Inspired by the new BBC series featuring Sir Alan Sugar, ‘The Appleprentice’, where 15 young hopefuls compete for the job of Sir Alan’s head orchardist – programme catchphrase “You’re Grafted”-, interest in rare apple varieties booms across the area.
- Sharply rising food prices, as a result of the oil price surge, mean that the weekly shopping basket for Totnes and District rises sharply. A new supermarket announces proposals to build a new store in Totnes to exploit the demand for cheap food. A public campaign to prevent this is launched, with weekly demonstrations, and an awareness campaign about the benefits of local food. A shocking Channel 4 documentary “The Real Costs of Cheap Food” brings new energy to the campaign, and the application is refused.
- Transition Town Totnes launches its ‘Make an Orchard of Your Street’ project, and collaborates with similar groups in the 16 parishes, making fruit trees available to people in the area at very low prices. In the first 4 months, over 400 trees are purchased and planted, and all the local schools get involved and plant trees.
- A new Totnes Farmers Market opens on the first Saturday of every month as part of the existing market. There is great competition for spaces and the public flock to it.
- Riverford fund the installing of a ‘rooftop kitchen garden’, which covers all of the buildings that form Phase One of ATMOS. The garden, which has railings around the edge, and pathways between the raised beds, mainly grows salads and herbs. It prevents water runoff from the buildings, and provides a source of great fascination to the trains as they pass through the station. It turns out to be a fabulous marketing ploy. The restaurant is packed every day.
- The new food garden at KEVICC is now producing 5% of the food used in the school canteen; other schools start to follow suit.
- Work begins on the Totnes Health and Wellbeing Garden, providing much first hand experience of the process of reverting a car park to a growing space.
- The final designs for the Dartington Agroforestry Plan are submitted to the Dartington Trustees, and unanimously approved. The CEO of Dartington announces the plans to the press, telling them “Dartington has always been about innovative solutions to pressing problems. Our plans to plant most of the estate as a diverse, abundant and high-yielding agroforestry farm puts Dartington on the cutting edge of ideas and practice in this fast-changing world”.
- Edible landscapes replace the need for council mowing and maintenance (potatoes, fruit and nuts grown).
- Riverford open ‘The Riverford Town Kitchen’ as part of Phase One of ATMOS. The kitchen is designed as a restaurant, but also as an opportunity for people to learn to cook. The kitchen is seldom closed, when it is not being used by staff to cook for the restaurant, it is home to classes and workshops.
- Farmers are now over-wintering cattle outside, reducing feed costs and improving the health of livestock, biodiversity (and humans).
- Training now popular with farmers on building soil fertility without the use of chemical inputs, and managing pastureland, improves fertility and enables livestock to be kept without supplementary grain feeding.
- Pilot studies comparing traditional 4 year crop rotation on growing land with more recent agro-chemical supported agriculture show more productive results from traditional methods when combined with modern types of crops. Crops of hemp for building prove to be an excellent green manure that can be followed with food crops and grazing land using land rotation and crops closely matched to the local soil type
Policy Makers & Service Providers
- TTT, Community Supported Farming and Trees for Health launch a major initiative in partnership with SHDC to increase the Follaton House Arboretum into a neighbouring land with a rich mixture of productive species, to be planted by and harvested by the community. The model is based on a CSA approach.
- 10% of food used by the public sector is procured locally
- Planning laws are changed to allow buildings for seasonal farm worker accommodation on farms
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