25 new Crop Share places released for Spring!

We are delighted to announce we are expanding our Crop Share veg box scheme to a record 125 members! 

Membership rocketed from 65 to 100 during and after the 2020 Covid lockdown as South Lakeland families sought new supplies of fresh, local veg and cooked more at home.

Now our organic fruit and vegetable farm at Low Sizergh, near Kendal, is releasing a further 25 places to meet demand and help us grow vital commercial income further.

Growing Well Crop Sharers receive around 37 bags of fresh, seasonal, local organic produce a year, paying a monthly subscription of £40.

The income plays a vital part in supporting Growing Well’s charitable work helping around 100 people a year recover from mental health problems by volunteering on our farm and in our kitchen.

Growing Well Head of Horticulture Paul Cambre says: “Our Crop Shares are a reflection of the wonderful work our volunteers do when on-site. Without their commitment to improve their mental health we would not be able to produce such fantastic food for our local community.Growing Well Head of Horticulture Paul Cambre

“By committing to a Crop Share you become a part of that investment as well, and I can’t think of a more fantastic way to support your community.

“The quality and range of our Crop Shares are unique too. We aim to grow some typical British staples, but also sprinkle in unique vegetables you won’t be able to find at your supermarket. As a grower it’s fun to try to grow almost 50 types of produce with well over 150 varieties on offer.

“Our volunteers are involved in all aspects of food production, from sowing seeds to making soil blocks to planting and weeding to harvesting and packing. Our Crop Shares follow the seasons and allow our volunteers to ride along on the journey from seed to plate, from short cold winter days to long bountiful summer ones.”

Crop Sharer Catherin Lindstrom, from Stainton just 3 miles away from the farm, joined last year and says: “We have loved the produce we’ve received and the effort that goes in to ensuring we always have lovely crops each week. Our home menu has seen some new recipes and dishes creep in this year thanks to the almost ‘lucky dip’ feel of what veg and salad we’ll pick up each week compared to our usual shop and selections. That’s been great!”

Lou Field, a Crop Sharer since 2020 who lives in Kendal, says: “I love the friendly personal emails each week, and the beautiful colour photos. It makes us very happy to be able to support Growing Well and eat lovely fresh veg and herbs… I can safely say Jerusalem Artichokes wouldn’t have featured on our dinner table this year if it hadn’t been for our Crop Share. It meets more than half our vegetable needs each week. We are veggie/vegan so that is no mean feat!”

The expansion has been made possible thanks to a £27,000 Enterprise Development Programme grant from the Social Investment Business and the Association of Mental Health Providers. The grant will help us boost our therapeutic growing staff to meet our new target of a record 125 Crop Sharers, at the same time as responding to the growing number of people needing mental health support after the effects of the Covid pandemic. It will also fund investment in marketing and new packaging for the Crop Share scheme and support expansion of other Growing Well trading income.

Growing Well chief executive Mary Smith added: “We are delighted to be offering our beautiful local produce to 25 more local families, supported by this Enterprise Development Programme grant. Crop Sharers are some of our most important supporters – their guaranteed income underwrites all of our farm production which is the foundation of our work to support volunteers build their confidence and resilience. It’s a direct connection to both our produce and our mental health work and a very special thing to be a part of.”

Growing Well Crop Shares are £40 per month payable by direct debit. Bags are made available to collect from Low Sizergh Farm on Thursdays from 4pm.

To become a Growing Well Crop Sharer and join the scheme from April 7 or April 21, or for more information, email cropshare@growingwell.co.uk or call 07903 013648. Also see www.growingwell.co.uk/vegetable-bag-scheme/