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Food Growing and Heritage Plants: project overview.

July 23, 2013

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Above, fields of British wildflowers in the East Midlands.

Our heritage plants projects include ancient trees, traditional orchards, perennial vegetables, heirloom vegetable growing and seed saving as part of a sustainable plant-based diet, medicinal & culinary herbs, and wild plants and flowers. We promote the importance of composting and vermiculture and vegan organic no dig horticulture to protect our soil structures and soil organisms. Soil organisms fed by surface mulches of organic matter, create a healthy crumb structure within a firm soil with no disturbance of the soil life, micro-organisms, fungi and worms, that help feed plant roots.

 Heritage varieties of fruit and vegetable were forced to the edge by EU rules and commercial seed companies and agriculture; attitudes are changing. Thousands of different varieties of fruit and vegetable were grown by our  grandparents generation, on a small scale when these people lived off the land in rural areas. These historical varieties contribute genetic variety that will be vital as we fight to survive climate change

Below: child feeling heritage French beans, pumpkin bed and traditional orchard medlar fruit.

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We raise awareness of the need for open pollinated plants and creating a healthy environment for pollinating insects. Try to avoid F1 hybrid seeds. Saving your own seed & propagating your own plants for your garden is cheap and it protects the survival of heritage plants. Some plants are wind pollinated but many insects are pollinators, along with some animals. The insects include many different species of bees, flies, wasps, beetles, butterflies and moths. Even houseflies and mosquitoes are much needed pollinators. Hoverflies are great pollinators, visiting over 72% of global food crops and over 70% of animal-pollinated wildflowers. They are migratory, travelling hundreds of kilometres daily and carrying pollen over 100 kilometres across open water. Wild pollinators pollinate about 90% of insect pollinated crops with honey bees responsible for the rest. With out them we would have no food, yet three UK bumblebee species have recently become extinct and the European Red List for Bees warns that one in ten species of wild bee face extinction. In 50 years we have seen the decline of half the bee, butterfly and moth species studied in the 2013 State of Nature Report. Modern farming by intensive, poisonous chemical means using fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides hand in hand with the destruction of habitats; urbanisation and climate change have created this situation. We encourage gardeners to help to redress the balance.

Below insect pollinated heritage garden plants.

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One Comment
  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Food Growing and Heritage Plants: project overview.
    | dawnchoruseducational <Liked it!

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