The Contenders: Charitable Initiative

Profiling the UK Fruit & Vegetable Awards finalists in the Charitable Initiative category Over the coming days FPJ is highlighting all of the categories and contenders in the UK Fruit & Vegetable Awards. To review all of the contenders in full, visit and then follow the link, or click here, to register your votes. The voting period ends at midnight on Thursday 5 November. The Award for Charitable Initiative From bike rides to mountain climbs, there have been some exceptional examples of hard work by fresh produce employees to raise money for charity this year. This award gives them the recognition they deserve. The contenders are: Alan Bartlett & Sons alan bartlett charity Eight friends undertook an epic 250 mile two-day cycle around the Norfolk and Suffolk coast in aid of Cancer Research UK. The inspiration behind the ride was Alan Bartlett and Sons employee Lee Barnett. At 22 Lee was diagnosed last summer with testicular cancer. The cancer had spread to his lungs, but after extensive chemotherapy treatment Lee was happily given the all clear early this year. The ride itself, organised by three employees of Alan Bartlett and Sons, really wanted to show support and raise awareness for the fantastic work and care Lee and other sufferers receive during treatment. Joined by five family friends, the charity ride has already netted over £8,000, with money still coming in. Amidst torrential rain and 40 mph winds, spurred on by the resilience of one of their own, all eight riders successfully completed the Norfolk Coast Challenge and were warmly welcomed home by Laura Holland, Cancer Research UK and many family members and friends. Farmcare Farmcare A tractor renovated by Farmcare agricultural apprentices at Reaseheath College is set to boost food production in Uganda, thanks to the support of Farmcare - the UK’s leading rural and farming business - and UK charity the Somerset Wetland Wildlife Foundation. Farmcare - which has been quietly giving its time and expertise as well as financial input since it was acquired by the world’s largest charitable organisation, Wellcome Trust, in August 2014 - provided the Leyland 270 tractor, parts and apprentices to restore and renovate the tractor. The Leyland 270 and cultivation equipment, including a mechanical inter-row weeder and a mechanical seed drill, has now arrived in Mombasa and will be transported by road to Uganda, where it will be given to Ssalongo, the leader of the Degaya commercial group of small subsistence farmers. The tractor and associated tools will be used to assist in the cultivation and planting of land for smallholders in the area, which is currently done by hand digging. Tim Cleaver, 23, an apprentice who works at Farmcare’s Ashby St Ledgers Farm and Ian Watson, the farm manager from Farmcare’s Louth Park Farms who acquired the tractor and implements, have plans to fly out to Uganda to help train the farmers on the tractor’s operation and maintenance. Ian said: “I’m extremely proud of the Farmcare team who worked so hard to revamp the tractor. Hopefully the tractor will make a massive, ongoing difference to the lives of smallholders and their local community in Uganda. By using powered ploughs, the farmers will be able to increase the land they’re able to cultivate fourfold compared to the use of the traditional hand hoe technique. “I’m really looking forward to visiting and offering practical techniques to help the smallholders get the most out of the tractor.‘’ Greenvale - Bees Bees at Burrelton Another quite unique charitable initiative has been delivered by our staff at Greenvale Burrelton near Perthshire. The site are doing their bit to help stop the decline in the Scottish bee population – as well as raising money for charity at the same time. Five of our workers at Greenvale’s Burrelton site, a quarter of all the employees, are members of the beekeeping club. They meet weekly and tend to three hives, which are moved around various fields owned by farmers linked to the business. The club was instigated by beekeeper Iain Paterson, a fieldsperson for Greenvale, and is also attended by Tim Hatton, Lorna Robertson, Jamie Smith, and Cheryl Forbes. The hives contain around 50,000 bees. Last year, the first of operation, the bees produced 66lb of honey, which the club sold for £4.50 a jar, raising hundreds of pounds for local charities. They hope to emulate that this year, while also starting a jam-making venture with local berry producers. Greenvale - Simon Whittaker Greenvale Sponsored Cycle 5 Simon Whittaker, a forklift truck driver from our Floods Ferry Site in March, Cambs, has raised more than £1,200 for one of the Floods Ferry sites chosen charities – Magpas air ambulance. Simon cycled 371 miles from the company’s Scottish site Duns near Berwick on Tweed to Floods Ferry this year at the start of September 2015. Simon cycled the distance in less than 23 hours with only his support vehicle and driven by brother-in-law Chris Saunt, for company. Simon, who only two years ago broke the former world record for the longest game of rugby in the world – 24 hours and 51 minutes – was determined to do the trip in less than a day. He set off from Duns at 6am, arriving at 4pm less than two days later at the Floods Ferry site where he has been a driver for more than a year. He was cheered onto the finishing line by his colleagues and wife Melloney and two children Abigail, 12 and three-year old Malcolm John and his mum, dad, brother, sister and nephew. Simon raised the money through sponsorship from friends and family and the generous amount raised is just an example of how committed Greenvale staff are to raising money for charities and investing their own time. After the ride Simon said: “I am delighted to have raised this money for such a worthwhile charity and chuffed to have done the ride in such a great time. It makes the nightly training sessions and sacrifice all worthwhile and has certainly kept my fitness levels up ready for my next challenge.” Growers United FC Growers United The Growers United FC initiative aims to raise funds for charity, promote horticulture and agriculture, and encourage integration between communities. They have raised thousands for charity through football matches and other activities since they were ‘harvested’ in 2012. Growers United are made up of ordinary local people who work with local fresh produce businesses including Valefresco, Vicarage Nurseries and Zenith Nurseries. In recent months they have hosted several celebrity charity football matches, raising thousands for charity. The latest was on Sun 6 September where they were against West Bromwich Albion Former Players Association, supporting four charities. All the players are well worthy of this award simply for all of the hard work, commitment and effort they have put in all for good causes, but especially Bal Padda and Vito Mauro, who go above and beyond. Produce World ProduceWorld_GleaningUK The Produce World Group is a leader in the sector, working with its group of grower partners and a highly motivated workforce. Fresh, quality vegetables are our business. Significant resources are invested into growing fresh produce, and we naturally want it all to be eaten. Due to the challenges of supply and demand, food waste is inevitable. Produce World has made a commitment to managing its food waste differently, and doing what is right, rather than what is easy. We believe the right thing is to redistribute food waste to human consumption wherever possible. With more than five million people in the UK living in food poverty there is a responsibility to lead how edible food waste is managed in the industry, and this is especially pertinent for food that is fresh, healthy and nutritious and not always readily available to those in need. Since 2013 Produce World has collaborated with Gleaning UK (part of Feedback) and FareShare, which have a common ambition - to end food waste and tackle food poverty. Over the last two years, we have made weekly donations of potatoes and carrots to FareShare, meaning that more than 500,000 meals have included fresh vegetables. Through our collaboration with Gleaning UK and its network of volunteers, we have facilitated four days gleaning waste produce straight from the field, resulting in approximately 117,000 portions of vegetables being distributed and eaten rather than disposed of. Both Gleaning UK and FareShare have established distribution networks across the UK, ensuring any waste produce goes straight to those who need it. Maximising the impact of these initiatives is important, and Produce World shares its experiences through events such as its annual 4Life Grower Day and the FareShare Surplus Food Summit which aim to inspire and engage others to support this vital work.