Bedfordshire – United Kingdom
Emmaus Village Carlton "Garden"
THE CONTEXT OF YOUR INITIATIVE
Emmaus Village Carlton is situated on a former school campus, with extensive grounds surrounding the on-site charity shop, bistro and accommodation buildings. The charity decided to make better use of the green spaces by launching a Garden Project – growing food to provide training opportunities for formerly homeless companions as well as harvesting produce to benefit Emmaus.
THE ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT AS PART OF YOUR INITIATIVE
The Garden Project has involved the redevelopment of previously unused areas into places to grow fruit and vegetables. Formerly homeless companions and new volunteers are able to learn about gardening here – boosting their skill sets through training in organic food growing, carpentry and nutrition.
The harvested produce is used as part of the bistro menu and vegetable boxes are sold to customers to take home. All funds raised are used to support the work of the charity. Produce is also used in the kitchen, providing food for Emmaus companions, staff and volunteers.
WHO IS INVOLVED FROM OUR GROUP?
The Garden Project involves Emmaus Village Carlton companions with support from a regional charity and local volunteers. The initiative also benefits customers of the Emmaus Village Carlton bistro.
WHICH PARTNERS ARE YOU WORKING WITH ON THIS INITIATIVE?
The Garden Project is less than a year old but has achieved many successes.
• A group of companions and volunteers have completed a six-week training course, learning about organic food growing, carpentry and nutrition.
• The newly-created garden area is flourishing, with productive raised beds, polytunnels and green houses.
• New volunteers have joined the team, wanting to lend their skills and experience to the project.
• Customers have appreciated the vegetables on sale, with supplies selling out quickly each day.
• There has been an improvement in the physical and mental health of the participating companions.
• The vegetables have also contributed to the healthy diet provided for companions.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD ANY INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR INITIATIVE?
WHAT ARE YOUR PROSPECTS?
The current focus is to recruit further volunteers to assist and encourage more companions to take part in the opportunities on offer, enabling us to extend the project further.