Food Forest Project: Building a sustainable shelter for the community

Tristan Faith, founder of the Food Forest Project, explains how a £2,500 grant from The Somerset Fund helped build a sustainable shelter to nurture love for local nature.

“We set up the Food Forest Project to address the dual issues of food poverty and biodiversity loss through local wild spaces where people could harvest their own food. But when the pandemic, and subsequent cost-of-living crisis hit, we knew we had to do more. We had to diversify what we did because the local need became so great. So, we’ve been busy setting up projects like our Food Bank Market Garden. It’s a space where staff and volunteers help grow free produce for local food banks.

We’ve always been very, very grateful for the support that we get from The Somerset Fund – it’s invaluable. We were able to use the funds to build a shelter on our Worthington Woods site. Local Cubs and Beavers, as well as volunteers, use the space to learn more about the natural world. Worthington Woods is in a rural area, next to a social housing estate. It’s used by the community to grow free food, but also to teach children and other groups about the merits of biodiversity and producing food in harmony with nature.

The groups use the shelter as a welcome space where they can sit and discuss what they’re learning. It really diversifies the woods and makes them accessible to more people – whatever the weather. It opens up the site so people aren’t as exposed to the elements.

The groups that use it say they love the way they can get their hands in the soil. For instance, the other week Guides were learning about how the soil works and they could see first-hand our wood chip and how we mulch the area. That kind of understanding is invaluable since we’re rapidly losing our soil fertility. With the shelter the kids have a space where they can get out in nature and it just kindles a sense of connection with their environment. That’s vital for the future.”


Impact Story details

Date awarded:September 2023
Grant size:£2,500

Funding Programme:The Somerset Fund

What was the grant for?To build a shelter at Worthington Woods site