The Veg Patch makes good fruit and veg more affordable and accessible to students and staff. Credit: Middlesbrough Environment City
With the expert support of Middlesbrough Environment City, Teesside University set up a weekly stall using surplus vegetables, herbs and fruit from community gardens, kitchen gardens, allotments and local supermarkets. The local Co-op supermarket have agreed to sponsor the project with the provision of surplus fruit and vegetables (and some other surplus goods) on a weekly basis. This will ensure the sustainability of the project, especially during late Winter and early Spring, when local produce is less available.
The stall is manned by volunteer students, driven by the opportunity to learn new business and customer support skills. The produce is sold on a pay-as-you-feel basis and the stall also provides recipe cards with simple, seasonal recipes.
The interest generated by the Veg Patch among students is resulting in several associated projects. There is interest among students and university to run cooking demonstrations in some of the university accommodation. A number of Food Technology students are also re-starting a soup project using the produce available in the Veg Patch.
“I have been keen to set up the Veg Patch for a while now and, as well as encouraging people to eat healthily, it also gets them thinking about food waste.” Hazel Wright, Teesside University Wellbeing Services Co-ordinator
“We are an independent charity supporting healthy and sustainable living and are delighted to be working so closely with Teesside University. The Veg Patch is a fantastic initiative and we are pleased that in the early stages it is already proving to be very popular among students and staff.” Dr Mark Fishpool, Director of Middlesbrough Environment City
The Veg Patch is one of the initiatives coming out of Veg Cities Middlesbrough, coordinated by Middlesbrough Environment City. The business model is stirring interest within the town and the Veg Cities Middlesbrough team has been approached by a number of primary schools who would like to replicate this idea as an after school project.
Sustain are encouraging more areas to launch Veg Cities campaigns, and get local businesses and organisations making veg pledges. Veg Cities is currently the feature campaign of Sustainable Food Cities, and is run in partnership with Peas Please.