Allotment owners donate produce to Norwich foodbank
A partnership between a Norwich allotment and a city foodbank is enabling people to get fresh produce they would not otherwise receive through a foodbank box.
Green fingered gardeners at Spixworth Road allotment in Old Catton have been making the most of bumper summer crops and donating their excess produce to the Oak Grove Chapel Foodbank in Catton Grove.
Liz Barnard, 77, who has had her allotment at the Spixworth site for five years said the idea to donate surplus produce came about after she noticed how much extra fruit and vegetables allotment owners were producing during the productive summer months.
She said: "I was very aware that there were lots of people who were putting out overgrown courgettes so I talked to other allotment owners [about the idea] and everyone was really enthusiastic about it so I got in touch with the food bank."
Ms Barnard said the allotment owners had donated a range of produce to the food bank, including everything from gooseberries to potatoes, raspberries and french beans.
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She said: "It's a really productive time of year and a lot of people are donating their produce out of generosity.
"I think it's a brilliant idea, any arrangement which enables one group of citizens to help another in these hard times has got to be encouraged and what is more basic than food? The supermarkets are doing their bit - now is our chance as growers to do ours."
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Hilary Butcher, 69, a volunteer at the Oak Grove Chapel foodbank said it was lovely to be able to offer people fresh produce, she said: "We have only done it for a few weeks so it's all still quite new but it's lovely, people are really grateful.
"It's a relationship we would like to continue and they are wonderful people, it's really lovely that people are prepared to help us."
Ms Butcher explained that foodbank boxes often only contained products with a long shelf-life such as tinned goods so it was nice to be able to offer people fresh produce.
"There are certain things people cannot get so it's nice to be able to give people fresh produce. You don't get any vegetables in the boxes because it's not possible to keep produce, so it's lovely."
Oak Grove Chapel foodbank is run by volunteers from Oak Grove community church, every Tuesday it distributes foodbank boxes and offers members of the community and foodbank clients a home cooked meal.