Veg Bags from Rhubarb Farm
Rhubarb Farm opened the veg bag scheme to new members as from July. Like last year, the demand will be high and we have a limit on the bags we can supply. Download the Joining Pack and get all the forms filled in and returned to Sharon as detailed on the forms. This is the only bureaucracy - after that it's a case of collecting your weekly bag full of delicious and sometimes unusual veg. All existing customers can automatically renew their membership.
Our veg bag customers who have been CSA members since we started the bags in July 2012, were asked for their comments about the veg bags they receive.
Here are two of them:
Fab fresh mix of tasty veg with the soil still on it, it's as if I picked it myself!!
We have been enjoying the veg bags very much! It's hard to know where to start with the positive comments as there are so many! It's fresh local and organic; very affordable and always contains a good selection of veg to last the week. The whole family has tried new things and I now plan meals around what veg is in season. The children have been curious to see what fresh from the farm looks like and enjoyed shelling the peas in the summer but few made it into the pan! I like the recipe suggestions too. The bag always contains the basics, cabbage carrots potatoes and so much more. It's great to know the project is doing so much to help the local community too. I'm really looking forward to next years crop as the farm gets bigger.
Lettuces growing in the polytunnel April 2013
Lesley, our Drug and Alcohol Worker with veg bags being packed ready for customers. April 2013
Rhubarb Farm's cropshare bags have not only been going to customers but, through our partnership with Food Aware CIC of Rotherham, we have been able to provide weekly bags to families in need, referred through local organisations. Each family receives a veg bag from Rhubarb Farm for 4 weeks, which includes veg from Rhubarb Farm, surplus fruit and veg recycled from the food industry by Food Aware and recipes to encourage people to use their veg in delicious dishes.
In 2012, these bags were supplied to families in Shirebrook, Langwith and Whaley Thorns, Derbs. In 2013, they have been supplied to families around Worksop, Notts.
We received this very positive feedback from Cheryl Whalley, Community Involvement Worker, North Worksop about bags that we had supplied to families through the Manton Children's Centre. We think it shows the impact of our aim to spread knowledge of healthy eating and support for people who are struggling the most in society.
"Good Morning Sharon
Next week (Friday 19th April) is the last of our 4 week Crop Share distribution within North Worksop Children's Centre area, with previous 4 week deliveries at Manton and Prospect Kilton. Our families in North Worksop have enjoyed the fresh produce and have followed the recipes.
What are your future plans for this excellent programme?
As an example, in August Rhubarb Farm Crop Share veg bags contained:
1 Primo Cabbage
1 Little Gem Lettuce
1 mixed Lettuce
4 Beetroot Cylindra
500g Broad Beans
2kg new potatoes - Sharpe's Express
200g Rainbow Chard
1 garlic bulb
5 patty pan squash
500 g carrots
1 cucumber - Socrates. These are half-size cucumber
500g runner beans
What is a Cropshare Scheme?
A Crop Share Scheme is a membership organisation whereby the members contract to buy a weekly veg box and the money they pay for their veg goes directly into paying workers to grow the veg.
Members also have involvement in the growing area, with regular Farm Days and Food Days and a chance to work on the land themselves.
It creates employment.
It serves an area within a 10-12 mile radius of the fields where the food is grown.
Members collect their veg box from site weekly, and arrangements are made to share transport between members. This means no transport costs to the grower but those without transport, or time-poor can share transport to enable them to get their boxes easily
Fortnightly veg boxes may also be possible to have .
It provides fresh locally-grown food to local people at very reasonable prices.
It is concerned with changing eating habits to improve diet and health.
How is the Rhubarb Farm Crop Share being run?
Rhubarb Farm staff and volunteers grow vegetables and fruit for the Crop Share scheme. The staff are:-
Two supervisors, Andy Holdaway and Sharon Storey.
Luke Kelly is the full-time worker on the Crop Share Scheme. Luke is an ex-offender who has turned his life round and is now also mentoring ex-offenders on another programme we have called "Green Chances".
Volunteers come every day to Rhubarb Farm and are involved in the growing of vegetables on site, learning new skills, gaining confidence, getting their lives back together, or doing work placements.
Other staff on site and volunteers help pick the vegetables and pack them on a Thursday morning ready for our veg bag members to come and collect them after 12noon.
We pack some bags for referred families in food poverty every week, and receive surplus fruit and some vegetables for the bags from Sainsbury's at Brimington, who are very supportive of Rhubarb Farm's work.
How does it work?
* If you are interested in receiving a weekly veg bag you need to become a member of the Rhubarb Farm Crop Share Scheme and to pay a monthly standing order for the box and membership combined (see below under "How Do I Become a Member?"
* Vegetables will be picked and packed by Rhubarb Farm volunteers and staff and kept in the chiller unit on site, to maintain their freshness
* You will be able to collect your bag every Thursday between 12 noon and 6.30pm. Any boxes not collected on a Thursday can be collected at any time on a Friday. They will be kept in the chiller unit until collection
* As a member you will have access to the chiller unit independently when you arrive to collect your veg box. You can then either come in and collect the box quickly, if pushed for time, or spend time on site looking round or meeting volunteers and staff or even getting involved, depending on choice.
* The veg bag is made of Hessian, which is washable and recyclable, and easier to carry and move about than a box.
* Members will bring the previous week's bag back for cleaning and re-use the week after that.
What will a Crop Share cost?
Membership is £2 per month.
Members will pay £8 per box per week, £4 per small box.
Membership and cropshares will be payable by monthly Standing Order.
How do I become a member of Rhubarb Farm Crop Share Scheme?
Veronica and Diane in Shirebrook Veg shop receiving Rhubarb Farm broad beans and peas at 1.45pm on Friday 20th July. They sold out by 4pm!
A sample of the vegetables ready for our veg bags, with a sample bag. 20th July 2012. Organically grown, fresh and very tasty!
The excitement of harvesting was too much for some people, and lettuce went to their heads. Abi, Rhubarb Farm NEETs Project Youth Worker and Luke, Crop Share Worker, got giddy.
For more information on other such schemes - usually known as Community Supported Agriculture - around the UK, you can look at Growing Well in Cumbria, www.growingwell.co.uk/ Rhubarb Farm staff and volunteers were funded for a study visit there in September 2011, and the Growing Well horticulturist, James Smith, provided Rhubarb Farm staff and volunteers with horticultural mentoring.
Also see Stroud CSA www.stroudcommunityagriculture.org Nick Weir, founder of Stroud CSA has been providing Rhubarb Farm with business mentoring support.