Thursday, 21 October 2010

Yes Food Does Grow on Trees

A few weeks ago, on a beautiful September day, the nascent North Devon Permaculture Network shared cars and went 'down South' to Dartington, a surprisingly noisy place after the peace up here.

Behind Schumacher College you'll find the renowned Agroforestry Research Trust, originated around fifteen years ago by the fertile mind of Martin Crawford who, incidentally, once worked at North Devon's own Yarner Trust, over Hartland way. I was quite surprised to find how quickly a lot of the trees and bushes have grown in temperate UK, given the impressive size of many of them. Wonderful to discover also how few days Martin has to work in order to cultivate what is about two acres: only eight days per year!

Some twenty people, we ate our way round the plot over an absorbing couple of hours. We discovered just how fast some bamboos will grow - providing practically instant meals - as you can literally hear them growing - it's that quick! We heard the 'shocking' tale of shiitake mushrooms and how to get a continuous supply using nothing more than freshly cut oak boughs. And some of us learned, unforgettably, never again to put raw Szechuan Pepper into our mouths.

Full plant list here

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