Diss trio collect surplus vegetables from allotments to redistribute to shielding residents
A group of volunteers have been organising the collection of surplus fruit and veg from allotment holders to redistribute to vulnerable people in Diss.
Friends Chloe Tatum, Rachel Perry and Jane Jennifer started The Diss and District Community Veg Scheme, where they collectunwanted fruit and vegetables and deliver them to vulnerable people across south Norfolk and mid Suffolk.
Keen veg growers themselves, the trio noticed that their own plots were starting to produce more than they needed and decided to talk to local allotment groups about the possibility of continuing to distribute fresh vegetables, as their supplier was no longer able to.
Ms Perry, who lives in Stanley Road, Diss, said she had been stunned by the generosity of allotment holders in the area, who have all been keen to help with the scheme.
“We wanted to help in some way,” said the full-time gardener. “The generosity of local allotment holders has been heart-warming.
“Their response to our request was immediately positive and the donations have been increasing each week as the allotment plots come into their own over the summer.
“This couldn’t happen without the donations from the local fruit and veg growers.”
Miss Tatum and Ms Perry deliver the vegetables every Thursday, and have now given around 400 packages to vulnerable residents, with any leftover produce taken to Waveney Foodbank in Vince’s Road.
Ms Tatum added: “The brilliant thing about our deliveries now is that our local communities are growing veg and donating to their own community members, so it’s a wonderful closed circle of support, and people are very grateful.”
Ms Jennifer, who also works as a local Labour Party activist, said that the group had been surprised by the sheer variety of the produce passing through their hands.
She said: “You might think the only produce to be donated would be courgettes at this time of year.
“But we’ve had potatoes, onions, runner beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, rhubarb, rainbow chard, spinach, beetroot and, yes, a fair smattering of courgettes as well.”
The trio plan to keep the scheme going over the next few weeks while people’s allotments and back gardens are still producing a surplus of stock.