You can help this eco-friendly way of feeding Bristol to grow

October 08 2019
You can help this eco-friendly way of feeding Bristol to grow

A FARM which grows food in Bristol for Bristol people to eat is looking for more volunteers.

Sims Hill Shared Harvest grows vegetables on two sites near the M32.

They are distributed every week among members who pay a subscription known as a share.

The social enterprise is part of the Community Supported Agriculture network, which promotes partnerships between farmers and consumers. It has a farm manager and three growers but relies on the support of volunteers to help tend its three acres of land.

One site, Feed Bristol, is off Frenchay Park Road near the metrobus interchange at Stoke Lane. The main Sims Hill site, also known as the Big Field, is further north on the opposite side of the motorway.

And with environmental concerns a massive political issue, with thousands of people in Bristol alone involved in protests, Sims Hill board member Julian Harrison says getting involved with local growing schemes is a practical way of helping to bring about real change.

Members – currently numbering 120 – pay £7 a week (£28 per month) for a "half-share" and £12 (£48 per month) for a "full share" of at least six different seasonal vegetables, with recent shares including runner beans, peppers, aubergines, chard, potatoes, tomatoes and broccoli. Most have been grown on one of the two Bristol sites, although some come from slightly further afield.



A typical autumn Sims Hill share


As well as delivering vegetables to its paying members, Sims Hill Shared Harvest has also been supplying the Kingfisher Cafe in Straits Parade with veg for the past two years and recently ran a community food centre supplying fresh veg as an alternative to food banks, until the scheme closed over the summer after its funding ran out.

Sims Hill has volunteer days on the third Sunday of every month and anyone who wants to help is welcome to just turn up at the Feed Bristol site on Frenchay Park Road between 10.30am and 3.30pm.

Julian said: "We grow food in Bristol for Bristol, using organic principles.

"We're proud of what we do but we're looking to get more people involved.

"There are many benefits to it. In a world of increasing climate change there's room for protesting and activism, but getting involved in local food is a very practical way of doing something.

"Also in a world that's increasingly disconnected, it's a good way to feel a sense of community and togetherness."

Sims Hill came under threat at the end of last year when it emerged that the Big Field was the only site from an initial list of 17 potential earmarked for a new park and ride car park under the region's Joint Spatial Plan. After the news emerged there was a wave of objections, which led Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees to promise that the city council, which owns the land, would not let it be used for a park and ride.

The next volunteer session is on October 20.

For more information about Sims Hill Shared Harvest visit the website or Facebook page.