Oldham Veg Published: Thursday, 01st October 2020

Over the last six months Oldham Council staff – and those from our partner organisations – have been going above and beyond to help our communities.

We’ve had to change and adapt services so they can support residents when they need our help the most.

Only days into the pandemic we recognised some of our residents would be left with less money to buy essentials, including fresh food to feed their families.

In response our gardeners, who would normally have been getting ready to brighten up the borough in time for summer, switched petunias for potatoes and busily started growing vegetables.

In just 17 weeks they have grown enough produce to fill 772 healthy food boxes which were delivered to foodbanks across Oldham and then given to families who were identified as being in need.

In total our staff grew 442.45kgs of potatoes, 209.75kg of cherry tomatoes, 51.63kg of snacking pepper, 47.4kg of garden peas, 31.4kg of French beans and 29.3kg of sugar snap peas.

And those impressive figures don’t even take into account things like the 138 bags of kale, 5,382 salad tomatoes, 1,219 carrots, 256 cucumbers and 1,102 courgettes that were grown.

And if you consider that many of the wonky vegetables were donated to the Food hub at Oasis Hub Oldham so they could be turned into healthy meals, it just goes to show what a bumper crop we’ve produced.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Culture said: “I’m delighted we’ve produced such a bumper crop.

“Our staff have been working under difficult circumstances, but they have come up smelling of roses – pardon the pun.

“Thanks to this growing we’ve been able to help some of our most vulnerable residents and ensure they get fresh vegetables so they can eat healthily.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for COVID-19 Response, said: “These have been fast-moving times and this is another great example of how our teams, across every department, have adapted the way they work to support our communities during the crisis.

“Volunteers also deserve our thanks as they’ve contributed a lot of time to this project.”

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