Monday 10 September 2018

Organic fruit and veg now available at Emmaus Cambridge

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Visitors to Emmaus Cambridge can now purchase organic fruit and veg while they shop at the Landbeach-based homelessness charity.

Emmaus Cambridge has expanded its social enterprise to offer customers fresh organic produce grown onsite in its garden by formerly homeless people who are now being supported by the charity, known within Emmaus as companions.

Emmaus Cambridge is working towards becoming a self-sustaining community, and growing its own fruit and vegetables is one way to achieve this. The produce is used to create homemade soup in the community’s onsite coffee shop, as well as meals for the companions. The project exceeded expectations, and the community is now able to sell small quantities of surplus organic produce grown in its gardens.

Social enterprise is central to the Emmaus model as it provides meaningful work for companions, but also generates funding to maintain the Emmaus Cambridge community. The community garden is tended to by a dedicated group of companions, volunteers and staff, who have spent the spring and summer growing a variety of fruit and veg including squash, courgettes, chilli, cucumber, plumbs, tomatoes, and runner beans.

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Emmaus Cambridge is keen to encourage people to shop local and reduce their carbon footprint in light of recent research by the University of Edinburgh which estimates that each year 50 million tonnes of farmed fruit and vegetables grown in Europe is discarded for being the wrong size or misshapen, meaning more than a third of total farm production is lost for aesthetic reasons. The research estimates that the UK makes up nearly a tenth of the waste, with 4.5 million tonnes of fresh produce discarded annually.

“My father taught me to garden when I was very young and it has been my passion ever since. Being able to spend time in the Emmaus garden is relaxing, rewarding and a source of joy.”

Emmaus Cambridge companion, Jon Cook

Emmaus Cambridge was established in 1991, and has recently undergone an extension of ten new rooms, providing a home for as long as needed and the opportunity to gain work experience for up to 44 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion.

To find out more about Emmaus Cambridge, visit www.emmaus.org.uk/Cambridge or visit its second-hand charity shop at Green End, Landbeach, CB25 9FD.