Label wanted to get to know a bit more about Fruit Routes, so we had a chat with Anne- Marie Culhane to see what it’s all about! The project comes under the E&E section of the union:
What exactly is fruit routes and how can students get involved?
Fruit Routes is a project for students, staff and local people that involves making the university grounds an edible landscape. This literally means you can eat your way around campus! It is anchored around fruit and nut tree planting, increasing foraging opportunities on campus and sharing knowledge with the university and wider community through creative events and activities.
Fruit Routes is planting several hundred fruit trees on site which will bear fruit for years to come for people to harvest, share and enjoy as well as increasing biodiversity on campus and making a beautiful environment to live and work in. We were delighted to be winners of the Guardian Higher Education Sustainable Project Award in 2014 and have inspired other campus’s across the UK.
Our events through the seasons including foraging walks, performances and music, workshops and walks where people of different discilines offer their perspective on the Fruit Route for example bats walk at night, moth trapping, barefoot blindfold dawn event, artist-led insect tracking, harvesting and fruit pressing, planting and pruning and wild teas in the orchard. There is a map of the route that gives details of the varieties, where they are planted and when to pick as well as information on foraging and recipes. Maps are available from the Environment team at Facilities Management or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The first Fruit Routes is around 1km long and is on West Campus, near Pilkington Library. There are over 150 new fruit trees and it makes for a really lovely 30 minute walk /5 minute jogging circuit.
Students can get involved in many different ways: you could pick up a map and go out foraging, come to one of our events through the year, get involved as a friend of Fruit Routes, help keep an eye on the trees and support the events you are interested in, use the Fruit Routes for picnics or a place to meet with friends or for campus teaching, performances or events, get involved in harvesting or our annual campus apple bake off – the list goes on – this project is only limited by your imagination!
We work closely with LAGS (Landscaping & Gardening Society) that is a student society and has a wonderful productive garden and shed on campus.
We’ve heard about the bake- off, was this a success last year? How and when will it be run this year?
We were overwhelmed by the variety and skill of bakers on and off campus in particular the student entries and the Vice Chancellor himself baking not one but two apple pies! There were around 20 entries last year and this year we are expecting more. The toffee apple cake and healthy sugar and gluten free apple flapjacks were particularly memorable. The winners were Gregory Downes and Marshall McFadyen, both from Robert Bakewell Hall. After the prize-giving the competitors, judges and hungry by-standers tucked into the apple bakes, with not so much as a crumb left within 30 minutes.
This year apples will be available for cooks to pick up from Student Union Piazza, Whitworth Reception and Wolfson Café Shop. You can contact Sherrii Kapadia if you need apples or have any questions about the bake off. Bring your entry, along with the recipe to the LAGS garden (this is at the back of Car Park 5 – look for a big shed) after 12.30pm on Saturday 17 October. The judging will take place at 3.30pm with great prizes.
There are also activities throughout the day on Saturday including a talk on cider and fruit wine making and apple pressing see flyer. After the award ceremony all of the entries will be scoffed with tea!
How does the Fruit Routes project benefit students and the area?
The benefits of Fruit Routes to students are huge. Free food, healthy eating, encouraging walking and being outdoors (which has been proven to benefit concentration and mental health) a chance to meet students from different departments and members of the community of all ages, contributing positively to the campus, learning more about local food/climate change/sustainability and how you can make a difference. As part of your studies you could also use Fruit Routes as a case study, a learning resource or a place for events, workshops, performances or installations. This is an artist-led project so we are always looking for new ideas, there are loads of possibilities still to be explored in this award-winning project!
How can people contact you and get involved?
Tweet us @fruitroutes, We have a project blog with loads of pics and info on the project: www.fruitroutesloughborough.wordpress.com
To find out more and to go on our mailing list:
Anne-Marie Culhane, Fruit Routes email@example.com or call 07849073394
Or contact the sustainability Team at Loughborough University who manage the project: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Anne- Marie!
Photography courtesy of the Fruit Routes blog, Anne- Marie Culhan