Strong communities need shared assets and ideas to bring them together. This was the idea behind the Cae Bodfach community orchard. The land has been generously donated by Bodfach hall to be managed by Llanfyllin council for the wider benefit of the communty.
We first submited design ideas to the council in 2010/ 11 and have been working down there periodically ever since. We have won support from Keep Wales Tidy, Cwm Harry’s Get-Growing project and now the Welsh Cider and Perry Association suported by volunteers from the community, Llanfyllin High school, Junior school and now via the Llanfyllin trnasition project have all leant a hand. Over the next few weeks helpers from a team doing community reparatrions work are working on the wetland area, thinning ut the reeds and mosses and providing some ideal mulch materials to support the trees. This is the key to ecological thinking, no waste, the outputs from one system are the inputs for another.
We are planting heriatge varieties of apple, plum and pear in what will become a commuity orchard and forest garden in a space where anyone will be welcome to harvest the fruit and enjoy the herbs and pollination plants we have also introduced. This is an open ended project, we hope to adding to it for many years and in doing so create someting of lasting value and beauty for everyone to enjoy.
We will be down there on alternate sundays over the next weeks, pruning and mulching, cropping the willow and making plans for the next phase of the garden development. Please join us if you feel like helping out.. we are there from 10.30 am on alternate Sundays.. not 5th as I am teaching in Reading but we will be back on the 12th Feb, so please join us.
Llanfyllin High School students from the land based studies GCSE group have been our most regular volunteers and they have designed plant guilds for the garden as part of their GCSE studies, we hope to broaden out involvement in this project to other subject area across the school. Jack from the project team is meeting with the Art department this week, so watch this space and please contact us if you wold like to be involved.
Facing up to the challenges of our changing climate goes much deeper than erecting a few wind turbines and switching to a Honda Prius, it challenges the very heart of our economic model. The transition before us will require active involvement from everybody. Some people believe our environmental woes are due to the sheer weight of population but the truth is more complex, a small percentage of the global family are responsible for the vast majority of emissions and we are faced with the reality that it is not possible for India, China, Brazil and Mexico to follow the same economic path as the West without tipping the balance into a catastrophe. What if, we can find new ways of working that are actively beneficial, that lock carbon away in plants and soils whilst also meeting the needs of the 7 billion of us. If each person can have a net benefit on planet and climate then maybe at this moment that we face our greatest challenge the many hands available to us become a big part of the solution.
We are bringing these ideas into the mainstream curriculum. Kids at school today are growing up into a different world than the one we did and will need to be equipped with new concepts and ideas. I call it permaculture, it goes beyond agro-ecology and green technology and fashions a mindset, it provides design tools that facilitate this great change. We are saving the planet one school at a time, we are working with schools in Powys – children of farmers and rural communities where we hope to start a revolution. That is an emotive word – let’s call it transition, evolution maybe, one that embraces our planet’s ecology and understands that society and economy are a subset of a healthy living biosphere. Everything falters and fails when the rains stop, the soils erode, and our stable weather systems collapse. Join us.
Just before Christmas we (Llanfyllin Transition Project) went out onto the High Street in Llanfyllin in a wonderful Gypsy Caravan to interview local people about their views on Climate Change, their knowledge of the Paris Climate Agreement and to ask what they would do differently to help achieve a sustainable future. Here is the first fruit of our labours. Another video will be uploaded shortly featuring different interviewees.