About Fruit Routes

Welcome to a site that keeps you up to date with the Fruit Routes project, an artist led initiative created by Anne-Marie Culhane working with the Sustainability Team at Loughborough University. Fruit Routes started in 2011 as an invited proposal to RADAR (Loughborough University Arts). It was then passed on to the wider University. Fruit Routes aims to develop the university grounds as an edible landscape anchored around fruit tree planting, increasing the foraging opportunities on campus and sharing knowledge with the university and wider community through creative events, participation and mapping. Fruit Routes aims to create a legacy of several hundred fruit trees on site which will bear fruit for years to come for people to harvest, share and enjoy.

harvestreadyweb

The vision of Fruit Routes is to plant fruit, nut trees and edible plants along footpaths and cycle paths across the university campus creating a spring snowfall of blossom and an autumnal abundance of fresh fruits and berries for harvesting, eating and distributing. Different varieties of pears, plums, damsons, greengages, hazels, almonds, apples and hedgerow species suited to the local environment and the changing climate will be planted with and cared for by people who live, work and pass through these places providing an annual feast for years to come. Fruit Routes provides an enriched habitat for people, plants, insects and animals as well as a location for cultural activities and outdoor learning.

Currently there are 3 or 4 events each year in the different seasons including foraging walks, backtoback walks where people of different disciplines offer their perspective on the Fruit Route (ie bat walk, moth trapping, barefoot blindfold dawn event, artist-led insect tracking) harvesting and fruit pressing, planting and pruning and one off events like tasseography and wild teas in the orchard. This makes the rhythm of our year. In May 2014 we launched a map of the route that gives details of the varieties, where they are planted as well as information on foraging and recipes. Maps are available on campus or from Facilities Management. Please let us know if you would like a copy.

We are looking for Fruit Routes ‘curators’ to take care of part of a section of the Fruit Route. This means checking the fruit trees are healthy every few weeks, and reporting any questions or queries. You don’t need any existing knowledge about trees to be a Fruit Route curator.  You may also want to get involved in other ways or programme your own events on the route.  Please contact Anne-Marie to find out more.

FRUIT ROUTES ACTIVITIES SUMMARY 2011-2014 (more details and pictures on blog)

Launch week, October 2011

Freshers Week stall and activity; commission of Fruit Routes bike trailer used around campus; Installation and tea and juice tastings in the Shed; Apple tagging across campus; produced Autumn Foraging sketch Map; Harvesting across campus and around campus edges

Foraging and introduction to Fruit Routes walks; Artist as forager/forager as artist talk and walk with Paul Conneally (artist/poet) , Bob Levene (artist) and Gillian Whiteley co-organised with School of the Arts; Apple pressing at the Shed; Cider & Fruit Wine workshop with Paul Paine, Ecoworks and a Flora & Fauna Feast with members of staff, students, members of public and members of Landscaping and Gardening Society in the Shed.

Planting Weekend, February 2012

Planting 76 trees, 25 fruit bushes and 285 hedgerow whips (sourced locally) over 2 days with teams of volunteers consisting of students, staff and local people; limited edition planting pack as thanks (screenprint and polished slice of Rowan); Celebratory Promenade Performance around the route with performers David Blayze (trumpet) Paul Conneally (poet) Miriam Keye (performer) Ways of the Wyrd Morris Dancers; locally sourced food and drink and bonfire with Landscaping and Gardening Society; Talk to Fine Art Students at School of the Arts

Spring, May 2012

Environment Week Stall, Edward Herbert Building with tastings of wild food and drinks;  Spring foraging walks around the Route; Barefoot Blindfold Dawn Chorus event on the Route followed by shared breakfast in collaboration with Paul Conneally (poet) and Ed Derby (ecologist)

Harvest Event, October 2012

Freshers Week stall; Apple tagging across Campus; Harvesting trips to University Orchard with students and local people, Back to Back walks (walks/events that explore the Route from different perspectives) around the Fruit Route with Paul Conneally (poet) & Ed Derby (ecologist) and Jo Dacombe (artist) &AMC; Joint hosting of afternoon and evening Apple Pressings & Harvest Celebration event with Landscaping and Gardening Society and Transition Loughborough including locally sourced food and drink, home cooking, bonfire, pumpkin carving, lantern making and live music.

Spring/Summer event, June 2013

Wild Teas and Tasseography, teas and jams made from campus foraged food and tea leaf reading in the Barefoot Orchard (AMC + Paul Conneally, artist); Walking the route and intro to foraging and Fruit Routes; Bat Walk with Ed Derby (with Bat Goggles made by artist Nicky Pugh)

Harvest Event, October 2013

Harvesting the campus with volunteers; Fruit Routes lunchtime walk; Apple Pressing with Transition Loughborough; Chutney making with LAGS, lantern making and pumpkin carving, evening bonfire, food and live music.

Planting & Pruning, 2014

Two pruning events with regional pruning specialist; Planting of 20 new trees and 400 hedgerow whips with volunteers; Soup and food at the Shed in collaboration with LAGS.

Spring events 2014

Lunchtime Walk; Wild Teas in the Barefoot Orchard; Pop-Up cinema screening of Mothra (Japanese, 1961); Moth Trapping on the Fruit Route

Participants are a dynamic mix of local families and local residents, students, postgraduates, ex-students university staff, university staff families, regional artists and performers and regional local food projects.

AWARDS

Fruit Routes nominated for the BEST Vice-Chancellors Award 2011, Loughborough University

Finalist for Green Gown Award for Social Responsibility 2013

FruitRoutes/Eat Your Campus awarded Guardian Newspaper University Awards, Sustainable Project 2014

 

SOME MEMORABLE MOMENTS

 

Taking two newly arrived undergraduates from Mexico and Mongolia out harvesting apples and subsequently having them attend the whole Harvest Celebration day (talk, pressing, party)

Conversations with University Security team about hidden fruit locations across campus and sharing the harvest bounty with them and their families

Seeing that most of the new trees are flourishing and healthy.

Picking the first 6 quinces from the espalier quince tree and making this into Quince Cheese which was eaten by participants on the BacktoBack walk.

An apricot espalier laden with ripening fruit

Almonds!

 

SOME TESTIMONIALS

Text message:

Dear Anne-Marie, many thanks for organizing this event. It was really enjoyable and knowledgeable. Thanks for the recipe for ketchup (hawthorn) you found out. Will try it. If you see Jo, Martha and John say a huge thank you for being so welcomed. Julia

By Email:

Martha Worsching, Lecturer : I have been wanting to write to you to thank you for the lovely feast which you organised at the end of your time on Campus. The shed has never looked better, and the meal and the entertainment were truly splendid. The fruit route events were lovely and showed that the campus has hidden potential. Hope the tree planting will be a major move forward to more sustainability.

By twitter:

Just discovered @fruitroutes in Loughborough, Amazing! this should be googlemapped too, forage-friendly sites in urban spaces. (Hannah Nichol)

‪@fruitroutes Great work! The fruit trees are looking brilliant! (Loughborough Students)

 

REFLECTION

We still (sometimes) remember that we cannot be free if our minds and voices are controlled by someone else. But we have neglected to understand that we cannot be free if our food and its sources are controlled by someone else. The condition of the passive consumer of food is not a democratic condition. One reason to eat responsibly is to live free. – Wendell Berry

 

Fruit Routes was conceived by Anne-Marie Culhane and is supported by the Sustainability Team at Loughborough University. and is in partnership with the Landscaping Our Society Group, School of the Arts and Transition Loughborough. Fruit Routes is funded by the University Landscape Master Plan in line with the Biodiversity Action Plan.

Contact: mail@amculhane.co.uk or environment@lboro.ac.uk for more info or Twitter: @fruitroutes


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3 comments

  1. I love the sound of this project!

    I helped out developing a food growing project at the university of brighton. http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/faculty-of-arts-brighton/extension-studies/edible-campus2/2011-edible-campus

    love the imagination that has gone into the project.

    Best of luck

  2. Hi there
    I enjoyed my guided tour on Monday and have a done a quick blog post about it
    http://minibreakmummy.com/2011/10/14/fruit-routes-at-loughborough-university/
    Thanks,
    Ruth

  3. Pingback: Like Foraging? Try Loughborough’s Fruit Routes | Leicestershire Master Gardeners

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