Barefoot Kitchen provides support and expertise on a range of projects, from redistributing surplus food or turning an unloved garden into a productive space for food growing, to leading wild food walks and working with local communities to improve their surroundings. All of its work aims to help Middlesbrough’s communities become resilient to food access, affordability, and quality challenges arising from climate change, health crises, poverty and discrimination – to be food resilient.
Middlesbrough is one of the twenty most deprived authorities in England, with 40% of children living in poverty and since the March 2020 lockdown, 50% of children receiving Free School Meals reported a significant drop in their intake of fruit and vegetables.
Operating at a grassroots level, the Fig Alleys is a new community ‘plot to plate’ site, situated in the western fringe of Middlesbrough in the Ayresome ward. The Fig Alleys site area has a long history of food growing and until the 1990s, included a large allotment site known locally as ‘The Pig Alleys.’ This has now been removed and the Fig Alleys project aims to restore some of the opportunities and community spirit that the original site provided for local people.
The Foundation provided support towards the items and equipment needed for the new site, including a wooden greenhouse, irrigation system, groundworks and crop protection.
Key aims of the project include: