COMMUNITY FUND: Community group in glean up and clean up mission

A community group from Bootle has received a funding boost to help stop unused food from going to waste – by foraging and gleaning local farms and fields.

Taking Root, a project of Stanley Road-based Regenerus, has received almost £8000 from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority Community Fund for The Big Community Glean Up – a project which is looking to stop food waste and to ensure good food gets into the hands of those who need it the most.

The word ‘glean’ is an old Celtic word which means to gather or scrape together and refers to the practice of going over the fields after harvest to collect any grain the farmer may have missed. Regenerus are working with the national organisation Feedback Global and farmers in Liverpool City Region, Cheshire and Lancashire to ensure that the produce farms don’t sell isn’t wasted. Instead, with the permission of the landowner or farmer, volunteers are able to pick fresh fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be disposed of or left to rot.

As part of the Big Community Glean Up volunteers are shown how to successfully forage for the food at farms, as well as community gardens and public spaces, then learn about the different ways to preserve and cook the produce at food workshops.

Ruth Livesey, Business Development Manager at Regenerus, said: “So far in November we have gleaned cabbage, cauliflowers, winter veg, onions and pumpkins.  Due to Covid-19 safety restrictions we have had to change our plans a little and go to fields in small groups rather than the minibus of volunteers we originally intended. However, the end result has been the same – the fresh produce we glean is distributed to local residents with the help of South Sefton Foodbank and community organisations back in Bootle where it is eaten and enjoyed.”

Regenerus were awarded the funding in August of this year, however the Covid-19 pandemic has forced various delays in delivery. This means the project has until June 2021 to be completed. By the end Regenerus hope to have rescued over a tonne of food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of MRWA, said: “The whole idea behind the Community Fund is that there are local groups out there delivering recycling, reuse and waste prevention projects on the ground that we ourselves wouldn’t be able to. Using their knowledge of the subject and local areas they can make a real impact on people’s lives for the better. The Big Community Glean Up by Renegerus is a great example of this.”

Ruth Livesey, Business Development Manager at Regenerus, continued: “We are looking forward to 2021 when we will hopefully be able to take larger groups along to our gleaning expeditions, and bring back lots more fresh food which we will be sharing out at our community cook and eat events.”


Notes to editors:

  • Photo captions:

MRWA_TAKING ROOT1 – The Taking Root team on a glean at a local farm for cabbages

MRWA_TAKING ROOT2 – Taking Root team volunteer Andrew Craig foraging at an Ormskirk farm for cabbages that may otherwise have gone to waste.

MRWA_TAKING ROOT3 – The Taking Root team with boxes of gleaned cabbages that may otherwise have gone to waste.

  • A spokesperson from Taking Root/Regenerus is available for further comment if requested.
  • Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. Established in 1986 following the abolition of Merseyside County Council, it is a statutory Authority that works with all the local authorities on Merseyside – Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. MRWA takes a lead in advocating recycling, waste minimisation and safe and effective disposal of waste for Merseyside residents.
  • The MRWA and Veolia Community Fund 2020/21 has seen 15 community groups from Merseyside and Halton share £150,000 to help make the region a cleaner and greener place. The financial support will see the groups help reduce household waste, encourage recycling and resource re-use, and prevent carbon emissions.
  • The MRWA and Veolia Community Fund 2021/22 is anticipated to launch in February 2021.