The Cuttings near Starbeck is celebrating its hard work this National Allotment Week on a fruit and vegetable patch built at the start of lockdown.
Since March, the elderly community in Starbeck has been growing produce to be used in charitable meals. Harrogate and Ripon Food Angels provide a meals on wheels delivery service to over 100 people living alone.
Margaret Mitchell, 85, has spent most of her time in the allotment since coronavirus began.
“I’ve always enjoyed gardening so it has been a pleasure to help and watch the fruit and vegetables grow. Being in lockdown has had its downsides but having the opportunity to be outdoors and grow our own produce has been wonderful. I am looking forward to trying the fruits of our labour.”
Both the The Cuttings and Food Angels scheme are run by Harrogate Neighbours Housing Association.
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Sue Cawthray, CEO at Harrogate Neighbours, considers the green-fingered initiative a sustainable success. She said:
“There are many challenges of lockdown for those who are vulnerable, or shielding, so the allotment was started to encourage tenants to spend more time outdoors. There is lots of evidence to suggest that nature, being outdoors and watching things grow has a significant positive impact on mental health. We’re fortunate to have a dedicated space in the garden of The Cuttings where tenants have enjoyed planting and watching fresh produce grow.”
Ms Cawthray said that the allotment even has beehives. As the organisation’s own personal beekeeper, she showed the tenants how to remove honeycomb safely and put it into jars.
“It was a most enjoyable afternoon in the sunshine and everyone got a chance to taste our very own Harrogate Neighbours honey!”
National Allotment Week was founded by The National Allotment Society in 2002. The theme for 2020 is “growing food for health and wellbeing”.