A South Yorkshire social enterprise is encouraging allotment holders in Rotherham to donate their produce – and even grow a bit extra – to help feed hungry families.
Food AWARE has been putting up posters to let growers know where they can drop off surplus food to supply their local food banks.
It manages four across South Yorkshire, including one in Maltby in Rotherham which is open every Wednesday.
Sean Gibbons, Managing Director of Food AWARE said: “[Allotment holders] are growing a lot of locally grown food and it’s fresh. But it’s also too much.
“So we’re trying to tap into that growing capacity and seeing how they can help people less fortunate.”
Food AWARE is now looking to work with Rotherham and Doncaster local authorities to see how they can co-ordinate a bigger effort ahead of harvest festival next year.
But allotment holders have gone further than just donating surplus produce.
“Some have said ‘great, I’ve been growing on here for 20-30 years, I’m happy to grow an extra row of cabbages, potatoes, onions’, whatever it is, specifically for Food AWARE and our food banks.”
Food AWARE was established in 2008 to combat food waste and food poverty, and work to redistribute food donated by supermarkets and other suppliers into needy areas, as well as educate people about eating healthily and making food last longer.
It now feeds 1500 people a week in its food banks and through food drop-offs delivered by churches, schools and the British Red Cross.
Unlike many other food banks, Food AWARE supplies perishable food.
Gibbons said: “Our food banks are more flexible and it’s a more balanced offering. We offer fruit and veg.
“With our food parcel you’d be able to make three or four healthy snacks or meals.”