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#XF4D: Exchange Fresh 4 Donations

Gardeners can help local food banks by asking our friends and neighbours to make a food bank donation in exchange for garden produce we share.

Summer is when gardens burst with fresh produce. It’s a time of joy when we gardeners see the fruits of our efforts. Share garden bounty with neighbours and friends is part of that joy. This year, more than ever, sharing food with others can make a real difference.

It’s been a tough year. Many in our communities are struggling financially. Food banks are battling to cope. Gardeners can help our wider communities with our surplus fresh vegetables? We could donate our fresh vegetables to food banks? While that sounds great, it may not be the best way to help. But your fresh vegetables can still make a difference.

Some food bank users struggle with fresh vegetables. With the high cost of energy, many can’t afford the overhead of cooking fresh vegetables from scratch. Or they don’t have access to cooking facilities. Microwaving a jacket potato takes ten minutes of costly electricity. And some food banks already receive the unsold fresh veg from supermarkets. So how can our garden bounty help others in need?

Instead of donating your surplus garden veg directly to food banks, why not ask the friends and neighbours who accept your garden surplus to make a food bank donation in return? Ask them to pop a few tins into the food bank collection bin at the local supermarket. This way, gardeners’ food is eaten with relish by friends and neighbours, food banks receive tinned goods they can share with ease and people struggling have easily prepared food.

A few of the volunteers at Egino Emerging gardens are food bank users and live in temporary shared homeless accommodation. We see first hand the struggles of the socially excluded. And we also see the happiness of friends who gratefully share in our garden’s bounty. Months of hard work reclaiming disused space to grow vegetables is rewarded with a smile when a visitor receives a handful of freshly dug potatoes. By creating connections of growers and donators, we help the environment and the community by growing and sharing.

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