Fruit Routes – Foraging on Campus

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Fruit Routes is one of the initiatives contributing to a celebration of gardens, growing, wellbeing and creativity across Loughborough this coming weekend. The project wants to connect with staff, students and local people. There are two days of public events happening on the 10th & 11th June. Here’s the story behind this fascinating and engaging project, plus details of the events.

The vision of Fruit Routes, a project on Loughborough University campus,  is to plant fruit, nut trees and edible plants along footpaths and cycle paths across the campus creating a spring snowfall of blossom and an autumnal abundance of fresh fruits and berries for harvesting, eating and distributing. Different varieties of pears, plums, damsons, greengages, hazels, almonds, apples and hedgerow species suited to the local environment and the changing climate will be planted with and cared for by people who live, work and pass through these places providing an annual feast for years to come. Fruit Routes provides an enriched habitat for people, plants, insects and animals as well as a location for cultural activities and outdoor learning for all to share.

Fruit Routes started in 2011 and is currently focused on a 1km route or ribbon orchard planted around the West part of campus with around 150 new fruit trees of many different varieties.  Currently there are 3 or 4 events each year on the route, attended by a mix of local people, staff and students from around the world.

These include foraging walks, back-to-back walks where people of different disciplines offer their perspective on the Fruit Route (i.e. bat walk, moth trapping, barefoot blindfold dawn event, artist-led insect tracking) harvesting and fruit pressing, planting and pruning and one off events like tasseography (reading tea leaves) and wild teas in the orchard. This makes the rhythm of the year.  This year a new map was produced that gives details of the varieties, where they are planted. Maps are available on campus or from Facilities Management or by getting in touch directly with the project. The team were delighted to be winners of the Guardian University Sustainable Project Award for 2014.

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The project promotes creativity and wellbeing both in terms of wildlife and biodiversity (wellbeing of the ecosystem) and wellbeing for people in terms of encouraging walking, outdoor activity and local, healthy fresh, fruit and a sense of community.

On Saturday 11th June there will be a walk around the route followed by a shared brunch in the yurt provided by local café Patisserie Bom Bom. Just turn up, no booking required.

On Friday 10th June you can visit the on-campus apiary with Jo Shields the University sustainability manager and beekeeper, participate in a the creation of a collective poem or just pop in and pick up a map and try some wild tea and scones on the Fruit Route

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO ALL

See www.fruitroutesloughborough.wordpress.com for more info on this great project and these events, how to reserve a place for the poetry event or apiary visit.

Or contact Anne-Marie Culhane the designer & co-ordinator of Fruit Routes Loughborough

mail@amculhane.co.uk

Follow on Twitter @fruitroutes

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