A Day’s Toil for Tomorrow’s Soil: How a Community Came Together to Plant a Forest.

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Months of planning and hard graft culminated on the 30th of March with a hugely successful and wonderfully enjoyable community plant up day, and we are still buzzing with the excitement. The local community came out in full force, as did the sun, to help us plant the first three layers of the Shepton Mallet food forest. It was a day of fog and sunshine, of tea drinking and cake eating, of birds singing and the first signs of Spring playing on a light breeze, but most importantly, it was a day where we all came together as a community and helped plant a food forest that will benefit local people, and the planet for hundreds of years to come.

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In total, we planted 114 trees and shrubs and raised £160 for the Education and Well Being Centre for the site, a huge success. The site is now open and the local community will be able to watch the seeds of their labour grow. That isn’t it for The Food Forest Project and the Shepton Mallet plot, though. Next Spring we shall have a second project on the site to plant further layers of the food forest, which we hope will be of equal success!

The food forests that we plant are for local communities on a deeper level than a free green space that produces food. They are about reconnecting people with the land in which we live; the air we breathe, and the soil in which we depend for food. One of the ways in which The Food Forest Project seeks to achieve this goal is by building Education and Well Being Centres as part of each project. The Centres will serve as a place for people to learn about permaculture, practice yoga and meditation, for school and community groups to use. The Centres play an active role in the systems we design for communities. They are the anthropogenic element of the sites and allow people to be in the forests, to study them, grow with them and learn from them in a space that doesn’t put too much pressure on the natural ecosystem. We hope to start work on the Centre in Shepton in the Autumn!

In Other News…

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In other news, we’re proud to have received a very important endorsement from the First Chair of the Charities Commission, Geraldine Peacock CBE. Geraldine is a very special and interesting person. Geraldine was appointed Chief Charity Commissioner and the Charity Commission's first Chair-designate in 2004, with the remit of making the Commission 'fit for purpose' to implement the new Charities Act (which, among other things, replaced the role of Chief Charity Commissioner with those of Chair and Chief Executive). She left the Commission in July 2006, having laid firm foundations for the Charities Bill and with the Commission charged and invigorated to implement it.

Before joining the Charity Commission Geraldine was CEO of two major charities, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the National Autistic Society, and Chair of ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations), Futurebuilders and Groundbreakers.

Geraldine is on the Board of Social Finance, a Patron of Autism Speaks, the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity and the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA).

Geraldine sits on the Board for Social Enterprise at Harvard Business School, where she lectures on the MBA programme. She is an Associate Fellow at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, sits on the Said Business School Board at Oxford, and is also a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School, London.

We are so proud to have her endorsement, which we hope will stand us in good stead as we transition from a Community Interest Company to a Charity.

We will be planning a host of events of the coming months - keep a look out on our website and social media for updates!

Follow us on social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/foodforestproj/

https://www.instagram.com/foodforestproj/

Applying for £1,000's and hundreds of trees

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A huge part of establishing ourselves as a fledgling NGO, and being able to do the work we do, is to reel off funding applications.

And there are some really exciting ones we’ve just signed, sealed and delivered (read: applied for!)

The first is the Woodland Trust’s free trees for schools and communities. We’ve applied for a large wild harvest of 420 saplings, which - if successful - will be delivered by 2019 and be used to start the Shepton Mallet community food forest.

We’re also looking into applying for Tesco Bags of Help – the community grant scheme funded by the 5p bag levy. If selected to come into store for customers to vote, we would receive at least £1,000. The second project would receive upto £2,000 and the first project gets up to £4,000!

There’s also the possibility of us coming into store and raising awareness of our project – so do watch out for us in Shepton Mallet Tesco, and come say hello. :-)

In the immediate term, we’re in the middle of funding timber post, rail and wire fencing for the plot - if you are interested in supporting this project, please follow our Go Fund Me page link. We’re already overwhelmed by the generosity received and would like to thank those who have donated.

Please stay tuned to follow the progress of the project on the blog and on our projects page.

Announcing our new community project in Shepton Mallet

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Exciting news: we are about to embark on a food forest project in Shepton Mallet, Somerset!

 

The plot needs fencing off with timber post, rail and wire fencing, and - as a small non-profit that relies completely on the generosity of individuals that share our values – we’ve started a crowdfunding campaign for the materials required to build our fence. 

 

In just seven days, we’ve raised £350 out of our £1,000 target. This is not only donations from friends and family but also from members of the community who would value such a local initiative, and those who support such practices at large.

 

Next month our funding page will also go in Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine.     

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In October we shall be, depending on funding, just starting to put the fencing up and having signage made.

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In the meantime, check it out on GoFundMe, and we thank you in advance for any support that you may be able to give.

 Please stay tuned to follow the progress of the project on the blog and on our projects page.

The Food Forest Project

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The Food Forest Project (TFFP) was set up by a group of individuals that felt moved by the plight of the natural landscape, and the people linked to that landscape. As an organisation, it seeks to combat issues such as loneliness within communities, habitat depletion, accessibility of locally sourced, organic food and to help to heal intensively farmed agricultural land.  At the heart of the FFP, is our strategic plan (please see ‘Mission’). We want to help bring communities together by creating community hubs in the shape of food forests, that can not only restore failing landscapes, but also restore the connectivity with our neighbours; to make whole what we all lack in this world of disconnect – relationships. Relationships with ourselves, by giving a sense of purpose and self-respect, relationship with the communities we live in by bringing people together to work on projects for each other, and the relationship we have with our natural world by reinvigorating a sense of respect for the living world around us. 

 The Food Forest Project sets out to rehabilitate intensively used agricultural and industrial land by planting food forests. Food Forests, or Forest Gardens as they are more commonly known in  the UK, are a form of sustainable agriculture, or 'agro-forestry.' Typically made up of seven layers of food producing vegetation, from canopy layer through to the ground and root layer, they are self-regulating ecosystems that after an initial period of tending can be left to produce many different types of fruit, nut, herbs and vegetables without the need for use of pesticides or any other inorganic chemical compounds. 

Food Forests have a variety of wide ranging benefits to people and place, from habitat creation to carbon capture, further explained within the Food Forest Project website.

The Food Forest Project will be working in partnership with local land owners and farmers, local communities, local authorities, schools and food producers to help educate about the need for a healthy landscape in food production, and about the future benefits of permacultural practice. 

Each of these different layers is not only producing food for our consumption, but food and habitat for wildlife. The reason no chemical pesticides are required in our food forests, is that each layer has a predator that eats the insects that may harm the crops. Further more, as the wildlife within the forest defecate they spread more seeds and fertilise the ground bolstering the rotting vegetation to create healthy soil, and a self-sustaining ecosystem or renewal and regeneration. The forest looks after itself, producing more or less with the abundance of each integral part. 

Each of these different layers is not only producing food for our consumption, but food and habitat for wildlife. The reason no chemical pesticides are required in our food forests, is that each layer has a predator that eats the insects that may harm the crops. Further more, as the wildlife within the forest defecate they spread more seeds and fertilise the ground bolstering the rotting vegetation to create healthy soil, and a self-sustaining ecosystem or renewal and regeneration. The forest looks after itself, producing more or less with the abundance of each integral part. 

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Our projects are all self funded, and use volunteers from the local communities to plant the food forests and maintain them whilst they grow. Become a member today, or make a one off donation, and be part of a special movement. In becoming a member, you will receive a members card, and regular updates (should you wish it) about our work, and have a tree of your request dedicated to you or a loved one. One off donations will go towards parcels of disused land, and the resources necessary for us to build the forests.

For more information or just to say hello we would love to hear from you. Please drop us a message here.