Over 1,000 kilograms of Canterbury grown fruit has been saved from going to waste and has fed those in need across Southeast London, thanks to a group of volunteer pickers.
In total 49 people from The Felix Project, The Hythe Environmental Community Group (HEGC) and Deal With It, spent a day at Hoaden Court Farm and picked a total of 862kg of plums and 155kg of cherries.
Each of the voluntary organisations took the amount of fruit they wanted to support the local Kent charities they work with.
The Felix Project, London’s largest food redistribution charity, saves surplus food that would usually end up being wasted or going to landfill. Instead, they deliver it to over 1,000 community organisations, foodbanks and schools across the capital, to help people in need.
The Felix Project sent volunteers from London over to Kent to help pick the fruit. Crates were taken straight to the charity’s depots in Deptford and Enfield in London and shared out amongst local London community groups and foodbanks.
Kate Brookes-Smith, Supply Co-ordinator at the The Felix Project, was one of the volunteers. She said: “Farm rescue volunteering days are not only a huge amount of fun, but they are also vital because of the sheer amount of food we rescue for those facing hunger. So many people are struggling with the rising price of food and, for many people, fruit - such as cherries and plums - are seen as luxury items they cannot afford. So, getting this fresh, delicious and locally grown fruit in their deliveries will have been hugely welcomed.”
HEGC and Deal With It are both local community groups working hard to minimise their areas impact on the environment and ensure they are more sustainable.
Chris Turnbull is from The Hythe Environmental Community Group said: “It was great to see so many people volunteering. Gleaning, which means collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested, is a huge part of what HEGC does, it saves so much food from going to waste and really helps the farmer. Both groups are regular visitors to Hoaden Court Farm, and once again it was a very satisfying day. I am thrilled the cherries and plums we picked will be feeding so many disadvantaged adults and children in need.”
Some of the places the fruit was sent to locally included: Catford Fridge, Evelyn Community Store, FoodCycle Lewisham, New Cross Road Baptists Church, Sierra Leonean Adventists Abroad, Higher Ground, South Norwoood Community Kitchen, UCKG Croydon, UCKG HelpCentre – Catford, UCKG Soup Kitchen (Peckham) and Victory Care