This week, The Plot, a new initiative growing organic fruit, vegetables and herbs in North Lancashire, based at Old Holly Farm near Garstang, has launched its first ever cropshare scheme for members of the public.
The scheme provides 29 weekly, local, seasonal boxes, containing at least 6 different vegetables each, at a cost of £13 per week, and it aims to promote healthy, sustainable eating, and support local regenerative farmers.
There are 30 places available, with sign up available now, and vegetable boxes will be available for a 30 week period from the week commencing 18th April up until the week commencing 7th November (June 3rd is skipped.)
As well growing organic produce, The Plot's FarmStrart training programme also trains new growers who want to set up their own enterprises to produce local food, so by buying a vegetable box, you are also supporting future growers.
The Plot is coordinated by LESS, a non-profit registered community interest company based in Lancaster, in partnership with FoodFutures and the FoodFriends small society lottery.
The coordinator of The Plot at LESS, Ellen Pearce, said: "LESS is committed to supporting people to live locally and sustainably and to help communities respond to the climate emergency. We saw at the beginning of the pandemic how fragile the global food system is with shortages and disruption.
"Our vision is to produce more healthy food locally with less transport and packaging and without harmful chemicals. We also want to train more people to be able to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
"We set up the Plot at Old Holly Farm last year to provide veg to customers, shops and cafes in the local area. Our plans are to take on more land this season, and increase the amount of veg we are growing.’
"If you don’t grow your own veg, but want to eat local, seasonal produce, our crop-share is perfect for you! Each week we pick and share the harvest, going from field to your home in a matter of hours. Some of last season’s most popular items were our stunning heritage tomatoes, our pretty pink candy-cane beetroot, our early season peas and the autumnal orange squash and pumpkins.
"As a crop-sharer, you also support our vision and project. By committing to buy your veg from us all season, you help us to plan our crops and become part of our community."
The produce is grown at Old Holly Farm near Garstang and at White Lund between Lancaster and Morecambe, and The Plot say that all their produce is grown to the principles of the organic certification standards, with the Old Holly farm's produce even being organically certified.
There are three payment options for the cropshare; £26 every two weeks, £53 every month or £370 one time payment, and four weeks notice is required if you plan to leave the scheme after signing up.
Users can collect their boxes directly from the site at Old Holly Farm (PR3 1AA) at 4pm, or from the two collection points in Lancaster, LA1 5BH or LA1 3JE, at 6pm, every Friday.
The Plot will provide instructions about how to do this once you sign up, and they ask users to please collect your box as soon as possible, before 3pm Monday at the latest.
As part of the cropshare scheme, the Plot want to grow a community alongside vegetables, so will send regular updates and a newsletter about events you can join on site.
To find out more about the scheme a full information pack for cropsharers can be found on their website, where you can also sign up.