Incredible Edible Wakefield have been doing lots of work locally during Covid-19, it has been hectic! We find underused and overgrown land and turn it into mini allotments; after setting up and guiding, the locals then take over these plots.
To respond to the coronavirus pandemic, we established an online booking system so that households could book slots to visit their allotments. This meant that one household at a time could visit during their hour of daily exercise. We received funding to set up WhatsApp groups for various destinations and expanded sessions for people that were new to growing. We used the WhatsApp groups to send photographs of growing updates and available produce.
Funding from Live Well Wakefield meant that we could start developing four packs of different sets of seeds, we started with 180 packs and advertised this on Facebook at 21:30. By midnight they had all been requested! Demand for these kept growing and we distributed 28,000 seeds with instructions. For Ward 16, we distributed 100 packs of salad bedding seedlings.
Receiving funding for a headcam meant that we could set up the YouTube channel and provide tutorial videos on how to sow the seeds and re-pot the seedlings and such.
We already had established groups through setting up allotments and beds in various different locations throughout the District. The funding initially lasts a year, so the WhatsApp groups help people to help each other. After the initial year, people normally know each other and work together, and we assist if they can’t manage something.
I’m really proud of the community response during Covid-19, I’m glad that we have been able to maintain a service with restrictions in place. Ossett Community Centre was completely shut down during the pandemic, including the grounds, but the community asked to go back to tend to their allotment plots and within a few weeks they were back at it. It’s been really good to be able to keep track of everyone’s involvement with the online booking system and also get new growers involved.
We intend to build on what we have learnt during Covid-19 by expanding on the work we have started and continue the work we have always done. The online booking system has been extremely useful to see the plots that aren’t used as much, and we can also record outcomes for funders with this. It has also given ‘shielders’ the confidence to get out of the house and enjoy an hour to themselves and see the safe ways of working. We will continue to work on the YouTube channel and expand this online platform to make sure we continue the reach outside of the people we immediately work with.