Garden materials for free

Andy, the builder who is working on 43 Holmes Avenue, is happy for allotment holders to go into the garden of the house over the next couple of days and take out anything they want, EXCEPT THE ROOF TILES, which are clearly marked with hazard tape and ‘do not remove signs’.

Please note there are two complete greenhouses (as far as we know) under the tarpaulins and it would be great if people could take a whole greenhouse – there are also plenty of glass panes – rather than just removing a few pieces of timber and making the greenhouses useless to anybody else. There’s also timber, paving and bricks for free.

Please also be aware that this garden is a dangerous place with uneven ground, glass, barbed wire and other hazards. We’d advise that you wear sturdy footwear, clothing and gloves.

The garden can be accessed via the allotments, near the Holmes Avenue gate, look out for the disassembled wall and the bright yellow poster!

Weald Community Fridge – the mini-allotments

Many of the people who’ve been receiving food bags from us have told us that they wanted to start growing their own food too. Sadly, COVID-19 means that the council have had to put lettings and inspections on hold, so nobody is getting a new allotment anytime soon.

That didn’t seem good enough to us, so we decided we could do something about it. Weald committee member Heidi Watts-Emirali has been putting together mini-allotments that we’ve been delivering along with food. They are planted in supermarket punnets, so we’re re-using plastic that’s already in the system, and they contain lettuce, oriental vegetables, herbs and strawberry plants. These have been specially chosen so that the plants can continue to be grown in their original container or planted on into pots or outdoors.

Beba Watts-Emirali who’s been helping her mother make mini-allotments

Each mini-allotment provides cut-and-come-again crops for several weeks, maybe a couple of months, and when they are finally exhausted, we can collect the punnets and fill them with more vegetables to keep the cycle going.

Of course every individual has their own circumstances, which is why we wanted to share with you, some of the ways that our mini-allotments are being used, from windowsill growing to outdoor container planting.

As you can see, Weald Allotments is helping many families increase their food security, and develop a new and rewarding hobby, at this difficult time. Thanks to everybody who has donated seedlings, punnets, time and effort to make this possible. As one of our new growers says, “I have been inside for 8 weeks, only venturing into the park at dawn, when no one is around and your gifts have got me feeling part of great things.”

Weald Community Fridge – our unexpected first day!

When I showed up today with forty pre-packed bags of food, I didn’t know if anybody was going to come in and collect them or if I’d end the day taking them all back home and then disposing of them. Each bag contained some fruit and a couple of bakery items; I also had several two litre containers of milk and some litre containers of sauce (vegan mayonnaise and chipotle) and a few random items like granola.

Because of the new guidelines about social distancing (and food handling) we had to pre-pack the food into individual bags which then had to be handed out one at a time, no rummaging in the fridge until the COVID-19 crisis is over!

Our little fridge was soon massively stocked. We gave out the first bag of food at 09:58 and the last at 12:02 and apart from one bottle of chipotle sauce, we gave away every single thing we had received!

Sadly, we don’t know when we’ll get any more outside food to distribute, but our wonderful, shiny, new fridge arrives on Tuesday and we will at least be able to share fruit and vegetables between ourselves. And, of course, you’re all welcome to take fresh fruit and veg for your neighbours who may be self-isolating.

The instructions for adding food to the fridge are on the wall above the fridge itself, please take the time to weigh whatever fruit and vegetables you bring to share, so that we can keep track of how much food we’re distributing – it’s going to be a fascinating process to discover how this Community Fridge is going to work.

Thank you to everybody who came along today – it was lovely to meet so many of you. Enjoy your food!

Weald Community Fridge – food distribution

Following the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants, we have quite a lot of baked goods, filled rolls, dairy products and other goodies to distribute. Because of social distancing we have a very clear set of procedures to follow. We’ll be giving food away – to Weald allotment holders only – tomorrow from 10:00 to 12:00 and then again on Monday 10:00 to 12:00 or whenever the bags run out, whichever is the sooner.

We will be operating a closed gate system, so only Weald allotment holders with keys can access the food purely for social distancing reasons, and also we’ll be bagging the food and handing it out rather than letting you go through the fridge and choose what you want. We have a certain amount of vegan produce, which we’re bagging separately so please let us know if you want a vegan bag. It will be one person at a time in the kitchen, to avoid people coming into close contact – please bear with us as we come to terms with the new conditions under which we’ll be operating.

— If you would like a food bag, please come along around 10am and be prepared to queue for a bit.

— If you don’t need a food bag, great, but please consider whether you have an elderly or self-isolating neighbour who might appreciate a few bits of food and take one home for them.

— If you have fresh fruit or vegetables you would like to donate to the community fridge, please wash and trim them and bring them along and we’ll add them to the bags as we go.

Above all, thank you for supporting the community fridge. We had no idea when we started this how rapidly it would become a reality, or how much the world would change around us. It’s been quite a roller coaster!

Free greenhouse!

A 6’x8′ greenhouse is free to the first taker. Current owner is happy to dismantle it for you, but you’ll need to collect from his plot at Weald Allotments. You’ll also need to replace a couple of broken panes of glass. Please call into the allotment shop to find out if it’s still available and to be put in contact with the current owner.

Please note this is not the actual greenhouse, just a pretty photo!

Allotment giveaway continues

Today we gave away loads of equipment and plants, and received a wonderful sum in donations – I won’t say how much yet as the giveaway isn’t over, but it was beyond our expectations. We do still have some things to get rid of, so the allotment giveaway will continue at 10 tomorrow, 23rd June 2019, at the Weald Avenue entrance. Come along and grab the last of the freebies!