In CropDrop's third season, we supported more direct links.
Five B&NES allotment sites (Lower Common East, Bloomfield, Monksdale, Combe Down and Keynsham) were matched and directly linked with 5 affordable food projects (Mercy in Action, Bath MIND, Southside Community Café, Threeways School and Keynsham Children's Centre FOOD Club).
Two further links, from Combe Down to BAPP and from Keynsham Allotments to the Community Fridge, needed an additional volunteer driver to transport the produce.
All these links shared surplus fresh, locally grown produce weekly.
Our Somer Valley co-ordinator moved to work on other projects in 2022, which has meant that connections between allotments and projects in the Somer Valley have not been progressed to their potential.
We increased the number of allotments sites to 8 and the food projects to 9, with 11 connections - see the 2023 Drops Infographic document.
An example of the positive benefits these links create is between Threeways School and Combe Down allotments. After each donation, the co-ordinating teacher wrote to the allotmenteers thanking them and sharing photos of what the pupils made with the produce.
Donations from the allotments increased, the school were invited to visit the allotment, the allotmenteers were invited to visit the Threeways café. As a result of the closer working relationship, this year, 6th formers from Threeways have collected the produce directly from the allotments.
After developing links with ROOTS allotments, we were inspired to commission 3 sets of wooden donation shelves, which have been installed at two large allotment sites and provide a space protected from weather and foraging animals. These have already encouraged more produce donations.
The Avon Gleaning Network has worked with CropDrop when gleaning from farms and growers in B&NES. We share food project details to maximise the number of projects which can benefit from the gleaned produce in the LA area. For example we split the pumpkin bounty from two Pumpkin Patches. The Avon Gleaning Network collected and distributed surplus pumpkins from Farringtons Farm to Somer Valley projects. CropDrop collected and distributed pumpkins from Newton Farm to Bath projects.
Mapping our reach
Explore our connections made between grower and recipient in Bath, Keynsham and Somer Valley in this interactive map. Select a region from the available buttons above the map to zoom to that location.
Our plans for 2024
Our aims moving into the new year include:
To connect more allotments with food projects, especially on the east side of Bath
To seed growing knowledge and confidence into areas like Twerton and Whiteway, by collaborating with the Twerton & Whiteway Network and Bath City Farm.