This year our fruit routes events were themed around ideas of exchange. Fruit Routes and other projects in the past such as Abundance (community urban fruit harvesting) have engaged with ideas that explore alternative ways to exchange things (other than using currency). This opens up to wider questions around food systems, waste and value, and local food.
WHAT WE DID
This has been a really good year for apples! Throughout October the sustainability team, Action and students and staff have been out and about harvesting on campus. They had a particularly soggy and fun harvesting session with the campus Nursery children who then entered for the bake off.
The nursery teacher said:
It was such a pleasure to see how energised the children were with the apple collecting despite the weather. It was also very rewarding to see that parents really embraced the event as we were sent lots of pictures of pie, cakes and crumbles the children had baked at home with the apples. May be next year the Bake Off could have a children’s section!
FRUIT ROUTES EXCHANGE
The Fruit Routes Exchange at Market Town Corner in Carilion Court took place on Friday and Saturday in partnership with Transition Loughborough and supported by Radar/Loughborough University Arts. Swaps could include ideas, information, stories as well as jams, plants, chutneys, seeds, fruit. People left recipes, memories and jokes, shared their favourite foraging spots and offered suggestions for town-based Fruit Routes.
On Saturday the campus harvest day day started with a guided walk around the Fruit Route. I invited artist Jo Dacombe to work with poet/cultural forager Paul Conneally and myself to devise a workshop activity to bring the theme of exchange into our walk and an afternoon making activity.
Jo introduced an idea, written about from from medieval times, about listening and being called by objects in nature, and she invited us to bring something(s) back from the walk with us.
Found objects – the stones, shells, leaves, and feather’s we pick up in the outdoors and bring home are the transitional between humans and nature and between human-made and natural things, the forerunners of workds of art..(Shepherd, p57, The tender carnivore and the sacred game)
Back at the Shed we were offered home made soup from the LAGS garden The Transition apple presss was already in action and people joined in making exchange boxes with Jo and carving pumpkins.
At 3pm Melanie Wilson, a heritage apple specialist gave a talk about cider making and fruit wines and steve Oram from PTES (People’s Trust for Endangered Species) set up a beautiful display of apple varieties including grand-mere which is as big as a grapefruit!
There were 25 entries in this year’s bake off which was judged by Jo Shields, Sustainability Manger and Head of University catering Gagan Kapoor.
First prize was awarded to Fung, a student who made a delicious apple cake with salt caramel butter with a spiced apple tea made using the leftover apple skins. The judges were impressed not only by the flavour but that she had really thought about using the whole apple up with the tea which on a cold day was wonderful and warming. 2nd prize was awarded to Rob for his Apple roses. These were beautiful individual cakes.3rd prize was given to Greg (student) for his delicious toffee apple cheesecake . Other entries included apple flapjacks, apple tart, cranberry & apple cake, apple, pumpkin & ginger cake and a lentil & apple salad thatwas amazing but was not a bake so couldn’t be included!
After the judging we sat at a long table and all tucked into the appley feast.
Many thanks to all who contributed to the event including Transition Loughborough, Sustainability Team at Loughborough, Steve Oram, Paul Conneally, Jo Dacombe, Miriam Keye and Mel Wilson.
Photos by Pawas Bisht, Jo Shields & Anne-Marie Culhane
See you next year!