On Valentines’ day for the last two years members of Sustainable Bungay and Beccles have helped Greengrow plant an orchard in Ilketshall St. Andrew. But for Sheffield artist Anne-Marie Culhane and OrganicLea, a food growers co-op in North London, the need to find land or plant an orchard didn’t arise. They realised that, every year all around them, a seasonal glut of fruit falls to the ground in gardens, parks, hedges, allotments and wasteground and rots. Anne-Marie established a scheme called Abundance, OrganicLea a Scrumping project. Their aim: to map the location of fruit trees, recruit volunteers, pick the fruit then redistribute it.
Abundance redistributes the surplus on a non- profit basis to community cafes, nurseries, Surestart centres and individuals, and they’ve juiced tonnes of fruit and made jams, pickles and preserves. Now, as the project develops, they have begun to manage the trees, pruning as well as picking and offering others the chance to learn these skills.
Last year Sustainable Beccles ran their own hugely successful Abundance project and this year they’ve invited Sustainable Bungay to get involved too. Working with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust we’re going to organise some activities for Apple Day in Bungay this autumn – including the redistribution of fruit and juicing. But before then we need to start mapping fruit trees and getting permission to collect fruit that might otherwise go to waste.
We’re creating a public map of fruit and nut trees that grow on public land and generally go unharvested, you can view (and add to it) here: Fruit Map
If you have or know of a fruit tree you’d like to see harvested or if you’d like to help map, collect, press or preserve the fruit please do get in touch.