Community given food for thought

A food project based in inner city Liverpool is set to inspire local residents.

The ‘Toxteth Produce’ project, run by Squash Nutrition,  will work with the community to promote food growing in communal gardens and other outdoor spaces through a variety of approaches; providing people with the inspiration, enthusiasm and tools to transform their own gardens, verges and window ledges into food producing spaces.

It has been made possible thanks to a £180,000 grant from Local Food, a £59.8 million programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund, which provides funding for projects working to make local food more accessible and affordable to communities. 

 The development of three community food gardens at under-used or neglected sites in the Toxteth area will allow local residents, who perhaps do not have access to a garden, the opportunity to grow their own food and an Eden-project style geo-desic ‘Solar Dome’ greenhouse will also be installed to create a warmer growing environment for extended-season, world-food growing.

 There will also be a pop-up kitchen on the pod so locals can learn how to cook what they grow.

Local residents will also have access to a community Seed-share collection, being developed through the project at  Toxteth Library which will offer a free heritage seed swap and share scheme.

The project will also employ a ‘Produce Pod’ (pictured) – an electrically powered multi-purpose mobile unit – to deliver sessions across the area as well as a mobile allotment which will help to teach residents all about growing wherever they are.

The Pod will be formerly launched at the Mid-summer Mash-up Community Food Event in Toxteth, on Friday 21 June when the community will help choose his/her name! The event will be a great opportunity for local residents to come along, taste and grow local food and find out how they can get involved!

 Clare Owens, Squash Nutrition Co-Director, said:”In Toxteth there is a huge potential for families to grow their own food as some have small gardens and yards. Our team will hit the streets on the Produce Pod to provide people with the help, support, tools and skills to make best use of the spaces around them. There is incredible potential to achieve great things and the time is ripe.”

 Mark Wheddon, Local Food Programme Manager, said: “Projects like this have a wide and lasting impact on the community and we are delighted to support them. Our scheme is about promoting the benefits of locally-grown food, and this project demonstrates how these can stretch beyond just healthy eating to giving people the opportunity to get involved with growing their own food and learning about where it comes from.”