About The F3 Project
We are a community of volunteers in Salisbury who want to help those who have been affected by the steep rise in cost of living. Our goal is to provide free fruits and vegetables for people who are struggling to make ends meet during this economic downturn.
It began in mid 2022 when we saw the queues outside the Salisbury Pantry and realised for the first time the very real hardship that was being experienced by a wide range of people affected by the steep rise in energy and the cost of living. As the situation was almost certainly to get worse we decided to try and help.
Talking to the manager of the Pantry it was clear that she needed a regular source of fruit and vegetables. In order to bring both problem and solution to the attention of residents we needed somewhere to grow produce near the city centre and not tucked away in a distant allotment. Using Google Earth we found an ideal spot at Chafyn Grove School in Bourne Avenue.
We have not acheived all this on our own and we at F3 are most grateful for the financial support we have received. Both Salisbury city Council and Wiltshire Council provided the capital to kick start the project. Tesco have helped throughout with everything from tools to coffee and the local Catholic congregation as well as kind individuals have raised funds to keep us going.
As we approach the next phase of our endeavours we have been most fortunate to obtain a grant from the National Lottery which we hope will allow us to double last year’s production.
When we approached the headmaster, he was more than helpful and with the aid of their Head Groundsman soon marked out an area on the southern edge of the campus. We decided to invest in a good size shed so our tools could be kept dry and safe. It was also somewhere nice to have coffee when it was too cool to sit outside.
We applied for an Area Board Grant that enabled us to purchase the timber for the raised beds and we started ordering seeds and fruit bushes. We also invested in three large compost bins as the state of the soil is our No.1 priority. We enjoy a good relationship with The Salisbury Pantry: the manager comes to garden at F3 and we in turn recycle their vegetable waste.
Whilst all this was happening, Kee were working on a logo, website and access to e-mail and social media. F3 started out as shorthand for Free Fresh Food but the name has stuck and the logo reflects this aim.
Climate change has rendered many gardening text-books obsolete and both the farming and horticulture worlds have realised that many past practices have done a disservice to the land and we need to return to a more wholesome approach to producing food. F3 is now affiliated to the RHS and we lean heavily on them for advice. We are using both an Organic and a No-dig approach.
This sea-change in quality food production is also reflected in what is being marketed and cooked. Several of our volunteers are so keen on this aspect that we will be producing nutritional information and recipes to accompany produce.
Recently, Chafyn Grove School have offered us half of their Educational Garden and the use of their greenhouse to raise seedlings. This extra space relieves pressure on the main plot which means that we can plant fruit trees instead of cordons to give a bigger yield.
Our initial grant has almost been spent so we shall soon start fund-raising. Part of this is the local lottery which can benefit the garden each time supporters participate. We will also be apply for more grants, possibly in tandem with The Pantry.