Cultivating diversity

When talking about sustainable and resilient food systems ‘diversity’ is a key word and an underlying theme. Diversity is important when talking about seeds, growing systems, community skills, approaches to distributing and cooking food, the people involved and approaches to healthy and sustainable diets.

Around Lancaster we have a great range of projects seeking to increase the diversity of our local food system, two of which are based at Claver Hill community food project: Transition’s edible plant nursery and Lancaster’s seed library beds.

community nursery fenceTransition’s edible plant nursery aims to raise a range of fruit trees and bushes which are then given to community food projects to plant in public spaces around the district – supporting our vibrant community food movement. As part of this work a number of local heritage fruit varieties are being cultivated and grafting skills are passed on to budding new growers.

A number of community work days and skill share sessions are also run through the nursery, the next of which will be a fruit pruning and grafting day.

On Sunday 24th February 2019 from 11:00 – 12:30 a fruit bush pruning and propagation workshop will be run at Claver Hill. This will be followed by an afternoon apple and pear tree grafting session from 13:30-15:00. Everyone is welcome to attend – just let us know by emailing [email protected]

Transition’s nursery currently has a number of fruit trees in need of homes (Trees should ideally be planted during the winter months). If your street, club, school or church would like to start a small community orchard, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

seed savingLancaster’s seed library is cultivating diversity by developing local skills and a network around seed saving – creating a variety of locally adapted seed for sharing and growing.

A number of raised beds at Claver Hill are given to growing plants specifically for seed, including quinoa, rainbow corn, beetroot, dill, white poppies, giant sunflowers and a variety of beans. Once the seeds have ripened they are collected, dried and sorted, and are then put in the seed library cabinets in Lancaster’s central library. Local growers can then borrow and swap this seed with some of their own saved seed.

If you are interested in helping with this project email [email protected]

 

Alternatively you could attend Lancaster’s annual Potato Day on Saturday 26th January at the Friends Meeting House. The seed library will be there along with a range of organic seed potatoes, community food stalls and a world food cafe.

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