In this update from ACLI we hear about what the Land Initiative’s response to the virus has been –
In common with everyone else, the Land Initiative had to radically alter its plans for the year as a result of the Covid 19 virus. We quickly decided to increase our production of fruit and vegetables as a way of responding to possible shortages. None of us knew whether the global transport of food would be affected and accordingly growing more local produce seemed not only worthwhile but we also thought it might help offer volunteers purposeful activities during lockdown and recovery.
Further impetus was given to this approach from charity funding sources which we were able to apply for in early April. We are indebted to Arran CVS for assisting us in applying for and receiving this funding. We are also indebted to a small band of volunteers who have turned out three mornings a week, without whom the significant increase in production would not have been possible. With excellent advice from a local gardening expert, the volunteers prepared several extra growing areas, planted a range of summer crops in raised beds and in the polytunnel, then weeded, watered and tended the growing plants and finally picked the produce.
The effort over the last 3 months resulted in our first 5 boxes of produce (vegetables, herbs and flowers) being delivered free to individuals and families who needed them in mid-June. By the time this issue of The Voice comes out we expect to be delivering 8 boxes per week. The volunteers have done a great job with the boxes and you can see a picture of the first delivery with this article.
This is a new venture for us and we are being cautious about weekly capacity and potentially over- promising. However we have had interest from a number of individual families and also some local businesses. We may not be able to satisfy everyone but if you contact us to note interest it will help us plan for 2021.
We are always keen to hear from anyone who wants to get involved at ACLI as a volunteer or with specialist knowledge of horticulture, land management, rural skills and outdoor education. Please contact us via our website if you would like to find out more.