FRESH Street Vouchers – a fresh new idea for more fruit and veg in Sheffield
Weekly vouchers for fruit and vegetables will be offered for six months to every household in one block of flats in Gleadless Valley, an area of high deprivation in Sheffield. The main objectives are to increase consumption of fresh fruit and veg from local suppliers, reduce consumption of processed foods, encourage healthier habits and improve health outcomes.
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Households can exchange the voucher for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Although there is a statutory scheme which offers vouchers for fruit and veg (Healthy Start), this is only available to families on low incomes and does not support skills or local produce. This fresh new idea is being piloted by Veg Cities Sheffield, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Sheffield City Council, Medical Research Council and Regather.
Households receive a minimum of 5 FRESH Street Vouchers weekly worth £1 each. Households can exchange vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables from participating local traders at the Moor Market, including Bingham & Browne, Connor’s Fruit Corner, Stuarts Fruit & Veg and Tracy’s Fruit and Veg. Alternatively households can order a FRESH Street Veg Bag for home delivery, offering fruit and vegetables grown locally by Heeley City Farm at Wortley Walled Garden, Norfolk Park and Meersbrook Walled Garden.
The project started in August 2018 with funding from Sustainable Food Cities and other sources. The initial phase of work focused on developing the partnership and identifying Gleadless Valley as a suitable area for pilot delivery of Fresh Street in Sheffield.
In October 2018 delivery of the Fresh Street project started with several sessions of door knocking explaining the Fresh Street offer and signing up households to the voucher scheme. Of the initial 56 households visited, 40 are now signed up to the scheme. Households responded very positively to the offer of the voucher because typically they would be unable to afford fresh fruit and vegetables.
Another important aspect of this pilot is to engage households in cooking, growing and (social) eating of vegetables to transform eating habits. The team has several social eating events and cooking and growing sessions planned over the coming months and is already working to develop food growing opportunities in the local area.
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.