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.
Work for the 2013 fruit harvest will begin early this year, when Harvest Share volunteers start work on winter maintenance in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust property in Shottery.
The orchard is the largest single contributor to Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme, providing nearly half the crop in 2011. But many of the 200 trees in the orchard are in need of pruning – and there are also gaps where new trees can be planted. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has recently purchased a number of traditional fruit varieties for plantings in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and in orchards at Mary Arden’s Farm.
The first work session is scheduled to take place on Saturday 12 January, starting at 10.30 am. And there will be further sessions on the mornings of Wednesday 16 January, Saturday 9 February, Wednesday 20 February, Saturday 9 March and Wednesday 20 March.
For more details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
We were all saddened to hear of the sudden and unexpected death of Hugh Chatwin on 6th July.
Hugh was one of the founder members of Transition Stratford and a member of Transition Stratford’s Steering Group from its earliest days.
He was always actively interested in new things and new ideas. He was always willing to help with whatever needed doing. He was always kind. He will be greatly missed.
Hugh’s funeral will take place in the Guild Chapel, on the corner of Chapel Lane and Church Street, Stratford upon Avon, on Tuesday 24th July at 2.00 pm.
An artwork made from throw-away plastic will be created in Stratford upon Avon’s Bancroft Gardens this weekend to mark the end of Transition Stratford’s Plastic Challenge.
The Plastic Challenge, a two week programme through which people try to reduce the day-to-day plastic in their lives, was launched by sustainability group Transition Stratford on Saturday 12 May. In its first week people have collected the plastic coming home in their shopping baskets to see how much they are buying and where it comes from. In the second week, starting Saturday 19 May, people have been seeing what they can do to reduce this plastic.
And the plastic they have collected, together with other donated plastic, will be used to create a temporary artwork on the Bancroft Gardens this Saturday 26 May. Led by Shipston-based artist Matt Geden, the assembly of the artwork will start at 10.00 am and will be on display until the end of the afternoon, when it will dismantled and the plastic sorted for recycling.
In addition to the artwork, Transition Stratford will be running a stall providing information about plastic – where it comes from, how it’s used, and what happens when it’s thrown away – as well as about the Plastic Challenge itself. There will also be an information display about recycling by Stratford-on-Avon District Council, as well as information from Stratford Friends of the Earth and WEAVE, the Leamington-based creative recycling centre.
Hundreds of people enjoyed the glorious sunshine last weekend – Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October – when they visited Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share stand at the Apple Days event at Mary Arden’s Farm in Wilmcote.
Visitors saw apple juice being made using Transition Stratford’s apple press – and enjoyed themselves by sampling the results! They also had the opportunity to buy apple juice, jams and chutneys made from fruit collected by the Harvest Share scheme – and everything sold out by Sunday afternoon.
There was also great interest – especially from children – in a display of over 50 apples currently in fruit in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where Harvest Share volunteers collect fruit every Saturday morning. Leaflets about Harvest Share and other food projects run by Transition Stratford disappeared as quickly as the Harvest Share produce.
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme collects unwanted fruit from gardens and orchards in and around Stratford upon Avon and distributes it free to local care homes and children’s groups, as well as arranging for surpluses to be processed and preserved. Since the 2011 scheme started in August, over 2 tonnes of local fruit have been saved from waste by the scheme.
With over 1.5 tonnes of local fruit so far saved from waste by Harvest Share, there will be a chance to find out more about the scheme at the Apple Days at Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October.
Transition Stratford will be running a stall on both days which will give more details about Harvest Share’s progress this year – as well as showing some of the varieties of apples we have found at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. There will also be opportunities to buy jams and juices made from fruit collected by Harvest Share over the past two months – and live demonstrations of apple pressing.
Transition Stratford’s stall be one of three dozen stalls, exhibitions and events at the Apple Days. For more information about the Apple Days and Mary Arden’s Farm, see the website of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust www.shakespeare.org.uk.
The founder of the international Fair Trade Town movement will be speaking in Stratford on Wednesday 28 September in support of Fair Trade in Stratford.
Bruce Crowther led the group which set up the first ever Fair Trade Town in Garstang, Lancashire, in 2000. There are now over 1,000 Fair Trade Towns in 34 countries around the world.
Bruce will be speaking about his experience, including work to help set up Fair Trade Towns in other countries, at a public meeting at Stratford Quakers Meeting House, 37 Maidenhead Road, Stratford upon Avon CV 37 6XT.
The meeting, which will start at 7.30, will also discuss how best to organise Fair Trade activities in Stratford.
Transition Stratford’s Harvest Share scheme has collected around three-quarters of a tonne of fruit in its first month – with 90 per cent being passed on to organisations which can make good use of it.
The scheme, which collects fruit from gardens and orchards in and around Stratford upon Avon, was launched on 1 August. Since then over 700 kilos of fruit has been collected at twelve picking sessions, and nearly 630 kilos has been distributed to local care homes and children’s centres, with surpluses going to local preserves makers.
“We have collected about 350 kilos of plums and damsons during August,” said Harvest Share organiser Roger Matthews. “The plum season is now over, but apples are now ready to pick, and we expect to be picking over 200 kilos a week over the next month if the weather stays fine.”
Over 40 volunteers have helped so far with picking, sorting and delivery. The most popular sessions are Saturday mornings 10.00 – 12.00 in the orchard at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where anyone is welcome to turn up to help with the picking. “We’ve already collected over 300 kilos of fruit from Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and expect to be gathering much more in the next few weeks as the apples become ready to pick,” said Roger Matthews.
Other picking sessions take place on Wednesday mornings 10.00 – 12.00 and Thursday afternoons 2.00 – 4.00 in various locations. For details of opportunities to help, phone Transition Stratford on 01789 298503.
Volunteers are also needed to help with sorting and delivery on Monday mornings 10.00 – 12.00. Phone Transition Stratford on 01789 298503 for more details.