Hackathon – Urban Harvest style

2nd Jun 21 by Rebecca Nutley

We held a hackathon to see if we could conjure up energy, inspiration and provoke new ideas to help progress and develop Urban Harvesting.

There is a vast and wide range of expertise within local community food sectors, and in Buckinghamshire this is no different. So, when local group Grow Together were considering how to progress their Urban Harvest Project, we called upon our local network to take part in a HarvestHack event.

The Food Heroes Project in the Netherlands inspired our HarvestHack through its work bringing together innovative food entrepreneurs working on the reduction of food losses in the ‘neglected’ parts of the food chain. We wanted to try this approach in Buckinghamshire and see if we could conjure up energy, inspiration and provoke new ideas to help progress and develop Urban Harvest for this year’s yield.

Facilitated by Feedback’s Growing Food Citizens team, the event spanning just under four hours provided a mix of experience of orchard management; community growing, social enterprise and business, food waste redistribution and commerce; as well as voluntary sector engagement. Meaning that people were enthusiastic to share their thoughts, good practice and understanding to explore how to overcome barriers based on their own experience and knowledge.

Two clear directions were identified through breakout rooms and discussions, one being an enterprise based approach of customer demand, production and sales; the other community, education and collective action. Both would help to reduce fallen fruit from being wasted but interestingly would take different routes for a future pathway.

‘This has given us so much to think about, I was overwhelmed by people taking the time out to participate and help us develop our project.” Sheila Bees Grow Together Urban Harvest Coordinator.

Urban Harvest are now looking at community based partnerships to embed raising awareness of reducing food waste and how to upkeep fruit trees and bushes on private land; alongside the picking, preserving and product processes for this coming season. We wish them luck securing funding to continue inspired by the event and to see all the innovative ways to prevent fallen and unused fruit going to waste.

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