By Nathan Bushell
As I write this, the Teign Valley Larder had just passed a significant milestone: we turned one.
We may not be in a position to have a party but the strength of community spirit is definitely a cause for celebration, and I hope that on future May 7ths, the valley-wide support for the larder can be recognised.
In this update, I would like to reveal the scale of the Teign Valley Larder operation by sharing some figures with you. We may not earn a profit from what we do, but the larder resembles any other businesses that has to record stock coming in and stock going out.
(Woe betide if you mistakenly record a sponge pudding as a packet of biscuits!)
In the first 12 months of operation, we distributed just under 14,000 food and personal hygiene items through our five larder locations, which works out at a little under 1,200 items a month, with an average value per item of about £1.
Our stock range runs to well over 50 products, and the three of the most popular items are bananas, baked beans, and tea bags.
We received or bought: 554 bananas (mostly bought from our grant funds and cash donations); 466 cans of baked beans (nearly 200 were from Fareshare but nearly all the remaining 266 have been donated); and 177 packets of teabags.
And we have distributed: 158 of the packets of teabags; 328 of the cans of beans; and nearly all of the bananas.
We continue improve the way we operate, and to that end we recently ordered a box trailer, using the National Lottery money that we were awarded for this purpose. It will be kept on private land near the church as a secure store for stock.
Regular donations of cash, eggs and other foodstuff from a number of donors keep the larder cupboard and boxes full, and the fresh fruit and vegetable supply continues to be popular with everyone.
We spend around £400 a month on basic groceries, which is more than our regular stream of donations, so we’ll be running another fundraising campaign later in the year.
Teign Climate Hub’s ‘Growing Together’ project has been dropping off trays of salad and vegetable seedlings at the larder locations for people to take and grow on at home. The idea is to encourage everyone to grow more of their own produce, even if it’s just a tray of lettuce or radishes.
I think I speak on behalf of everyone on the Larder’s board of directors when I say that it has been a pleasure meeting new people in the valley through this project. We have only ever met as one big group on our regular Zoom meetings, so even though we won’t be having a party to celebrate our year’s anniversary, I hope we can all meet soon to raise a glass to the community’s success.