J Murphy & Sons has started growing its own vegetables on an allotment close to one of its construction sites in Bristol, with the produce going to the site canteen to help feed site workers.
The contractor is leading the construction of a new 6.5km relief sewer pipeline, connecting Bristol’s existing trunk sewer in Lawrence Weston to the Frome Valley relief sewer near Cribbs Causeway, which will direct waste more efficiently around North Bristol to the Wessex Water recycling centre in Avonmouth.
The majority of the sewer will be constructed by tunnelling underground using a tunnel boring machine, which will run underneath a number of schools and other sensitive buildings, including the M5 motorway and Network Rail’s Henbury Loop freight railway.
The work has involved many members of the team working away from home for long periods of time. Site supervisor, Shaun Brookbanks (pictured above, left, with colleague John Fahy), a keen gardener and beekeeper has helped to set up the site allotment.
Murphy, which had to relocate some of the local allotments as part of the work, secured the space for Brookbanks to use some of the land to start his own vegetable patch after applying for permission from client Wessex Water.
The plot which measures about 30m x 10m, has been cleared of debris, rotovated and crops planted. So far, the team has planted runner beans, lettuce, carrots, turnips, beetroot, Swiss chard, courgette plants and striped tomato plants, spring onions and potatoes.
The harvest has produced enough vegetables to support the on-site canteen, plus leftovers to share with site staff. Meanwhile, the new site chef is a local man, made unemployed due to the covid-19 pandemic.
Brookbanks plans to maintain the site over the winter period and start early spring to make the most of next year’s growing season.