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Community Gardens & Garden Share
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Stratford Harvest Share got under way on Saturday 17 August when a team of volunteers picked early apples (and a few early plums) in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, near Stratford upon Avon.
The team picked 80 kilos of fruit – mainly Beauty of Bath, a variety which was prized by the Victorians for ripening in July. The delayed harvest this year meant we were picking in mid-August, about three weeks late. The fruit has gone to make the first juice of the season, while the plums have already been turned into jam.
There’s a good crop of fruit on the trees – in particular, apples – but most of it is still far from ripe. There’ll be some good harvests as we get into September and October, but at the moment, pickings are still quite small.
If you would like to take part in Harvest Share, volunteers are needed for picking – Wednesday mornings, Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings – and for sorting and distribution on Monday mornings. Contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 if you would like to help.
Stratford Growing Together, a proposal by Transition Stratford to improve access to local food for people in Stratford upon Avon, is one of 11 projects chosen from 70 initial applications to go through to the second and final round of the £1 million Community Challenge organised by Stratford Town Trust.
The Stratford Growing Together project aims to combine a community “market garden” with special provision for vulnerable people and outreach to help people take up growing opportunities wherever they live in Stratford.
Transition Stratford Chair James Pavitt, who already runs a small-scale community garden in the middle of the town, said: “We are extremely pleased that the Community Challenge panel has selected out Stratford Growing Together project for further development. Our aim is to increase local access to healthy, affordable food, bring together people of all ages and abilities in shared activities, as well as offering practical experience of food growing.”
Final applications for Community Challenge funding have to be submitted to the Town Trust by 22 October. “We’ll be working hard over the next few months to put together the detailed plans for a project which will bring benefits to a significant number of local people,” said James.
For more information about Stratford Community Growing, contact Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our fruit trees may be dormant in the cold weather, but Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme has been active over the winter with planting new trees and pruning older ones.
The planting has taken place in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has provided a number of young apple trees to fill gaps in the orchard layout. The trees are mostly heritage varieties, including Leathercoat – mentioned by Shakespeare in Henry IV, Harvey – first recorded in 1629 – and Foxwhelp – a cider apple first described by the writer John Evelyn in 1664. The Trust has also planted new trees itself at the orchards at Mary Arden’s Farm.
In addition to planting, Harvest Share volunteers have also pruned nearly 50 trees in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews said: “It’s been some years since trees in the orchard were regularly pruned, so we’ve only made a start this year. There are another 80 trees, including some of the largest in the orchard, which still need pruning – and some of those trees we’ve pruned this year will need further work next winter.”
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, which collects fruit which would otherwise not be harvested and puts it to good use, was the largest scheme of its type in the country over the last two years. Click here for further information – or contact us to get involved.
Transition Stratford is backing a new community growing initiative – Five Acre Community Farm, a community supported agriculture (CSA) scheme based at Garden Organic’s site at Ryton, near Coventry.
Five Acre Community Farm aims to produce local and seasonal organic vegetables – and to involve people in the growing. Based on five acres of land at the back of Ryton Gardens, Garden Organic’s headquarters, the CSA is a membership organisation, offering the opportunity to become engaged in growing as well as benefiting from the farm’s round-the-year vegetables!
Transition Stratford’s Facilitator, James Pavitt, said: “Transition Stratford is committed to the principle of local food. We run a Garden Share scheme to help people without gardens get the opportunity to grow their own and Harvest Share, a project to make sure loacl fruit is gathered and put to good uses. Five Acre Community Farm is a great initiative that’s not too far from us, so we are keen to support it!”
For more information about Five Acre Community Farm, see its Facebook pages at http://www.facebook.com/events/183291165140230/#!/Five.Acre.Community.Farm.