On Monday 29th April, Hebden Royd Primary School gardening club planted 16 apple trees at the edge of their sports field on King Street.
Incredible Edible Mytholm and Incredible Farm in Walsden organised the tree planting. The trees were grafted and grown on the farm, so they are ideal for the Upper Calder Valley climate. Mrs June Evans, a Hebden Royd Primary School teacher who runs the gardening club, helped the children with the planting, along with some parents and Nick Green, Helena Cook and Mike Smith from Incredible Farm.
The children dug the holes, got excited about worms (“I’ve cut one in half. Will it die?”), planted and heeled in the small trees and wrapped them in plastic spirals to stop rabbits eating them.
The trees will start to fruit in about five years, so current infants may get to eat some of the apples before they leave Hebden Royd primary school.
After the tree planting, everyone enjoyed eating crumbles unlike anything that they’d ever had before. Made by Helena Cook, a wild food forager, they tasted like rhubarb but were made with foraged Japanese knotweed, using only the tender tips of the plant.
The sports field is next to the former Browns Factory site, which Incredible Edible Mytholm hopes to buy if its business plan shows that it is feasible to go ahead with their proposal for a community-owned sustainable food business, Growing Futures. This would be based on a permaculture food growing project and include a retail/wholesale market for local produce, a sustainable food education and training centre, an eco-hotel and visitor attraction.
Nick Green, chair of Incredible Edible Mytholm and Incredible Farm, said “It is fantastic that Hebden Royd primary school are supporting the Growing Futures plan. We look forward to helping these children to grow up in a richer, greener, more sustainable world’.
The site is currently subject to a planning application for a supermarket and a hotel, but the owners have indicated their willingness to sell to Incredible Edible Mytholm if the group is successful in raising the necessary money.
Over 180 people recently attended a Field Day to find out more about Growing Futures and to offer their support. Children at the St James After School club made a lovely banner for the Growing Futures Field Day.
Incredible Edible Mytholm has already started to develop a business plan. If this shows that Growing Futures is economically feasible, the next stage is decide on the governance structure for the community business, and a strategy to raise the money to buy and develop the site.