Sunday, 19 June 2011

Saturday 18th June 11

A fairly late start, and didn't do anything active until I cycled to the bread shop at midday, and then almost straight away on to St Nicks to the launch of Bearing Fruit, the new project there.

This meeting started at 1pm, in the Environment Centre, with an introduction from Jonathan, one of the Bearing Fruit team and the St Nicks Volunteer Co-ordinator.  The project is a local community orchard, funded by ecominds.  The basic idea is that there will be some fruit and nut trees, and soft fruit, all planted in various places around the nature reserve, and looked after, and available for local people to pick and eat.  The project is a partnership with the Community Recovery Team, and the aim is to help people who've experienced mental health difficulties to recover, using outdoor physical work, which has a value and meaning, and is connected to 'nature' and wildlife, and amongst people who understand the shared difficulties, so fostering a sense of community.

So far the project has done some mapping, looking at existing vegetation, soils and potential sites within St Nicks. A bit of planting has already taken place; however, the fruit trees planted in a recently cleared area next to Melrosegate were snapped off by vandals, and it's only the hidden trees which have survived, a few cherries and rowans in other parts of the site.  We talked about how to reduce the amount of vandalism, and including the local youth who use the site in the planting of trees was one idea, with some attempt at 'ownership', and another was to plant much smaller less conspicuous trees which won't get noticed, and would blend into the background more easily, hopefully escaping the attention of destructive youths.

Dave Broughton from Edible York and Abundance then gave a talk, with the history of the Edible landscape movement and Abundance projects.  He put the York Abundance map up on screen, which I've added to in the past, and said the various new Edible York raised beds would be added.  He told us that last year, between 2 and 3 tonnes of apples were distributed to various homeless shelters, the Red Cross, and at public events, plus some other fruit.  This year the project is going to decentralise and split into more locally run groups (like Planet South Bank and Haxby+Wigginton in Transition, for instance), and that allotment surpluses would be collected too. There's also a 'virtual orchard' planned.

We then had a walk through St Nicks to see the various places where fruit trees, nut trees, soft fruit and native herbs could be planted.  After which there was a chance to chat over the project whilst drinking apple juice and eating cake.

I got home in good time to go to work, at David's. I took him for a walk with him using his walking frame, which he's getting much better at, and then I took him in the wheelchair along to City Screen.  We sat next to some women who were chatting, and it turned out that one of them knew quite a few of David's family, in rural North Yorkshire.  They chatted animatedly and I was very happy.

I had something to eat at the same time as David ate, back at home at about 8pm (I'd brought a pasta salad with me, he had his microwaved fish stuff) and after that I went to Lynn's birthday party, and although I didn't spend long there, I wasn't in a fit state to complete my blog post on the day, so I caught up later in the week.  I really enjoyed the party though, and saw my friends Al, a participant in last year's WNBR, and Philip, whom I haven't seen for ages, and Anna, who thanked me for my support of her in the local paper recently.  I think Lynn enjoyed the party too.

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