Five young Bath farmers are officially the bees knees when it comes to protecting the city’s pollinators, according to the region’s directly elected Mayor Dan Norris.
Middle Ground Growers, who provide seasonal veg boxes from their 16-acre farm on Broadmoor Lane for over 160 families every week, scooped one of the 2023 Bee Bold Awards celebrating the very best bee buddies going above and beyond to help the West’s food heroes.
The ‘local eco farmers’ beat off competition from dozens of entries to win an award for their really impressive project to create a unique bee-friendly farming model - driven by the vision and leadership of their five 20 and 30-something co-founders, and a whole host of pollinator-loving volunteers, trainees and their team of growers.
The young farmers' vision is to continue providing fresh food for the Bath and NE Somerset’s community while supporting the area’s bees and other wildlife at the same time.
Ahead of Organic September, Mr Norris will check out their 16-acre farm turned into a pollinator’s paradise - including the 800 fruit and nut trees on site and acres of blooming wildflower meadow bursting with colour at the outer edges of the farm - when he meets co-growers and founders Hamish Evans (25); Xavier Hamon (37); Olivia Rhodes (33); Sammy Elmore (29) and Sam Rudd (30) next week.
The Mayor will learn how the pollinator-pal farmers have even taken steps to scrap all single use plastic packaging used and bee-harming chemicals on site and in their supply chains, to name but a few environment and bee-friendly actions. And they have even started delivering their veg boxes to the local community via e-cargo bikes charged from solar power – all generated on the farm!
But the young eco-conscious farmers aren’t stopping there, thanks to support from Mr Norris and his West of England Mayoral Authority. There are bigger and bolder plans to create more wildflowers, wetlands, pollinator trails for the whole community to enjoy on site, as well as help to support other farms in the area to become pollinator paradises as part of the radical 'Pollinate Avon' project.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Bees and pollinators are amazing - their hard work means we have fresh fruit and veg to eat year-round, plus they keep our precious countryside looked after.
“It has been fantastic seeing the impact of projects like those led by Middle Ground Growers - a really worthy winner in my Bee Bold Awards. This is a unique, and really quite exciting project and organisation – feeding people across Bath and the wider region, but doing that in a way which supports bees and other pollinator superheroes at the same time.
“Plus, my Mayoral Combined Authority is going to help them with their big and bold plans for the future to create more pollinator paradise farms in the West of England. It just goes to show not only that these awards will, I am sure, inspire others to take action, but that thanks to projects like this one, we are taking the steps necessary to make our amazing West of England the bee and pollinator capital of the whole country.”
Middle Ground Growers co-founder, Hamish Evans, added: "‘We’re really excited to witness the increasing biodiversity on this land as we move towards ecological food abundance on our farm – food for nature, for humans, for everyone.
"And we're really buzzing to be working with the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority and the Pollinate Avon project to facilitate more wildlife abundance on our site whilst working with other amazing land stewards in the valley.
"Our four objectives as Middle Ground Growers are to: Cultivate, Regenerate, Educate and – last but not least - Pollinate. We can take inspiration from our flying friends, giving life with each of their actions, and choose to become a force for good in this bioregion, and make it the pollinator capital of the country together."