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SOLIHULL VOLUNTEERS GROW FRESH FRUIT AND VEG TO HELP THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

The opening of the new allotment is the latest community project supported by the Lode Lane factory, which aims to provide fresh produce for people in need of food who live in the Solihull and Birmingham area.

The team is working alongside Gro-Organic, who create green spaces to provide social and economic opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged people in the region, to help make a real difference in the community.

A team of volunteers overhauled the plot last winter, by clearing overgrowth, installing a polytunnel and raised beds in preparation for its first full year harvest.

The allotment will grow a range of fruit and vegetables including runner beans and raspberries, with the produce accompanying advice and recipes in seasonal food boxes. These will be distributed through a number of food banks, including – the Real Junk Food Project, Free Food Friday and the Incredible Edible Network.

There is also a hand-built earth oven at the allotment, where beneficiaries can enjoy the produce as soon as it is picked.

Dave Owen, Solihull’s Operations Director, said he was saddened to read that more than 100,000 children in Birmingham live in food poverty, adding:

“When the opportunity came to expand our partnership with Gro-Organic and create a community allotment, I knew the whole team would want to support it.

“This project provides an ideal opportunity to support the education, health and wellbeing of our workforce, while providing enough fresh, seasonal produce for 400 meals in its first year.”

This new allotment will also bring a wealth of wellbeing and education opportunities with it. A new work experience programme call ‘Moat-ivation’, aimed at 16 to 24-year-olds, will help improve their employability prospects and allow participants to gain a qualification in horticulture and landscaping.