Incredible Edible Totnes is an inspired bunch of people getting veggies and edibles growing in public and unused spaces in Totnes for the common plate.
The potential veggie output of even small spaces is huge. Whether you believe in access to land for all, re-localising our food supply and avoiding packaging, cutting down on food miles and oil use, or just happily overturning the supermarkets' strangle-hold on our food system...the time is ripe for getting planting!
The planters near Steamer Quay have been some of the first places the work has started... now there are sites at the Rockery near the Rugby club and the station platform.
For more info contact Wendy on 01803 868305 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Get involved - get growing together with others - and let's take local food production into the heart of the Totnes community. See calendar for regular work/play days.
A new Orchard Link project began in early 2016 - click below for notes from the first meeting, held in December 2015.
Winter timetable, Nov 2015 - Feb 2016:
Steamer Quay - first Thursday of each month, 12.30- 2pm, from November 5th
Rockery/station/Atmos - third Saturday of each month, 10am - 12.30pm, from November 21st
Look out for tree-planting days around town, of 100 new trees, in memory of WWI
Autumn statement from Wendy:
We've seen the end of our 'Grow Your Own Vegetables and Fruit' workshops that have been running in two gardens in Totnes during the 2015 growing season, from March-September. There have been some enthusiastic attendees at these monthly workshops, and more pooling of knowledge about growing our own food, and we shared tasty produce. We lost two teachers during these months. Ross Adams moved to Scotland, and our much-treasured John Comben died in August. I know how much John was missed. We will be planting a memorial heart nut tree in his name in Follaton arboretum on Sunday December 6th - contact Wendy (see above) to find out where in the arboretum.
Right is a picture of some of us between very productive almond and sweet chestnut trees along the edge of Elmhirst playing field. The highlight of these few hours spent together going round fruit and nut trees in this part of town (some planted as long as 7 years ago) was to see the excitement of children and appreciation of many adults at the big harvests of almonds and apples and pears now coming from these trees. An older woman walked past us weighed down by her harvest of almonds, looking forward to sharing them with others at Christmas! A small boy ran past me clutching a couple of pears to take to his home. It really lifts my spirits to see these things, and evidence of much cracking of hazelnuts from the litter of broken shells along the pathways in Meadow Close.
During October we have enjoyed painting some of the planters full of edible plants down on Steamer quay with 'Thank you' in six languages. See who can guess them all when you go down there! For us, this was a gesture of appreciation of the abundance of the fruits of the earth.
St John's School council (12 children from all classes of the school) came round some of the sites where we have planted trees in Bridgetown, and helped me put up new sign-boards for better signing of the trees in Bridgetown, made for us by the Landworks project on the Dartington estate. They were an enthusiastic bunch of helpers with this task, and also were surprised to find the odd-looking objects on some of the trees actually contained walnuts and almonds, not easily recognisable in their soft outer cases. They will paint signs to put on these boards.
The Apple stall at the Eco-Homes fair was a last-minute event arranged by Roy Wilkinson, as we had not managed to organise an apple pressing this year, due to unprecedented demand on the Orchard Link macerators! (So many community orchards in South Hams now.) Instead, there was a fine display stall at the Eco-Homes fair in the Civic hall, of apples harvested from Colwell Wood, and some of the nuts and fruit gathered by the St John's schoolchildren in Bridgetown, with stories behind many of the apple varieties. We were assisted in publicity for this by a new volunteer, Laura, whose design abilities are much appreciated by us already.
Annual review of TTT Fruit and Nut tree and Incredible Edible projects, May 2014-April 2015
At last some of our orchards are bearing substantial fruit. See this plum and pear tree above in the Town cemetery, summer 2014.
We started planting this orchard in 2009 and added another 15 trees in Feb 2014. A few of the original ones died, and more were gifted from various Transition visitors from other towns in the UK and other countries.
One of the most heart-warming sights in 2014 was to see this heart nut tree in Follaton arboretum flourish after a new memorial garden had been created nearby, in remembrance of infants still-born. The picture also featured in a good article in the Totnes Times last autumn about the Fruit and Nut tree project. It is the only heart-nut tree, of many that we planted, that survived. Although we have planted few new trees in the last 12 months, lots of hard work has gone into continuing to care for the trees. The pictures below show some spring clearing around one of the pear trees in blossom in the Follaton arboretum in April 2015, and others clearing round the almond trees in the Follaton arboretum earlier last winter.
Our tree guardians have watched and tended as much as they have been able, to the trees scattered over the town and onto the Sharpham estate. I think Guardian of the Year has to be Simone Wilkie, for impeccable care of the trees on Longmarsh, many of which thrive only thanks to her efforts to keep the brambles at bay. A heart-breaking episode during early spring this year was the cutting down of two mature almond trees, in blossom, in upper Bridgetown. We do not know how this happened.
We have held summer and winter pruning workshops again in the last 12 months, led by the inspiring Charles Staniland, and done a good bit of pruning in Colwell wood orchard as well as the ones we have planted. We harvested apples from Colwell orchard for another apple pressing celebration, in the Rotherfold square, during an Artisans fair that Sima Cutting and others organised last autumn. We were able again to use the wonderful hand-made apple press gifted by Frankie Wellwood.
A grafting workshop was held by Larch Maxey on Easter Sunday, and lots of new saplings grafted. All of you who visit the Follaton Arboretum will have noticed the major progress in the Forest Garden ... but that's another story, to follow ...
Meanwhile, the Incredible Edible plantings have flourished through another growing season, on the Rockery and Steamer quay and station bed. The Incredible Edible sites were some of the many community gardens in Totnes to win a combined trophy in the RHS Britain in Bloom South-West competition! We owe a special vote of thanks to the many visitors to Totnes last summer who joined in the endless watering required on the Steamer quay site through the long hot dry spell. Also thanks to the neighbours living next to the Rockery site who allowed us to use their hose for keeping the Rockery plants alive. One picture above was a spring planting session there in 2014, another picture shows the Steamer quay planters bursting with flowers and vegetables last summer, 2014.
Another growing site evolved last year along the station embankment on Station road, and pictures show some clearing and sowing seed there in April 2015. As I write this with spring bursting all around, I'm immensely grateful to all of you who have helped to care for all these trees and other edible plants through another season. Roy Wilkinson and John Comben are stalwart allies. Somehow, just enough of us manage to rally to give just good-enough care! But MORE VOLUNTEERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOMED, so tell anyone you think might like to be a part of this effort to grow more local food for generations to come, and inspire others to grow their own food in small spaces.
Help specially needed with some of the more 'background work, the collecting of compost and manure, the making of signs to mark the plants and educate about their use. So any of you with an occasional hour or two to spare for these kind of tasks, please let me know by using the contact details at the top of this page.
April 30th 2015