Homegrown veg at Kirkstall Valley Farm: From field to fork for free

Onion planting at Kirkstall Valley Farm

By Jennifer Lawrence, secretary, Kirkstall Valley Farm steering group

Kirkstall Valley Farm, one of Kirkstall’s best kept secrets, is celebrating a landmark birthday on 1 July 2022.

The growers, volunteers and harvest share members will be celebrating one year of veggie boxes.

Every week the growers – Ben, Rhian and Emma, helped by a small army of volunteers -work tirelessly to get those veggies first into the ground, then harvested and into the weekly boxes. 

These are some of the things that Harvest Share Members say about why they joined the veg box scheme:

“No chemicals and no air miles.” “It is close to home, and you can come here and see it growing.” “I like being part of a community, and there is no packaging.” “Quality is really good. There are some blemishes sometimes, but you can expect that as it is straight from the farm.”

The Harvest Share members support the farm by subscribing to weekly boxes, and come down to the farm to collect their freshly harvested veg on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

You can now choose from a large box for four to five people, (£17.50) a medium box fort to three people, (£9) or a small box for one to two people (£6). We also offer medium boxes at a community rate of £4.25 per box for anyone on a low income to sign up for. You can also use your Healthy Start Voucher to get a box for free.

Fresh tasty veg: A Harvest Share box in March.

Kirkstall Valley Farm, a Kirkstall Valley Development Trust project, is here not only to grow veg but to help the community on both sides of the valley to grow a thriving community. With the cost of living crisis, the farm wants to shout out to say we can help !

With Healthy Start Vouchers, if you are pregnant, or have one or more children under the age of four and are in receipt of a benefit, then you can get a community box of veg for FREE.

In your veg box you will get a range of items, usually six or seven different portions of veg, including basics like potatoes and onions. This box is meant for two of three people to keep you going for the week.

You can pay for the veg using your Healthy Start Voucher Card when you collect from the farm, or we may be able to arrange a local pick up point.

The Healthy Start Vouchers scheme works by giving you a card with money on it that can be spent only on fresh fruit and vegetables or milk. A set amount will be put on each month, and can be spent in any retail outlet that supports the scheme. The weekly amount is £4.25 per child aged from one to four years, (also for each week of pregnancy from 10 weeks) For more information look it up online or ask your GP or health visitor.

Harvest Share Members picking up their vegetables.

So what is so good about the vegetables from Kirkstall Valley Farm? Well, they taste pretty good and they are grown in a wholesome and natural way, with no chemicals. The veg is super local, literally grown in your back yard, with no food miles which makes it not only good for you but also good for the planet.

Eating tasty fresh vegetables is a brilliant way to support your family’s health and vitality, and yes even kids love it, especially as raw finger food for a tasty snack.

Emma, one of our growers, has put together a recipe book using ideas from farm members. If you need a bit of inspiration that could be just the thing.

Emma with the new recipe book.

Volunteers love coming down to the farm to help; and it is a good way to get a bit of exercise, meet others, and learn skills. Get in touch if you are interested by e-mailing the farm on kirkstallvalleyfarm@gmail.com.

Here are a few comments from some of our dedicated volunteers:

“Friendly welcome, and good vibes.”  “I’m learning new skills and about wildlife, I have now learnt how to use a broadfork!”  “It feels good to be doing something to help the climate.” “It is good for my physical and mental health.”

KVDT also put on some fantastic family activities, many of which take place on the new social space at the farm. Look out for the holiday activities starting in the summer holidays.

To find out more look at our BookWhen/KVDT page. You can even book this space for your own event, wedding or party, contact Adele Ray at KVDT for more information on adele.rae@kvdt.org

The farm is always open every Saturday morning, so why not come and have a look? You will find the entrance just next to ‘Ready Steady Store’ on Kirkstall Road, just five minutes from Morrisons.

For further information, contact Rhian on kirkstallvalleyfarm@gmail.com.

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