Lancaster District is a great place for community gardens and for shared community orchards.
For people who don’t have a garden or just have a yard, community gardens are a great way to get out and get involved in growing. Many people who already have their own gardens join in as well because they enjoy the community spirit and because they know that together we can grow a much wider range of fruit and vegetables (compared to if you just grew on your own).
Fairfield community orchard, near Lancaster’s train station, was probably the first community orchard in Lancaster. Their inspiring project has now resulted in more orchards and gardens being set up across the district. Scotch Quarry Park now has a thriving community garden which includes fruit trees and fruit bushes and the Ridge estate has a community orchard growing around the west side. Greaves forage garden is also developing nicely and offers a range of soft and hard fruit and even a few grapes.
As well as tasting great freshly picked, local fruit and vegetables save us all huge food and therefore carbon miles. Better a Lancaster grown apple or pear than one shipped and trucked from Chile or New Zealand.
To support and encourage all this community growing a new project is underway up at Claver Hill.
A community edible plant nursery is being established to graft and grow fruit trees and bushes so that they can be given for planting in yet more public spaces around the district. The nursery is a shared effort between Transition City Lancaster, Incredible Edibles and Claver Hill. And it is an effort!
As fruit trees need to be planted during the dormant months in the winter, a group of volunteers have been working very hard indeed to prepare the nursery – through wind, rain and sunshine! Lancaster Environmental Fund [LEF] have been very generous in giving us a grant to buy the materials and so we want to thank them for this. We also want to thank all the many volunteers who have worked so hard and so happily through the winter and everyone who have given us trees and bushes for the nursery.
Once the site is complete there will be a much needed celebration – watch this space for details of when. We will then start providing trees and bushes to new community growing spaces. Maybe your street, club or church would like to start a small community orchard? It’s a good time to start talking about the possibilities: apples, pears, plums and damsons all grow well in Lancaster…