Down to Earth Co-operative supports people on their journey towards growing their own fruit and vegetables. Founder Amanda Godber writes:
“As we settle into a quieter season, it gives us time to reflect on our progress in 2011 and plan for 2012. We’ve delivered a successful project on behalf of Stroud District Council, supported households wanting to grow organic food in their gardens, become an accredited training centre, trained a group of volunteers in growing organically and increased our membership.
We’re most excited about our Fruit and Nut Tree Guardianship Scheme that we’ve been trialing this year ready to launch next spring. Essentially this is a project that aims to protect and preserve our domestic fruit and nut tree heritage for future generations, whilst at the same time support sustainable local food production. We harvest unwanted or unused fruit and nuts and turn them into a local food product for people in Stroud – that’s it in a nutshell (excuse the pun!).
So far we’ve worked with a number of households who’ve donated their surplus fruit. We’ve then given them the food products to taste for feedback. So far we’ve made dried apple rings (those available from shops in the Stroud area come from China!), dried pears, damsons, plums, figs, fruit leathers (my favourites), black grape concentrate and a variety of jellies. Black grape vinegar is on the go, as are apple crisps and we’re looking at different ways we can increase our ‘menu’.
If you’re interested in being part of this exciting project – as a volunteer harvester or in producing the food products, as a donor of surplus fruits/nuts, or even with ideas about how we can develop the project, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Call us on 01453 700011 or visit our website“.