Campaign to grow more veg at home goes interactive during Leeds lockdown

A campaign to encourage deprived families to grow and eat more greens is setting roots in lockdown.

Saturday, 2nd May 2020, 5:00 pm

The outbreak of coronavirus and social distancing regulations meant that the #VegRocks campaign, by Foodwise Leeds and Zest, was hampered in terms of staging face to face events.

However, the two organisations have come up with a way where, awareness of the benefits of growing and eating fresh veg can be done from home as families are being encouraged to stay indoors during the lockdown.

#VegRocks came about after figures revealed we buy the same amount of vegetables as we did in the mid-1970s but that fruit purchasing has increased by over 50 per cent over the same period.

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The Avocado family is one of the submissions so far.

It highlighted a need to promote veg purchasing and consumption and the benefits for health and wellbeing as well as for the environment.

Foodwise, a cross-sector partnership working to create a more sustainable food system for Leeds, and Zest, an east Leeds charity working to address social and health inequalities, have come up with an interactive way for the campaign to continue and for more people to get involved.

Youngsters are being asked to draw a picture of their favourite vegetables, turning them into fun characters with a face, name, hat or curly hair etc and to display them in the window like people have with NHS rainbows and teddy bears.

Share a picture of it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tagging @foodwiseleeds and @zestleeds and using the hashtag #vegrocks. To be eligible for the prizes, email a photo of the picture to [email protected] with your name, age, address and school.

The competition runs until Monday May 18 and prizes will be awarded in age categories: six and under; 7-12; and 13+. First and second prize winners in category receive a box of fresh vegetables from Growing Better CIC delivered to their door, which includes recipes and a microgreens growing kit. Third and fourth prize is a microgreens growing kit from Growing Better CIC.

Sonja Woodcock, co-ordinator of FoodWise Leeds said: "The #Vegrocks Poster Competition is a great way for families during lockdown to engage in a fun craft activity that celebrates the goodness of vegetables. With councillors sponsoring additional vegbox prizes in their wards, we are able to ensure families in the most deprived communities in Leeds have access to fresh produce. We’ve had over 60 entries so far and they are all so creative – please keep them coming."

Dom Charkin, operations manager for Zest added: "It’s a fantastic idea. Since lockdown began we have been offering distance support to everyone who attends our groups, and one thing that has come through is that people are struggling to lead busy lives and home-school their children. The #VegRocks campaign gives the children an activity to do at home and also gets families thinking about the importance of eating more vegetables & how best to make use of the food in their fridges.”

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