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This site has not been updated since 2014 and is being maintained as an archive for now. As time allows we'll be weeding out the dated material and presenting the many useful articles in a new format. We'd appreciate any feedback on what you find most useful on this site via our contact page.

Guest Writers

Bringing the Buzz to Pembrokeshire’s Coast

by Natasha Rolph

of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Earlier this year many of you may have heard about the opportunity to vote for a new project to help bumblebees in Pembrokeshire. The project, put forward by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), was up against five other worthwhile environmental and community based charities to win 30,000 Eurosbee1 of funding from the EOG Association for Conservation, to help make their project a reality. The competition involved a public online vote on the ‘Live for the Outdoors’ website and was covered in Trail Magazine. After two weeks, and over 18,000 votes, everyone at BBCT was overjoyed to find out that, despite being up against such strong opposition, we had won!

BBCT’s project involves creating eye-catching wildflower-rich habitats that will attract and support rare bumblebees surrounding a new ten kilometre path around Castlemartin Range, in Pembrokeshire.

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Ryton Spearheads Exotic Seeds Project

Sowing New Seeds:  sharing resources for exotic food growing in the Midlands

This is a three-year project, led by Garden Organic funded by the National Lottery Local Food Fund. At the moment the project does not have enough seed to extend across the border into Wales, but that may be possible in subsequent years. In the meantime, growers in Wales may like to know about the project and try some of the varieties suggested in this article (as some people in the Rhayader and Llandrindod areas will be doing with their own local trials this summer).

The aim of the Exotic Seeds Collection Project is to directly enable and support gardeners, allotment holders, schools and community enterprises in the East and West Midlands to access, manage and grow exotic crops which are not traditionally grown in the UK. These plants have rarely if ever been commercially sold in this country: they may have come in with different immigrant communities or been handed down the generations from neighbours or friends.

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The Plan Bee Project

A Co-operative Venture

In recent years bee populations have declined globally. In the UK, a fifth of honeybee hives did not survive last winter, that is a lot of bees dying and no one knows for certain why. Pesticides, disease, importing of non native bees species and even mobile phones have been blamed but it is likely that a combination of factors are at play. A third of the food we eat is reliant on pollination by bees including apples, pears, raspberries, carrots and onions. In total some 90 crops are reliant on bees and there work as pollinators contributes £200m a year to the UK economy. Whilst we wouldn’t starve if the bees died out, we would be left with a very uninteresting diet.

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Copper Tools and the Legacy of Viktor Schauberger

by Jane Cobbald

Copper garden tools have been available in the UK since 2001, but don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of them.  One of the things I’ve learnt along the way with the copper tools project is just how difficult it is to get a new idea out there.

In fact, the idea is very old – at least 3000 years old, back to the Bronze Age. In its most recent incarnation, the idea started with an extraordinary Austrian inventor, a forester and visionary called Viktor Schauberger. He spent his formative years at the start of the twentieth century wandering in the forests of upper Austria, areas at the time that were still largely untouched by humans.  He became convinced that modern technology didn’t have to be so messy and destructive. After all, Mother Nature seems to manage very well without the use of fire and noisy machines. He was suspicious of what was taught in schools, preferring to listen to the stories of the old foresters and to learn from what he saw. He learned about energy transfer from the massive trees that carried sap from the roots to the crown without the use of a pump, and about transportation from the trout that stayed motionless in the fast-flowing mountain streams.

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Sheffield Pioneers Community Harvest

Peter Hodge tells how the Sheffield Abundance Project is making good use of an overlooked local food resource

Just last week I was on my way home from enjoying the first signs of wild garlic peaking out through what is hopefully the last of the snow, and I saw something that surprised me. Walking through the suburban streets of Sheffield, I noticed a Tesco store selling a range of fruit trees out front. I phoned Stephen Watts and together we smiled while we pondered why this could be.

Since ABUNDANCE took off here in 2007 we have seen so much happen. Keen grower and forager Stephen Watts, together with community and environmental artist Anne-Marie Culhane, started the project as a way to share both the glut of fruit to be found in the city, and also the idea behind it. The idea is a simple one: to realise that already a harvest hangs all around us to be discovered, and it often it just goes to waste. So instead, by sharing with each other there is so much to gain - and fruit is just the start of it.

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