Incredible Edible Winchester: The effectiveness of Produce Boxes

As a third year Education Studies student at The University of Winchester, I have now commenced my final year in Winchester. Amongst the chaos that comes with the beginning of the academic year and the haze of fretting over deadlines and dissertations, something interesting caught my eye on the daily commute to university. As a regular passenger from Winchester Station, there was something decisively different among the platforms this year in the form of several planters with edible produce inside.

On one of the rare occasions that I wasn’t running for a train or hurrying to a lecture, I took a moment to investigate further into the curious boxes at the station. On that day, I found that mint leaves, parsley and marigold flowers were available free to anyone who wished to take them. After helping myself to some mint to make myself some mint tea…(or perhaps it was Mojito’s), I took some time to research where exactly the planters came from and what their intention was.

I found that Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) was the charity that adopted the initiative and worked to introduce them into the Winchester community. The boxes are aimed to be an incentive to educate and encourage the consumption of sustainable foods. It got me into thinking ‘who is using these boxes and are they making the impact that they perhaps should’? Yes they are showing people what they can grow and how easily it can be done but for (probably) busy city workers are this really the incentives they need in order to grow their own produce and buy locally sourced sustainable foods… probably not.

As we all know, adult life can be demanding and busy and there is usually little scope for anything other than convenience. However, if we learnt the consequences of our own actions at a young age these could then inform our habits and really make an impact. I understand that the majority of schools run similar initiatives but are they practicing what they preach? Every single school across the country host a food outlet of some form meaning there is incredible scope to both educate and excite children about growing, using and eating home grown or locally grown food. But yet this opportunity is not utilised in most.

Personally, I do not condemn the introduction of these initiatives and it’s a fun way to engage the public about the importance of sustainable food and where it comes from but I do believe this process should start younger in order to make an impact that the world will really thank us for.

….Just some food for thought (pardon the pun)