A WINCHESTER business providing vegetable boxes is launching a market garden to meet the demand for good value, fresh and healthy produce during the cost-of-living crisis.

Hampshire Veg Box, in Winnall, is opening a two-acre market garden to create a more resilient food system and grow more of the produce it supplies.

Seb Mayfield, who co-founded the veg box scheme during the pandemic, said “We started to give greater access to locally grown veg for local people in a convenient way. Since then we have continued to see the harmful effects of long, centralised supply chains both to the environment and our food security. The new market garden will ensure greater food security for the people in this area and I can’t wait to get going.”

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John Mclaren, who runs the veg box operations in Winchester, has seen people struggle more over the last two years as many have had to weigh up healthy food versus the cost of living.

He said: “Growing our own crops, to be able to fill the bags each week will enable us to share even better value but still superbly fresh, healthy vegetables with our great customers, and we look forward to being able to invite everyone down to see us in our new home.”

The veg box team has partnered with Rushmere Farm, in Hambledon, to start an initial two-acre market garden that will produce organic vegetables including salad, kale, tomatoes, beetroot, spring onions, chard, cucumbers, cabbage and so much more. Locals will also be able to get involved in events, volunteer days and farm tours.

As well as sourcing more of their own vegetables, the market garden community interest company will supply local pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Chris and John of Hampshire Veg BoxChris and John of Hampshire Veg Box (Image: Stuart Martin)

Chris Huskins, who recently ran a farm in Sussex will be heading up the new market garden. He said: “The link between how our food is grown, how the soil is treated, the taste of the food, and nutritional value it has, has been studied and recognised all over the world.

"With Hampshire Market Garden, we will not only grow food more locally, reducing the carbon footprint of the food you eat, but will also be able to show that food grown in a regenerative and organic way without chemical inputs or toxic pesticides not only tastes better, but is also much much better for your health.”

The market garden in Hambledon will start this month with the support of LEAP (Loans for Enlightened Agriculture Programme) and will be producing its own organic food available from June this year.

For more information go to hampshiremarketgarden.co.uk/.