Anna Clayton column

Lancaster Guardian columnist, Anna Clayton.
Lancaster Guardian columnist, Anna Clayton.

This week Robin Eyer looks back at Fork to Fork’s 2014 growing season.

“Fork to Fork is a food growing project set up for people with learning difficulties and support needs; providing opportunities for people to work outside and gain horticultural skills.

“Our two acre site is located next door to Lancaster Brewery, on Lancaster leisure Park.

“We were kindly leased the land by Allan Blackburn (of GB Antiques), and The Brewery support us by fundraising each year and allowing us to share their site.

“This allows us to store our tools securely.

“We have taken over what was the Leisure Parks’s bobsleigh run area.

“It was a golf driving range before that, for those that remember.

“We are converting this two acre site into a Forest Garden – a garden that looks like a wood – with many layers of perennial and woodland plants, but packed full of food plants from the usual to the unusual.

“Our volunteers make the decisions and direct and do all of the work.

“This year has been incredible.

“We emerged in January like the swamp people, having endured the worst, wettest winter in 100 years (We only took two days off.)

“We then stepped into a glorious spring.

“From then on in it has been all systems go.

“We have organised our deer-proof nursery area to grow on our plants (some of which go to the Cornerstone Cafe).

“We have built a pond which Lancaster fire-fighters came and filled up.

“We then planted up the pond and spotted our first frog whilst having a celebratory BBQ that same day.

“We have also planted our hedgerow, set up a flower bed, a soft fruit area, a plum orchard, a nut area and so much more.

“It takes a long time for a forest garden to begin to look the part, but we have made real strides this year.

“One stunning and long summer later (which seemed to extend into the autumn), we are now thinking about 2015.

“Our jobs will include maintaining all of the areas that we have set up and we will continue to develop new areas.

“Winter hit us hard 15 days ago (apparently it takes two weeks for the body to adjust to a big change in temperature), so we are shivering our way through December.

“We keep warm by doing heavier work like tree pruning, compost turning and ground preparation.

“The volunteers are amazing and we have all sorts of abilities.

“As a team we are thrilled with this year’s achievements”.