COMMUNITY gardeners hope to feed up to 30 struggling families each week by growing more fresh fruit and vegetables in Northwich.

Grozone is a one-and-a-half acre ‘hidden oasis’ in the heart of Northwich, and its staff and volunteers have been running the site at Vickers Lane for more than 10 years.

The project already grows fruit and vegetables to distributed via local partners, but with increasing numbers of people struggling to make ends meet, the gardeners want to produce even more food to support the local community.

Northwich Guardian: Growzone volunteer Christian Newton (Jeff McMaster)Growzone volunteer Christian Newton (Jeff McMaster) (Image: Jeff McMaster)

Caroline Rose, Grozone’s senior development officer, believes with the right support, the group could boost the contribution it makes to the health and wellbeing of the town, targeting those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis. 

Caroline said: “If we were working as efficiently as we could, we could produce enough vegetables to feed about 30 families every week.

“To have the greatest impact, we would need to improve the growing space we’ve already got.

"Our raised beds have been in a long time, and they need some maintenance, and we want to create some new huge raised beds that we can pull wheelchairs up to.

Northwich Guardian: Debra Finney and son Zachery taking part in a Grozone Home Ed session (Jeff McMaster)Debra Finney and son Zachery taking part in a Grozone Home Ed session (Jeff McMaster) (Image: Jeff McMaster)

“Right now we’re just about to harvest our parsnips, which is very exciting. Although this time of year is known as ‘the hungry gap’, we still are overwintering lots of salads and onions, and we’ve also got leeks, kale and chard. Very soon we’ll be planting the garlic.

“We are here for wellbeing as much as we are for producing stuff. The gardening is more a byproduct of trying to increase people’s wellbeing. Hopefully, they leave us feeling better than they did when they came in."

Grozone has teamed up with Cheshire West and Chester Council and fundraising platform, Spacehive, to raise the funds needed to do this.

Northwich Guardian: Volunteer Russell Davies (Jeff McMaster)Volunteer Russell Davies (Jeff McMaster) (Image: Jeff McMaster)

However, it is currently £3,700 short of the amount it needs to secure match funding from the council.

If the £19,295 target is not reached, money already pledged will be returned to donors and the project to grow more food will not go ahead.

Northwich Guardian: Gardeners of all abilities are welcome at Grozone (Jeff McMaster) Gardeners of all abilities are welcome at Grozone (Jeff McMaster) (Image: Jeff McMaster)

Caroline added: “Any help would be incredibly gratefully received, anyone who wants to come down and see what we are doing would be very welcome.

“Just the cost of a packet of seed would go a very long way. Even that would provide a lot of food for alot of people."

You can make a contribution to Grozone's campaign here.