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Green Futures, a community growing project in Grimsby, is one of our food sustainability Community Champions.
The group aim to bring the local people together through gardening and other outdoor activities.
Carol Prendergast, Chief Executive Officer at Green Futures, said: “When Green Futures first began, it was a social enterprise focused on selling fruit and veg. We’ve moved the focus away from the fruit and veg and onto the people that come and volunteer, so now we’re a registered charity.”
The community growing project has three and a half acres to maintain, and operates with only three paid members of staff, making it reliant on volunteers.
Anyone can get involved, and those that are socially isolated, whether that be through unemployment, retirement or mental health issues, find it particularly beneficial.
“Due to Covid, we’ve seen that people have been leaving the house less. This means being able to be outside, do some gardening, meet other people and socialise in a really nice and safe environment is even more important,” explains Carol.
Green Futures also donates surplus fruit and vegetables to Oasis Community Hub South Grimsby, so that it can be distributed to families that need it through the food larder.
“When we’ve got loads of rhubarb, for instance, we’d take it over to the Hub, the family support workers then make a recipe for a nice crumble and put it in a bundle along with all the other ingredients they’ll need,” says Carol.
“It’s not just giving out free food, it’s showing what to do with it, how to cook it.”
The group works with the Hub to offer sessions for local children during school holidays, Carol adds.
“We encourage all the family to come; we have aunties, uncles, grandparents and kids from little babies to 18-year-olds. Everyone comes together!
“We try and promote cooking and eating lunch together and depending on the season we might even pick the produce ourselves too.”
These sessions are offered totally free of charge, which is something Carol believes is particularly important to families with larger numbers of children. In the upcoming year, they will be funded by our Community Champions scheme.
The project actively tries to encourage healthy eating habits amongst the youngsters, showing them where the food is grown, getting them involved in the process, and eventually asking them to try the produce. Carol says the children typically leave liking plenty more fruit and veg.
Aside from learning about growing and preparing food, the kids will also play games and study the local wildlife. It’s a great opportunity to learn in a way that’s both interactive and fun.
Carol says: “It’s a safe place where they can run, be free, pick apples off the trees, see frogs, listen to a story in the woods and just be outside - and they absolutely love it.”
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