Sunday, 23 October 2011

Inspiration and community food projects

Yesterday I went to our local library - which handily for me is pretty much across the road from us - to collect a book I'd ordered The thrifty forager by Alys Fowler. After a busy day of cooking and working at home I settled down on the sofa to read...and a couple of hours later retired to bed hugely inspired and excited.

The first section of the book covers Alys's own foraging experiences and community projects that encourage people to forage for what is available around these cases not so much wild food but locally growing fruit and intentially planted veg, herbs and fruit at Incredible Edbile Todmorden.

This is a very exciting project I keep reading about and seeing on tv and online and must visit for myself one of these days. Alys talks about how it developed and where they are now, with people taking on the care for and explaining the produce in particular areas.

I don't have time to work and do a community project I had thought...and yet....our local library developed a produce stall for allotment growers to take along their surplus...and people take what they fancy and leave a donation for the library. I've been taking things along - like tubs of whitecurrants, red cabbage, primrose yellow french beans, and trays of multi-coloured cherry tomatoes with a sprig of basil in each. I loved preparing them....and it gave me such a lift when they were admired, and when I bumped into someone I know and they said they'd had some of my curly kale...I felt so proud. Yesterday, a lady who works as a volunteer in the library asked if it was me who brought along the trays of tomatoes...and told me she thought they were so beautiful she had taken a photo of them. I was thrilled...and it made me realise how life-affirming this is.

One of the growers in Ays's book is an Englishman who lives in Norway and has researched an amazing number of edibles, and created a fantastic edible landscape in his garden ...

Another is Fallen Fruit in the US - who have mapped fruit that is available...and have public jam making sessions to encourage people to get to grips with it!