped them during lock down. It has not only helped people with their mental health, but many are amazed at how they have grown their own vegetables having never done this before, and are taking it up as a hobby.”
After lockdown it’s hoped this initiative will lead the way to people setting up their own community growing groups, while Incredible Edible will continue with the seedling donations, as well as running free horticulture courses at Court Hey Park in partnership with Mysercough College.
None of this was thought possible at the beginning of the year when the site was attacked by vandals and much of the site was left in ruins. A successful Community Action Day was organised earlier this year when more than 130 people from many businesses and organisations came together to carry out repairs and work on site.
Karen added: “This action day put us ahead of schedule by months, and without this amazing support we may have not been able to achieve what we have over the lock down. Support from the council and our community leaders has been vital in ensuring our recovery.”
Councillor Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “At a time of national crisis such as this, it’s heart-warming to see local organisations such as Incredible Edible Knowsley thinking about how they can support our community through these difficult times – both the wider community with the seedling donations as well as support for the Foodbank and those worst affected by the outbreak.
“Incredible Edible’s ethos of nurturing a community interest in growing food, improving health though teaching how to prepare and cook vegetables, as well as eradicating food poverty through distribution of food grown in community gardens, is inspiring under normal circumstances, but under present conditions is more valuable than ever before.”
The council’s Community Support and Volunteer Line can be contacted on 0800 073 0043, 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and 10am-2pm at weekends.