Hidden Harvest: fighting food waste and feeding the local community

By Emma Dance

26th Aug 2022 | Local Features

The Walled Garden at Mells is spearheading a new campaign to reduce food waste and help to tackle hunger in the local community. Homeowners with nut and fruit trees in their gardens are being encouraged to sign up to a community harvesting scheme. The project is simple: volunteers pick food that would otherwise go to waste, and share it amongst local people in need.

With prices soaring, many people are struggling to afford food; local charities and food banks have described an 'unprecedented' rise in demand. At the same time, plenty of fresh, healthy and delicious food is going to waste because we're unable to harvest it. Hidden Harvest aims to help solve these two problems, connecting teams of volunteers with homeowners who are too busy, or unable, to harvest the plants in their garden.

This project is perfect for anyone who, for any reason, needs a bit of extra help picking the fruit or nuts growing in their garden. Being Somerset, there will be a lot of apple trees out there but if you have anything different or a bit unusual, the Walled Garden would love to hear from you

Once harvested, the crops will be shared between the homeowner, the volunteers and the wider community. Hidden Harvest works with local food banks and community fridges to ensure that your produce will go to those who need it. Some of the fruit will also be made into jams and chutneys to be sold in local shops, as a way to raise money for the project.

The Walled Garden is looking for volunteers to help with coordination and fruit picking, working with the Avon Gleaning Network. This can be a great opportunity to get outdoors, make a positive change in the community, and take home some tasty food at the end of the day. They are also looking to talk with anyone who runs a community kitchen and may want to help them turn some produce into products with a shelf life

If you're interested in volunteering with Hidden Harvest, or would like to offer your garden, contact the Walled Garden at Mells at [email protected] or sign up via the website:

www.thewalledgardenatmells.co.uk/hiddenharvest

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