At Lee Greens not only do we love seasonal, organic, fresh veg that minimises packaging and supports small farmers we also hate food waste. In these current times when sourcing food has additional barriers we are even more conscious of the value of the produce we are able to get.
Vegetables don’t naturally come in neat uniform packages that make packing up individual bags simple. The vegetables we order are often sold by weight not item and in pre-set amounts. This means that there is sometimes a small surplus of some vegetables at the end of the weekly pack. In addition, customers will sometimes choose to donate their bags or there will be uncollected bags that need to be cleared away. So what do we do with these?
The Lee Greens Customer FaceBook group was set up to link people that couldn’t collect their bags and those able to offer help. The use of the group has shown lovely community spirit and enabled regular customers to still enjoy their fresh vegetables.
Previously we had a regular arrangement with AFRIL’s Foodbank that helps 20 vulnerable refugees, people seeking asylum and their families with food parcels. Covid -19 restrictions means the Foodbank is not open at the moment and AFRIL’s clients are currently being supported either closer to where they live or with monetary contributions.
We have identified other beneficiaries of donated and surplus vegetables during this time. The amount we have varies weekly as does the number of people we help. So far we have been able to assist some of the local refugee families, single parent families who could not afford the produce otherwise, volunteers who cannot work at the moment and NHS staff. All of this has been possible with extra commitment from our drivers and volunteers who have links with the community. As much notice as you can give us of any donations is useful as co-ordinating where and how it is distributed whilst it is still fresh is then easier.
Stay safe, wash your hands and your veg!
By Sonja Goosen, Lee Greens Community Liaison