- Veg Scheme
- Food Growing
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The Grown in Dagenham project on the Dagenham Farm started in January 2016 and will end in December 2018. The project built on the community outreach work we’ve done since the farm opened in 2012 – and has involved hundreds of local people in the farm. We wanted to get more people benefiting from learning how to grow food – and what to do with the veg when they’ve got it! A £255,000 grant over three years from the Big Lottery helped us to do this - we are delighted that many of our activities including the Wednesday volunteer sessions and our seasonal stall at Dagenham East station will continue after the end of the funding on 31 December 2018.
There are several key project areas:
We run weekly school food-growing and cooking sessions for 60 William Bellamy students plus weekly sessions for Assisted Learning students from Barking and Dagenham College. Click on this link to see photos of our work with local schools.
An after-school food-growing club for parents and children at William Bellamy school and a holiday food-growing club, Growing on Holiday. The club is for young people aged 9-15 and includes lunch made from fresh farm produce. Activities include planting out, harvesting soft fruit, learning to cook farm produce - and eating! Click on this link to see photos of previous holiday clubs.
We are training four local unemployed lone parents in food growing and food production every year, teaching them how to use farm produce to make Grown in Dagenham products – including Grown in Dagenham Tommy K Ketchup. Our trainees are learning the basics of food growing, harvesting and food preparation as well as marketing and retailing. Click here to see our 2016 and 2017 trainees in action. Our 2018 trainees started in April 2018.
Every Wednesday we prepare a communal lunch for staff and volunteers cooked from farm produce - which we sit and eat together. The farm is open every Wednesday (February to mid-December) for local residents to learn more about food growing and get fresh air and exercise through volunteering on the farm. For more about our volunteering opportunities, go to our Volunteering page. As well as our regular Open Farm Sundays, which ran until October 2018, we've hosted special events such as our DagenJAM event - click here to see photos.
We offer free places on a dedicated session for local Barking and Dagenham residents with mental health issues on Wednesdays as part of our Grown in Dagenham project. If you would like to self-refer or refer service users to this group please email us. Please be aware that we cannot offer one to one supervision of individuals attending this group and participants will need to be able to take part in physical activities outside.
As well as the traineeships, the Big Lottery Grant is funding new jobs at the farm: Hannah is our Food Activities worker and Michèle is our Education and Volunteer Co-ordinator. Our growers Alice and Shelagh work with both of them on designing food-growing sessions for trainees, young people and volunteers.
The grant has also enabled us to for create a food prep kitchen for the Grown in Dagenham products from a disused garage and revamp an old potting area into a volunteer area and teaching kitchen.