Friday, 11 June 2021 19:53

Planting roots for sustainable success Featured

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A DEDICATED group of volunteers in Malmesbury have been using lockdown as a chance to spread awareness of how to make the town more sustainable.

Fruitful Malmesbury grew from a small number of volunteers who wanted to make a direct difference in their community.

The community group work to grow and share more fresh produce, to reduce food waste, and to educate children on environmental and food-related issues.

“Someone emailed me and said, I’ve been thinking wouldn’t it be nice if we had some Mulberry bushes around town,” recalled Fran Vandelli.

“At the same time, I was thinking something very similar, that we could have a community orchard.”

A group, Fruitful Malmesbury, soon formed and took it upon themselves to explore what they could do to raise awareness of growing food and reducing food waste in Malmesbury.

What began as simply planning community orchards two years ago soon grew into more projects and the group has gone from success to success.

“For us, reducing food waste and increasing free access to food is just really important,” said Fran.

“We hope to create some sort of long table event during summer to speak with similar groups and people.

“By bringing groups in the town together to create change, it means people will be familiar with each others problems and priorities.

“It will create community interest in all areas of town, we hope, and that in itself can be a by-product of our major goal to reduce our carbon footprint.”

​Fruitful Malmesbury now includes horticulturists, fundraisers, and even researchers in sustainable living and behaviour change.

Pupils from four primary schools from Malmesbury and the surrounding villages: Malmesbury CE Primary School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Lea and Garsdon CE Primary School and Brinkworth Earl Danby’s CE Primary School also have joined together to create a film in four acts alongside Fruitful Malmesbury. The final performance will be brought together by local filmographer Fred Goudie, and shared in the schools and through community channels.

One Fruitful Malmesbury volunteer said: “This isn’t just about growing fruit trees, it’s about helping Malmesbury make the most of its green spaces and encourage everyone to join in and enjoy the benefits.

“Everyone in the group is very warm and welcoming and wants to build a stronger community. We have a range of skills and it’s not just about gardening. Although we’ve only planted a few trees so far I’ve already met some wonderful residents who are keen to join in, and I am sure there are many more people in the town who will meet up and get to know each other because of the fruit.”

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