Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Day centre donates vegetables to local food bank

Friday, 5 August 2022

Last week, Silsoe Horticultural Centre donated leftover vegetables from its farm shop to Preen CIC; a food bank in Biggleswade.

Customer Hayley, with carrots grown at Silsoe Horticultural Centre

All the fruits and vegetables for sale at the farm shop are grown by adults with learning disabilities who attend the centre. It’s set on a three-acre site, and those who attend get involved in planting, growing and harvesting produce, and making preserves like chutneys and jams from the produce they grow.

One person who attends said:

I like to sow seeds, watch everything grow, harvest them and then eat them. I enjoy coming to the centre as it is very friendly, and we all have lots of laughs.

The centre holds a farm shop each Thursday to sell its produce to the local community, including courgettes, lettuce and tomatoes – of which the centre grows a number of varieties.

Deborah Townson, who manages the centre, said:

We were really pleased to donate unsold produce to a local food bank so local residents can use it. We hope to make further donations when we have surplus produce in the future.

In July, the Preen CIC food bank fed 1,130 local people.

Kathy Lewis from Preen CIC said:

Food parcels are usually tins and packets so fresh fruit and vegetables make a huge difference to the families we help. We are very grateful to the Silsoe Horticultural Centre team for sharing their lovely produce with us.

Councillor Carole Hegley, our Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said:

Silsoe Horticultural Centre is a fantastic offer for people with learning disabilities as well as for the local community. It’s designed to help our customers acquire new skills and knowledge, but also to learn new skills to they can enjoy horticulture as a hobby.

All our customers have been working really hard this year to grow some amazing plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs, so please do go along to the weekly farm shop to see what they’ve grown.

The farm shop takes place at Silsoe Horticultural Centre every Thursday between 11am and 2pm.