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Veg box donations to “make a difference in difficult times”

Veg box donations to “make a difference in difficult times”

Tuesday 05 July 2022

Veg box donations to “make a difference in difficult times”

Tuesday 05 July 2022


A local kiosk has pledged to supply Guernsey Welfare with two vegetable boxes per week following a panel discussion on sustainable food production, and is encouraging other businesses to join in.

Mim Sarre, owner of Mim’s Kiosk, has agreed to purchase and donate produce grown regeneratively at the Soil Farm to the welfare system, totaling £100 per week.

The second round of boxes was delivered to Guernsey Welfare yesterday and featured fresh courgettes, cucumbers, beans, and potatoes.

Ms Sarre said: “When we think of the service and donation boxes at supermarkets, it's all non-perishable goods. This is a different avenue to provide good locally grown produce.”

She will continue providing boxes each week for the foreseeable future and hopes the size of her business will encourage other companies to participate in similar initiatives. 

“I’m in it to promote the scheme to other businesses and push others to do it… it’s very important to support our community where we can and facilitate Guernsey Welfare.”

Jock Pettitt and Sasha Marsh, co-founders of The Soil Farm, say they are keen to provide more food in this way: “There are many opportunities here… with innovation and momentum there is so much that can be done, not just in reaching people with the highest quality food, but benefiting our environment in doing so."

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Pictured: The Soil Farm grows produce using entirely regenerative farming methods.

During a Chamber of Commerce sustainable food event last month, an audience member questioned how nutritious and sustainably produced food could be made accessible to the poorest in society. 

The panelists, which included Mr Pettitt, admitted that whilst there are no simple answers to the dilemma, better food could be provided through charitable and other innovative means such as a small donation of time to farms in exchange for a supply of fruit and vegetables.

Mr Pettitt told Express: “It is not appropriate in our view to compromise the method of farming or pay, thats a road we have been down already, and it doesn’t end well… so we suggested innovation and ‘pay it forward’ as a start.

“To our delight, one of the Soil Farm's existing customers - Mim's Kiosk who was in the audience - called us and committed to buy two corporate boxes per week.

“We called Sue Le Friec at Guernsey Welfare and explained, she was delighted to receive the support… and we had a very productive dialogue about how to structure this going forward. We are keen to deliver more this way, and to engage others like the GVS who run the meals on wheels services and the lunches at Les Grand Courtils and The Jubilee Day Centre at Grandes Maisons Road.”

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Pictured: The beans and cucumbers are synthetic-free. 

Ms Le Friec said the vegetables have already been well received by service users.

“Our clients have been genuinely delighted to be offered such lovely, fresh produce and I’m sure they will be enjoying the difference in taste that locally grown veg has,” she said.

“It’s fantastic to be able to offer premium products to those who can least afford them, and we are very grateful to Mim for sponsoring this for us.”

Ms Sarre said she already purchases eggs and recycles used coffee grounds through the Soil Farm, adding she looks to buy local “where possible to keep the money in-island”. 

It took just two days after the panel discussion for the plan to be realised, according to Ms Sarre: “There’s no point messing about, when there’s an idea let’s get together and get it done.”

The Soil Farm is currently partnering with other growers who also grow to regenerative standards and is seeking dialogue with others in a position to increase supply.

“We certainly have the demand, but for us its critical that we don't compromise on method or fair pay for farmers… this is a very exciting opportunity and we are keen to do more with the support of other businesses who might be willing to underwrite the cost of the boxes being donated.”

Pictured (top): Mim Sarre, owner of Mim's Kiosk (left); Sasha Marsh, co-founder of The Soil Farm; and Sue Le Friec, coordinator at Guernsey Welfare (right).

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