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Advice on organising volunteer drivers and vehicles

Hi there. I have been recommended to get in touch with Fiona Bell. I have been a volunteer coordinator of an Edible Garden. It has been in the grounds of a primary school in Bridport, Dorset, for eight years. It is all about education - teaching children about how to grow and cook food as well as providing fresh fruit and veg for the school kitchen. Many of the families are vulnerable. This year is different! On 23rd March only key worker and vulnerable kids remained in school. Come the end of term a glut stall began with allotment keepers and the Edible Garden giving away spare produce. In September the stall moved to another town site. The project mushroomed and now is connected to several community food groups and an independent Fridge. In these times (permanent?) of food poverty this stall is very busy and links to other centres. To deliver produce, we rely on one volunteer who has a large car. Have you, at Crop Drop, experience on how to organise more volunteer drivers and vehicles to take part in this distribution ?


Fiona Bell
Hi Sarah

This sounds brilliant - what a success for the Edible Garden and an achievement for you - and the school - especially to create such a positive contribution in these challenging times.

We have experience with volunteer drivers and vehicles - both from CropDrop and from the team's previous experiences with Foodcycle hubs in Bath and Exeter, a Bread4Breakfast project Joe and I ran in 2016 and the Community Fridge in Keynsham, which opened in March 2020 (initially for 2 weeks only!).
I have also visited several 'collect & redistribute' projects round the country, which use volunteer drivers and vehicles.

Is your question about all aspects of volunteer driving - insurance, Health & Safety (Food Hygiene, manual handling, etc), volunteer driver recruitment, volunteer driver management, Volunteer Management system(s) for driver rota and/or management information recording ?
or one aspect in particular?
The most immediate thought I have is, if you haven't done already, ask your volunteer with the large car to contact their car insurance company to advise them that the car is being used to transport produce for a charity. It should not affect the policy premium but these days it is highly recommended to ensure that a volunteer's car insurance company is aware of this type of use.

Happy to do further Q&A on here, via email or speak on the phone. CarbonCopy's Andy has connected us via email.

Meanwhile it would be great to share your experiences of the Edible Garden in the school setting. CropDrop has plans to work with 7 local primary schools in 2021:
- exploring what is possible for growing spaces on the school sites,
- sharing tables with produce from allotments and
- considering growing award schemes (eg RHS, Soil Association and Organic Growing Association).
We have been working with Rosie Havers, author of the free YouTube channel Vidigrow, aimed at primary teachers - "School gardening made simple".

What inspired your Edible Garden initiative?
What would your recommendations be to someone starting an Edible Garden in a primary school now? Do you have any experience of a growing award scheme?

Look forward to exchanging information!

Fiona Bell, Bath and North East Somerset

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