Page 1



Contents. introduction beginnings context A Living Laboratory

planting Food for Free(dom) how to plant a fruit tree maps

eat your campus edges & contours: walks and creative activities Fruit Routes: Something new, something different biodiversity bats, bees, moths harvesting celebrations Across the wall design Becoming a fruit forest future credits and resources


introduction. taking turns to keep the hive warm



any would argue that one of the reasons why today’s environmental crisis is so grave is that so few people enjoy a direct relationship with the natural world. Nature has been squeezed out of most urban environments, and even in rural areas, intensive agriculture has reduced both opportunities for access and levels of biodiversity. For instance, twothirds of England’s orchards have disappeared since 1950. By the same token, everything we need to do to sort out that crisis, particularly as regards the threat of accelerating climate change, will be made a great deal easier if we can rebuild those relationships. And nowhere is this more important than in our schools and universities. And that’s the challenge that Loughborough University is seeking to address through its


wonderfully creative Fruit Routes project. Some of the ideas you’ll find in this little publication may sound a bit zany (‘eat your campus’ for example!) but over the last five years, the indefatigable efforts of the people that have made this project possible have reached out to more and more people – students, staff and members of the general public – reconnecting them with some of the basics of orcharding, harvesting, pollination and how best to protect trees against pests. There’s something so simple and so powerfully celebratory about this project. I have no doubt that it will continue to prosper and grow for many years to come.

Jonathon Porritt CBE


beginnings. a lottery of bittersweet cherries across campus


he vision of Fruit Routes is to plant fruit and nut trees and edible plants along footpaths and cycle paths across the university campus creating a spring snowfall of blossom and an autumnal abundance of fresh fruits and berries for harvesting, eating, cooking and distributing. Different varieties of pears, plums, damsons, greengages, hazels, almonds, apples and hedgerow species suited to the local environment and the changing climate will be planted with and cared for by people who live, work and pass through these places providing an annual feast


for years to come. Fruit Routes will create an enriched habitat for people, plants, insects and animals as well as a location for cultural activities and outdoor learning.

Fruit Routes is an artist-led project created by Anne-Marie Culhane working with the Sustainability Team and the Gardens Team at Loughborough University.



ruit Routes started as a result of an invitation to create a proposal for Radar (Loughborough University Arts) for a series of art works they were commissioning around art and horticulture. Having proposed what was potentially a 50+ year project, I was invited to meet with the Sustainability and Gardens teams to present my vision for the University.


I am an artist who works with people and places. My practice involves drawing people into closer connection with the land and each other. I work across a range of disciplines and with different communities to create projects that often have a long term legacy.


“….in this unsettling time of enforced hysteria it could be useful to lay down the initial ground rules of a culture which may be less materially based but where more people will actively participate and gain the power to rejoice in moments that are wonderful and significant.” John Fox, artist, co-founder Welfare State International. This practice includes evolving new forms of exchange and

expression with each other, expanding beyond traditional artform boundaries and integrating the wider community of living creatures. Fruit Routes draws from my experience co-founding Abundance, a community urban harvesting project in Sheffield. In the Abundance project we located and harvested several hundred fruit trees in people’s back gardens, graveyards, parks, urban wasteland & hospital grounds across the city and shared this inheritance. Fruit was redistributed to community cafes, homeless shelters and nurseries free of charge. This was permissive scrumping, born out of the concept of waste, excess and glut and celebrated as bounty.

(LAGS), a communal gardening project with an allotment growing herbs, flowers and vegetables on campus. I started by highlighting the existing edible landscape and created a sketch map showing foraging opportunities and marking the sites where we planned to plant new trees. I also flagged up the mature fruit and nut trees across campus so that people could seek these out. The first new trees were planted in February 2012. The route was co-designed with the help of Tom Hollick, landscape architect, as the University was creating a new masterplan at the time. The first Fruit Route is in the west part of campus, includes the LAGS site and is around 1km long. Much of the route runs along the campus boundary. This edge offers an opportunity to connect with the wider community in Loughborough and is also a healthy wildlife habitat. “The most political act we do on a daily basis is to eat.” Dr Jules Pretty Professor of Environment and Society, Essex University In the Orchard City Manifesto I expanded the concepts of Abundance and Fruit Routes by imagining the metropolis as one big orchard where people live amongst the trees. Fruit trees are resilient and can thrive within an urban setting – I’ve seen fragrant quince trees bursting through backyard concrete. From the beginnings of my research for Fruit Routes I have worked closely with the University’s Landscaping & Gardening Society

This publication celebrates five years of Fruit Routes at Loughborough. It includes sections on design, mapping, planting, events and celebrations, other inhabitants of the route, reflections from some of those involved and looking to the future. Fruit Routes is possible only through the combined efforts, enthusiasm and commitment of many people in the University, in Loughborough and beyond. When 95 per cent of the fruit that we eat in the UK is imported, this is one small step towards taking control of our own food and sustainability, together.


context. Fruit Routes: a living laboratory


he University is committed to acting in a socially responsible way that maximises its positive impact and minimises its negative impact on society and the communities in which it is based. An aspiration is to make the campus a living laboratory. Fruit Routes fulfils this as a socially inclusive and community led project that contributes to this important agenda. Creating a project and space that can engage staff, students and the local community with the land, the seasons and each other in a sustainable, long term way has been rewarding and educational. The long term benefit of this project is its ability to showcase how to embed biodiversity projects within planning and strategy to ensure longevity and legacy. Social and community benefits are in abundance and this project evidences the diversity of engagement and potential for creativity from the growing of and sharing of food. Observing people I see how new relationships are formed and how individuals respond to the environment they are in positively. It educates and empowers and helps to bring people together who may otherwise never have interacted.


It is also hard work running the events associated with the project! Events are always different and surprising, incorporating a range of ways for people to engage. They rely on a small team of dedicated people to pull together and support the space where people come to take part in activities that may take them to their learning edge, or simply to enjoy a cup of wild tea. Summer events are a favourite as foraging for elderflowers delights me. The simplicity of picking the beautifully scented flowers, the striking fresh white of their colour and then the warming and refreshing tea or cordial they make is one of the best moments. Harvesting with the nursery school children has also become a favourite activity. Seeing the joy amongst small children and their parents as apples tumble from the trees is very fulfilling. Knowing they go home and bake together with the apples they helped harvest is equally satisfying. Jo Shields, Sustainability Manager, Loughborough University.

“Whether it is planting, harvesting or eating, Fruit Routes brings many benefits to Loughborough University. I am delighted that we are celebrating five years of the Fruit Routes project.� Professor Robert J. Allison, Vice-Chancellor & President, Loughborough University.


planting. one hundred trees how small this blister on my thumb Paul Conneally


ver four years we have planted 550 hedgerow whips and 140 one and two year old fruit and nut trees, mostly along a 1km route. This includes fruit and nut trees of 55 different varieties, including some heritage varieties, of 18 different fruit and nut species. We have planted up the sides of buildings as well as in small orchard clusters. The route is accessible on foot and by bike and is mostly flat. It includes varieties that fruit over a long season. These are particularly focused around harvest times in late autumn and early summer to tie in with academic term times when most


people are on campus. The route includes fruit that is good for cooking, eating, storing, brewing and good for wildlife. While planning the route I consulted with forest gardener Martin Crawford on future climate predictions and their potential impacts on fruit trees. This led me to introduce some experimental varieties in anticipation of a milder climate in coming years. Trees have been planted by community members of all ages, staff, students and student volunteers. Planters at the first event received a limited edition screenprint in exchange for their contribution.

Foragers, fruiterers & gleaners: food for free(dom) and the polemic of campus! “A general and universall Plantation of such wholesome fruit (according to proportion) as might be for the relief of the poor, the benefit of the rich, and the delight of all… The light of nature will teach us that a common, and publike good is to be preferred to all private profit.” A Design for Plenty by an universall planting of fruit-trees (1652) Samuel Hartlib


oraging food, whether it’s from hedgerows, roadsides, footpaths, fields, forests, moorland or abandoned cottage gardens is an act which bristles with historical political resonances. It raises critical questions about food waste, public access to land, property ownership and the rights of individuals and communities to a sustainable existence, free from starvation or famine. In his book Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden (2013), George McKay describes the recent resurgence of communal and guerrilla gardening as ‘the contemporary manifestation of the making of a polemic landscape’, noting that the gardeners’ ‘generous gesture of free planting’ has a long history. McKay highlights Samuel Hartlib’s revolutionary plans for the English Commonwealth which called for the planting of fruit trees in hedgerows and wastelands and the appointing of special officers fruiterers or wood-wards – to look after them. Fruit Routes engages with this long and radical history of planting ‘generosity’. Over the last five years or so Fruit Routes has reached out beyond the confines of the campus such that, in the process, it has become a ‘public good’, one which needs prizing as a rich resource not just for today but for generations of communities to come. Today, when the marketisation of Higher Education is rife and universities might

increasingly be described as factories of knowledge production, Fruit Routes provides an oasis of communal generosity. In these dark times of climate change denial, when global politics is set to reverse ecological policies, it also allows us to consider how the University campus might challenge processes of corporatization and commodification and, in its place, activate notions of community, utopia, peace and environmentalism. In doing so, I would argue that it contributes to the continually shifting ‘polemic landscape’ of the campus. Since its inception, the School of the Arts has had a continuing relationship with Fruit Routes: in Spring 2012 I proudly planted one of the first fruit trees outside my office; in February 2015 we organised a ‘gonging’ workshop with improvising percussionist Walt Shaw who led a noisy procession around our newly planted trees in a frenzied celebration which harked back to ancient horticultural traditions. Fruit Routes has facilitated a dialogue around contemporary art practice’s engagement with sustainability and ecological issues and it has been both a catalyst and a resource for lectures, seminars and research, along with my own exploration and advocacy of eco-activisms. With a family history of urban foraging (my grandfather was a rag and bone trader in the 1930s), and having lived through the Sixties and Seventies when ‘self-sufficiency’ and Richard Mabey’s ‘food for free’ seemed, if naively, to offer a countercultural challenge to norms and systems of ownership and economics, the creation of foraging routes – not just on campuses, but in towns and cities – might just be a small but valuable step to freedom. So let’s plant generously, let’s cultivate these polemic landscapes and let’s share and celebrate with foragers, fruiterers and gleaners everywhere! Gillian Whiteley, Programme Director for Fine Art and Senior Lecturer in Critical and Historical Studies, Loughborough University.


How to plant a fruit tree.


You will need: - A friend or helper or two, (we usually plant in threes for conviviality!) - Large fork and/or spade, - A permanent tree post or a temporary tree post - A hammer big enough to bang the post in - Rubber tree ties (you can use old inner tubes) and a tack - Full watering can - Mulch


November to end of March is ideal planting time for bare rooted or container trees.

If it is a bare-root tree, remove any protective packaging from the roots and, if you can, soak the roots in a bucket of water for a couple of hours.

dig the hole on the day you intend to plant the tree. We are usually planting into grass so we slice off four square blocks of turf and lay these to one side. Your hole should be about 2ft / 0.5m and a bit wider and deeper than the size of the roots. If possible, break up the sides and base of the hole further with a fork. You don’t need to add compost although I sometimes sprinkle some Mycorrhizal fungi inoculant into the hole. The fungi can help a plant establish more quickly and using it enables you to talk to people about the vital hidden world of soil and fungi.

Make sure that the tree is planted to the same depth as it was in its container or at the nursery, with the graft union above the soil line. An easy way to do this is to hold your tree in the hole and lie a stake or spade temporarily across the top of the hole to indicate the soil level. Remove the tree and hammer in the post about 5-10cm from the centre of the hole on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hold the tree dangling into the hole at the correct height while the others start to refill the hole by mounding soil under and around the tree.

firm the soil down to remove airpockets from around the roots as you go but don’t compact it. Try to avoid touching the roots but do tease them out if they have been compressed. Don’t rush this bit – you only get one chance to plant your tree! Once the tree is positioned correctly the rest of the soil can be moved back in.

Make a note of the variety you have planted and its location.

prune off the side shoots up to 3ft high if there are any. Nip out leader shoot at desired height for branching and take out the fruiting buds for the first year or two (if you can bear to). celebrate your tree! You could sing to it (wassail), do a little dance, raise a toast or take a photograph.

lie the turf back on top around the tree but this time soil side up. If you have rabbits or deer in the area protect the tree immediately with a tree guard. Apply a layer of mulch, i.e. wood chips or well-rotted compost around the base of the tree after planting, just deep enough to prevent light penetration. Don’t let the mulch sit right up against the trunk as it might hold damp.





eat your campus. With every apple we bite into we create a culture Common Ground

Fruit Routes hides apples from the harvest all over campus for people to find, eat and share. The Eat Your Campus bike trailer travels around campus delivering fruit and alerting people to the harvest and other Fruit Routes activities throughout the year.



edges & contours. walks and activities on the route


alks and activities take different formats with artists, ecologists, poets, horticulturalists and dancers co-designing different ways for people to experience the Route at different times of the day and through the seasons. Some of these have been BacktoBack walks where two experts from different disciplines have collaborated to co-design and co-host the walk. Walks are attended by people of all ages. Participants have experienced the route upside down and in shared silence, responded to poetic provocations, plotted the movement of insects, collected and selected natural objects, photographed each other in the landscape, written collaborative poetry, wandered ‘without purpose’,


tasted quince cheese by a quince tree, sipped gingko tea under the gingko tree, listened to the dawn chorus, walked barefoot in dewy grass and photographed contours.

Walk and workshop guides have been Alison Lloyd, Simone Kenyon, Paul Conneally, Anne-Marie Culhane, Jo Dacombe, Ed Darby, Kerry Featherstone, Gillian Whiteley, Ruth Levene, Walt Shaw and Marc Richmond.


edges & contours.

Fruit Routes: Something new, something different. Reflecting on Fruit Routes brings back some of the fondest memories of my period of study as a PhD (Social Sciences) student at Loughborough University! Memories inhabited by a wonderful cast of friends including fellow students, university staff, artists, community members and neighbours. These memories of happy companionship within and around the University signal the greatest contribution that the Fruit Routes project has made in my view: providing the space, context and opportunities for beautiful encounters between different individuals and groups which in turn has nourished longer term relationships and engagement with the practice and politics of food production and sustainability. Developing an edible campus in partnership with students: My involvement began when AnneMarie visited us at the Loughborough Students’ Union Landscaping & Gardening Society’s allotment on campus in 2011 to explain her vision for Fruit Routes. Her imagination of developing and mapping an edible campus connected directly and powerfully to the aims of the newly formed gardening society that encouraged students to grow their own vegetables and flowers collectively on campus. Since then the partnership between the two projects has been mutually enriching and helped create a sense of continuity over the years. Something new, something different: For me and for a lot of other Loughborough students, Fruit Routes presented a very different range of social and leisure activities from the ones usually on offer at university. This new spectrum of activities brings


together a diverse group of students seeking something different for their university experience. The friendly and participatory nature of Fruit Routes ensures that everyone feels welcome, their contribution valued; one reason why so many international students have participated in the project. An enduring connection: As Fruit Routes goes past the five-year mark and the trees we planted grow taller and stronger, I can reflect on how it represents for me and other Loughborough alumni an enduring connection to the University. After finishing my PhD and moving away for work in 2014, I’ve been back for the annual Fruit Routes harvest celebrations in 2015 and 2016. Many others also return for this annual revisiting: we do so to meet old friends and make new ones and celebrate a flourishing legacy we helped create. Dr Pawas Bisht (PhD Social Sciences, Loughborough University 2009-2013) Lecturer in Media, Communications and Culture, Keele University.


biodiversity. introducing some other inhabitants of Fruit Routes


ruit Routes supports and encourages greater biodiversity on campus. As Jonathan Porritt points out, two thirds of England’s orchards have disappeared since 1950. Orchard habitats are hotspots for wildlife, providing refuge for over 1800 species spanning the plant, fungi and animal kingdoms. They provide a food source, a source of pollen and nectar, cover, shade, and home.



he opening of the Fruit Routes project was marked with a Flora & Fauna feast. People were invited to come along representing a future inhabitant of Fruit Routes. These included a woodlouse, a bumble bee, mycorrhizal fungi, two ladybirds, a fly, a pipistrelle bat, a herring?, a lion?... and the promise of spring. We read poems and shared activities inspired by the characteristics of the attendant wildlife.

In her walk artist Jo Dacombe invited us to consider other inhabitants of Fruit Routes by observing and recording the paths that insects and animals were taking. In pairs, people marked out the routes using a custom designed tracking kit and then shared observations. The Barefoot Blindfold event involved participants sitting in silence listening to the dawn chorus on Fruit Routes and drawing the sounds. This was followed by a shared breakfast and discussion with Ed Derby, a local ecologist, about different bird species on campus stemming from our own experiences.




A grub fat on fruit Worms to the surface of an apple and flies free



he campus edge between Barefoot Orchard and Burleigh Orchard is a bat highway. As the fruit trees mature they will provide an enhanced feeding habitat for the bats. Our bat walk with Ed Darby involved a late night amble exploring nooks and crannies of the campus. We saw and heard Common Pipistrelle bats and regular calls from Noctule bat along the route using a bat detector. As we gathered and dusk fell we had the chance to experiment with Nicky Pugh’s fab bat goggles. These simulate bat echolocation by using ultrasonic pulses to detect objects in front of the wearer.


bees. B

ees are major fruit tree pollinators. We highlight the symbiotic relationship between bees and fruit trees by organising visits to the University apiary in Holywell Park. For the performance Hive Mind, created and performed by Paul Conneally and Anne-Marie Culhane, visitors were invited to enter a yurt (a circular tent) in the Barefoot Orchard one at a time and sit down. Inside, a performer sat masked by a bee skep. A skep is a domed basket used as a bee hive. Skeps have been used by beekeepers for about 2000 years and are still used at Loughborough to catch swarms. Outside the yurt people made beeswax candles to take home, and drank tea from plants harvested on campus flavoured with campus honey. Hive Mind




ur very existence depends on the bees - a keystone species in the natural world. Building on the tradition of Telling the Bees, where beekeepers informed the bees of significant events in their communities or lives, Hive Mind invited people to share something of their personal reflections on community, cooperation and the future of our relationship with the ecological community (animals, insects, plants). People were invited to speak out loud, remain in silence, write in the book and stay for as long as they wanted to.

Some written reflections from Hive Mind: Bees show how the world is organised and everyone plays their part. It’s important to have a role that you find satisfying and meaningful. Bees are becoming more noticable. Maybe they’re making themselves so on purpose. We need to take note and respect that. I would like to say thank you to the bees. I had a very stressful morning but talking to you and being in this environment helped me calm down. The bees bring me moments of calm and peace. A place to be in the moment. Their song is relaxing and knowing. It is always a privilege to work with them for they are wild and will always be so. Thank you for the bees for making their honey. In my religion honey is a very good remedy for illnesses such as colds, coughs and sore throats. I have never understood or realised the connection that bees can create/have to the spiritual world, their destruction/ demise is troubling on many levels – long live the bees!


moths. “Many moths have a relationship with orchards; the larvae eat the leaves, burrow into the trunks and stems and feed on the fruit. The adults take advantage of any nectar produced by the blooms. A few that are associated with orchards include: Archips podana; Light Emerald; Brimstone Moth and Buff-tip. Hundreds of species are polyphagus, using fruit trees for their own convenience, for example, nectar, egg laying and larval food supply. In the

autumn fallen, fermenting/rotting fruit is an important food source for species preparing to hibernate through the winter.” Graham Finch, Leicester Entomological Society.


here have been two moth trapping events on Fruit Routes with the Leicester Entomological Society collecting survey data. The first event started with a pop-up cinema in The Shed, screening Mothra, a cult Japanese movie from 1961 starring a giant moth. Observations from moth trapping:


The bigger moths dive against the sheet with a thud, landing on cameras, bags, legs, hair. One lays a cluster of tiny white eggs on the inside wall of the box trap. Pretty or unusual moths are scooped into plastic jars and examined but really they look their best out on the white sheet, flickering in the light.


Emperor hawk moth Belly swollen with eggs clasps onto my finger I only really feel her weight when I’m walking in the dark space between two lamps I’m resisting stroking her magenta and olive fur fearing the weight of my touch. One of her footpads sticks to my finger refusing to peel off This wild and beautiful creature clinging to my skin A feeling of affection and connection arises which I quickly rationalise and dismiss, she is just sensing (enjoying?) the warmth of my skin. Fly away! Lay eggs! You only have a few weeks to live.


harvesting. a pocketful of plums


arvesting trips take place across campus with local nursery children, students, University staff and members of the local community. Often newly arrived students from across the world come on harvesting trips. University halls are awarded points if students come harvesting and the volunteer action group also help out. One year we were joined by a member of the LSU Fever Society on stilts! Harvesters take home as much fruit as they like and the rest is used for communal cooking and pressing or left around campus for people to use in the Campus Apple Bake Off. Groups taste the fresh fruit and are shown how to sort it. Transition Loughborough bring along a homemade apple press and apple scratter each year. People come along to help press the apples and bring bottles to fill with juice or to make into cider.



celebrations. marking the seasons together


t the heart of Fruit Routes are gatherings where people come together to mark and celebrate the seasons. These involve performances, contemporary rituals, games, baking, making and sharing food together. The initial planting of Fruit Routes in 2012 was marked by a promenade performance around the route with dance, poetry, song and music, food and a fire. Subsequent planting in 2015 was marked by gong performances to wake up the trees, performed by students and percussionist Walt Shaw, and communal drinking of cider from a Wassail bowl crafted from cherry wood.


For three years we have run a Campus Apple Bake Off where free apples are distributed for people to bake with from pick up points on and off campus. People then bring their food entries to the harvest event which takes place at the LAGS community garden on campus. After judging and prizegiving, the bake off treats are shared by everyone. Harvest events have also featured live acoustic bands, bonfires, lantern making and pumpkin carving, cider, fruit wine and cordial workshops, chutney-making workshops, barbeques and apple games.



The Apple Olympics includes apple putting, apple and spoon racing and a 1km-or-so run around the Route. The running race is only successfully completed if all competitors cross the finish line at the same time. Events taking place off campus include Fruit Routes Exchange, which took place over two days in a pop-up shop in the town’s shopping centre, and a free fruit pie baking masterclass at BomBom Patisserie in the local neighbourhood.

All events involved a range of partners and collaborators including LAGS, Transition Loughborough, Radar, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Ecoworks Nottingham, BomBom Patisserie, National Gardens Scheme, Leicester Heritage Apple Society and Charnwood Arts.




Across the wall I came to Fruit Routes from the start. The first plantings. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Other projects and workshops that I’d attended at the University always felt just that -‘the University’. They were often good but I never felt a real connection back to my life in Loughborough or the life of the town itself. From the start this felt different. There was a real buzz as people gathered by ‘The Shed’. There were more people from the surrounding streets of the campus and the wider town than I’d encountered at other projects plus a real mixture of University students and staff. More than graft, this was a working, a walking, a coming together of people and land, a celebration. The walking of the Fruit Route has now become a ritual at every event, one all that take part look forward to along with the artistic interventions, invitations to new interpretations of the landscape, foraging, food politics, the bake offs and the wacky but irresistible Apple Olympics. Involved as planter, artist, collaborator and participant I have found Fruit Routes an invaluable test-bed for


exploring new forms of engagement with art, community and the environment. The familial context, a project that all my family have at one time or another engaged with alongside myself and the wider growing Fruit Routes family has been a revelation. Fruit Routes has opened me up further to the power of cross-generational and cross-cultural work. The continued and increasing involvement of local community and community groups such as Transition Loughborough have led me to believe that the University Fruit Routes can be extended into and across the town itself, joining even areas of Loughborough quite far from the campus back to it physically and spiritually. This now is my hope; Loughborough, a town linked by Fruit Routes and community orchards with and through the University campus. Paul Conneally, artist and local resident.


design. posters, flyers, blog



collaborative poetry:visit the bees:wild tea:morning walk & brunch

Fruit Routes is a project on Loughborough University's Campus to bring

people together around food, harvesting, foraging and the natural world. w w w. f r u i t ro u te s lo u g h b o ro u g h . wo rd p re ss . co m





becoming a fruit forest. a tangle of roots silently drinking


ive years on, the trees are starting to occupy space, to create a different ecology noticable through the stopping off points of birds, the buzzing of pollinators and also barefoot students revising together or taking a break from the library. The route is managed organically with no artificial pesticides or herbicides. The Gardens Team maintain the route, including pruning and mulching with some help from volunteers. Rachel Senior, Senior Gardener, Gardens Team shares her experience of Fruit Routes:



aintaining in excess of 140 fruit and nut trees along the Fruit Route using organic methods brings fresh challenges and frustrations. Testing new methods and sometimes conquering diseases has proved both cathartic and rewarding. I spent a sunny afternoon tuned into the omnibus edition of a famous Radio

4 soap opera, carefully picking every single affected leaf from four young almond trees affected by peach leaf curl and diligently transporting the culprits in a black bag to be burnt. The naked trees looked a season behind their neighbours of apples and pears which were clothed in lush green leaves, but having left the spent flower buds intact, they recovered and each managed to produce a single almond by the end of the season! The powdery mildew coating the soft juvenile bracts of the apricot in early May 2016 took a little longer to subdue. I tried two remedies. A mixture of one part milk (organic, of course) to ten parts water in a hand spray. This was applied at two-week intervals. Along with this I prepared a garlic wash by pressing soaked garlic through a cloth and retaining the water as the medicine – also sprayed on the


becoming a fruit forest.

damaged leaves. The happy conclusion to this experiment was the mildew disappeared within a month and the apricot went on to produce its most abundant crop yet. The grapevine also produced a bountiful crop in 2016. Situated on a sheltered wall facing due south, each year it produces clusters of small, juicy sweet fruits. Long, winding shoots appear in the spring and by early summer have reached lengths of ten feet (just over three metres), which are regularly tied in or snipped


back. Tendrils wind their way around the supports and the vine becomes an intricate, latticework of tender, green stems. As the season moves on, it can be challenging to protect the bunches of sweet deliciousness from the clutches of enthusiastic pickers who begin plucking them too early, preventing the fruits from reaching their full potential. Imagine my surprise one July day when I was told that somebody was visiting the grapevine with a box in a pushchair and was busily collecting the vine’s yield and putting it in the box. I went along to the vine and watched the lady from a distance for a while. I soon realised she was not plucking the delicate juvenile grapes, but instead was collecting handfuls of the large, heart-shaped leaves in order, she told me, to make that popular Middle Eastern delicacy of Dolmas – stuffed vine leaves. How rewarding to have two parts of the vine picked and used for food.


future. in your hands


ne of our summer events In Your Hands involved collective tea leaf reading using tea made from dried herbs and plants foraged in the campus grounds. Hold the cup in your hand, drink the tea, swirl the dregs three times clockwise and then turn your cup upside down and look inside. People drew and interpreted what they saw, leading to conversations about how we imagine or share our visions of possible futures. The changing climate will shift the possibilities and limitations of what we grow and how all of us live. We are planting trees that will live and potentially bear fruit for up to 100 years. A leap of faith happens every time we plant a tree. Over the last year Fruit Routes has been working with Charnwood Borough Council, Transition Loughborough and local residents to explore the possibility of developing Fruit Routes in the town and working with the Soil Association’s Food for Life programme with local schools. Fruit Routes continues to make new connections across different disciplines and departments in the University and beyond.


Fruit Routes invites you to take shared ownership of the Route and to develop your own connection, whether this is with a particular

tree, one of the orchards or visiting at different times of year. You are invited to stray from the path, get to know the wilder edges of campus, to realise the opportunities that the campus offers for peace, stillness, community and relationship. To come to events, share in the work and the harvest and reap the rewards of a new food culture. And finally from Anne-Marie: I don’t see any alternative other than actually doing something positive. I think if you want something to change you have to try to do something about it and then you feel ‘I am doing what I can’. I have deep respect for the complexity of natural systems and the earth. Within the natural ecosystem there is no waste. Everything is recycled. Things come and go. They flow. It is inspiring, fascinating and fills me with wonder. There is a natural link between the physical act of growing and harvesting, contact with the soil and plant, and connecting with your community through feasting, celebrating and marking the seasons. It enhances an individual experience by bringing it into a collective experience. It becomes about celebrating and honouring our relationship to land, food and nonhuman inhabitants of the land. A lot of our art has evolved from agri-culture - people working and singing together. Let’s create new songs.


PHOTO CREDITS P6 & P7 Ruth Levene P8 & P9 Ruth Levene P11 Anne-Marie Culhane P12 Anne-Marie Culhane P14 Paul Conneally P15 Ruth Levene P20 & P21 Anne-Marie Culhane P22 Pawas Bisht P23 Pawas Bisht, Alison Lloyd, Anne-Marie Culhane, Paul Conneally P25 Jo Shields, Anne-Marie Culhane, Pawas Bisht P26 Anne-Marie Culhane P27 Chris Mear, Paul Conneally P28 & P29 Paul Conneally, Anne-Marie Culhane P31 Paul Conneally P32 & 33 Chris Mear P34 & P35 Anne-Marie Culhane & Jo Shields P36 Pawas Bisht P37 Pawas Bisht, Anne-Marie Culhane P38 Paul Conneally, Anne-Marie Culhane P39 Pawas Bisht P40 Anne-Marie Culhane P41 Ruth Levene, Kevin Ryan, Anne-Marie Culhane P42, P43, P44, P45 Design & Illustration Anne-Marie Culhane with Jo Salter P46 & P47 Rachel Senior, Anne-Marie Culhane P48 Rachel Senior, Anne-Marie Culhane P51 Anne-Marie Culhane P53 Ruth Levene Photographer Chris Mear was commissioned to document the moth trapping event.

OTHER RESOURCES Fruit Routes Map details all new trees, their locations, varieties and predicted harvest times. The map locates the Fruit Route within the context of the town of Loughborough and gives guidelines on safe foraging as well as some information on where to forage on the route. The forthcoming Fruit Routes Recipe Book includes favourite recipes that have featured through the project and in the Fruit Routes Bake Off. Fruit Routes project blog: Sustainability at Loughborough University: SPECIAL THANKS TO

The Gardens Team, Jo Shields, Paul Conneally, Martha Worsching, Jo Salter, Miriam Keye & Finn. Book design: Jo Salter & Anne-Marie Culhane




Fruit routes – celebrating the first 5 years  
Fruit routes – celebrating the first 5 years  

Over the last five years, the indefatigable efforts of the people that have made this project possible have reached out to more and more peo...