Sustainable food enterprises connecting communities
Building strong links means building varied links
University of Exeter, Exeter VegShare
Vegetable bag scheme Exeter VegShare has grown with the ambition of becoming a campus-based, student-led, community-supported agriculture scheme. The team is made up of volunteers from the student, postgraduate, and university staff communities, and has strong relationships with local produce suppliers. They also have two growing sites to supplement the content of their fresh, local, organic veg bags' which are very popular with students and staff! Community links are central to the project's ethos, and they have strengthened these relationships by co-hosting events with VegShare produce, supporting synergistic campaigns, and providing volunteers for farm open days.
Community includes local birds, too!
Wiltshire College's apple juice enterprise
Sourcing apples from their orchards, this project has great links with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust,
"We have started our apple juice enterprise by picking our organic Bramley apples from the venerable old trees in the Roundway Community Orchard in Devizes. We are starting from the ground up and putting down strong roots by engaging with learners who have not had the best experiences in education so far. Everyone loved being in the orchard, making tea and attempting to climb trees as well as being trained to use the specialised apple-picking equipment we acquired with some of our Student Eats grant money. There was a scramble to shake the trees and put the largest, rosiest apples into our baskets. We are proud of our efforts to save the apples from mouldering on the ground, taking care to allow some of the windfalls to remain hidden in the long grass to provide much-needed sustenance for the visiting Redwing birds as they fly on their way home."
Developing well-integrated partnerships
University of Leeds' apple juice enterprise
This enterprise, which sources apples from the local spaces, has organised a series of events in partnership with the community group Leeds Urban Harvest in order to maximise their impact. They've ensured a positive and sustainable working relationship by collaborating with Leeds Urban Harvest at all stages: leafletting tree owners, picking the apples, and juicing!
Connecting people through food
The Gastro Hub at Canterbury Christ Church University
This community food initiative aims to connect people through sustainable food, cooking, conversation and experiential communal dining experiences. It reduces food waste and carbon emissions by preventing surplus food from going to landfill through community-led infrastructure to divert and transform this food into shared meals. The Gastro Hub is all about community; their launch event took place during the Folkestone Triennial last year, in an art installation with a 'soup supper at sunset'! The produce for cooking was donated through friendly partnerships with local organisations: 64kg of surplus food was diverted from landfill, 40 meals were served and £150 was received in donations via the 'pay as you feel' model."