Bangor Castle Walled Garden Fruit and Veg
Action areas: Carbon emissions/ Food security & supply/ Health & wellbeing
Bangor Castle Walled Garden was opened in 2009 to bring a long-lost Victorian garden back to life and beauty. Whilst originally the whole garden would have been given over to fruit and vegetable production, today the kitchen garden is set in just one corner. Out of it Council parks staff are able to grow organic produce throughout the year including beans, peas, potatoes, onions, garlic and even pumpkins!
Since the garden began growing vegetables they have always been sold with donations going to the elected Mayor’s chosen charities for that year. The pandemic has meant this regular process had to stop.
Rather than see the fruits and vegetables of that season go to waste, the garden team decided they would use the situation as an opportunity. The situation at the time was forcing many people to search for assistance from food banks and similar charities. Given the quality of the food produced in the garden and the help it would provide, relationships were quickly developed with the local volunteers providing these services.
Ards and North Down food banks and 'crisis' kitchens now collect weekly vegetable donations from Bangor Castle Walled Garden. They add this to other produce donated by local supermarkets, food retailers, and butchers. It is then used to cook up nutritious meals for those in need.
Each month, the kitchen provides approximately 1,200 – 1,400 food boxes across the Ards and North Down area. The food banks provide over 40,000 meals each year to other charities and clients in need. It is estimated that the food supplied by the walled garden has helped approx. 1000 people so far. The carbon footprint of food can be reduced by using it locally and minimising waste.