FOOD UP FRONT.
Food Up Front Elderfield, a new community food enterprise situated in Otterbourne, is getting ready for an exciting 2016 with the support of the Ideal Collection, proprietors of the White Horse Otterbourne.
The enterprise has been founded by Winchester resident and food activist Seb Mayfield with the aims to produce food for the local community, provide training and volunteering opportunities and coordinate horticultural therapy programmes.
The site owners, Langley House Trust, a charity that supports ex-offenders and people at risk of offending, used to run the site as a horticultural enterprise until about 10 years ago, growing produce and flowers which were then sold to local residents. Since then it has been largely unused but the infrastructure, including 6 poly tunnels, remains in place.
Seb visited Elderfield in 2014 when undertaking a project for Winchester Basics Bank. He was blown away by the potential of the site. Since then, along with other volunteers, he has worked hard to develop the space into a community food enterprise that shortens the food supply chain and gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to benefit from the space.
The project secured various grants to help with development, including £1,000 from Communities First Wessex as a result of the ‘Have Your Say’ public vote. It has also recently been selected as one of 10 projects in the UK to receive support from a national funding programme called Just Growth.
The project has also received support from local people and organisations. Steve Brine MP has been along to meet Seb and learn more about the project and a number of local agencies are interested in referring volunteers. Otterbourne Parish Council has also been supportive as they would like to see a return to the days when local residents could buy produce from Elderfield.
Thanks to a developing partnership with the White Horse Otterbourne, the opportunity for local people to purchase produce from the project is getting closer. A regular market stall at the front of the pub is planned for early spring 2016 enabling local residents to purchase delicious, fresh vegetables.
The White Horse will also be supporting the project with a number of fundraising activities, including a focused campaign throughout December with the aim of helping Food Up Front: Elderfield purchase much needed storage for the project’s equipment.
Meanwhile, Food Up Front: Elderfield is on the look-out for more volunteers. Apart from helping with the ongoing practical on-site activities, including seed sowing and weeding, there are also jobs to be done like helping with fundraising, marketing, volunteer co-ordination and running the market stall once it gets up and running.
If you are interested in helping out then contact Seb Mayfield at email@example.com. For updates on the project search for Food Up Front Elderfield on Facebook.