AN INITIATIVE offering fresh produce for free is expanding to work in conjunction with a foodbank.

The High Grow project has grown herbs and vegetables in more than 70 small plots across Darlington, free for members of the public to pick and take home.

It is now expanding to work with the King’s Church Foodstore on Whessoe Road, which provides vulnerable people with food parcels.

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Michael Hall, who leads the High Grow team, said: “Very soon Darlington will have one of the first foodstores in the country offering fresh produce to those in need.

“We are working with the staff at King’s Church so that they can grow and provide fresh fruit and veg for their clients, alongside the non-perishable goods currently available, to encourage them to grow their own food and enjoy the healthy and thrifty aspects of fresh produce.”

The High Grow initiative will provide the foodstore with compost and planters to enable volunteers and staff to grow their own fruit and veg.

Lisa March, the manager of the King’s Church Foodstore, said: “This will help us to put freshly grown produce into our food store to give to our clients.

“We are very grateful for all the donations we get but this will let us grow our own fresh food and it doesn’t only benefit us and our clients but it helps to use a bit of space that is going to waste.

“We’ll be starting quite small but if this is a success, we may apply for an allotment next year to carry it on.”

The foodstore also accepts donations of fresh produce. Anyone with excess produce from their own gardens or allotments can donate it to the foodstore by calling 01325 469884.