Sadly we have to announce that the bees and their beautiful hive that were in the Edible Park at the Quakers Burial Ground, have had to be, temporarily we hope, rehomed to a safer space. This is due to vandalism of the hive which obviously seriously compromises the safety of our bees and so had to be acted upon immediately. The hive has obviously had rocks thrown at it and been kicked and hit so has gone to a nature reserve on the outskirts off the city where we know it will be safe.
Sadly over the last few months we have had people sleeping both in the park and in the centre of the roundabout by St Mary Redcliffe. We feel it vital to point out that at no time have we had any issues with these people and we have had some great conversations with many of them about what we are doing and why. Not once have we come up against any negativity from them. However, it seems to us that all of these people, whilst desperately needing to access housing, also need addiction, and in many cases mental health help as well and sadly we are not able to offer that, although we are looking to work with agencies that will be able to offer that support.
So here we find ourselves at a bit of an impasse. We want our spaces to be inclusive and feel safe and accessible to all, but with the present situation we know that isn’t possible for everyone to feel. We want all our volunteers to come along to our work parties and enjoy themselves whilst learning and joining in with growing food in a safe and happy space but right now the Edible Park doesn’t always feel like that space.
So what are we going to do?
So far in the park we have spent weeks and weeks cutting back and removing overgrown shrubs to open up the space. We have taken out lots of overgrown ivy and piles and piles of weeds including beginning an ongoing battle with ground elder which we will make sure we win. We have planted over a thousand bulbs that will flower in spring, originally creating forage for our bees but avilable to all pollinators in the area. We have created an area for planting in early spring that will be full of perennial crops and the area at the back of the park that looks made to be a rockery is slowly being cleared so that we can use it for herbs in the spring and summer of next year. We have also planted apple trees and crab apple trees that are being trained into espaliers andare planing early spring sowings of pollinator friendly plants for around those fruit trees. We have linked into Avon Wildlife Trusts My Wild City project that has seen us plant some of the amazing plantes grown at Feed Bristol for that project, which is meaning we are a part of that exciting network of pollinator friendly planting across the city. We have added bird feeders and boxes.
So what we are going to do is ask for the support of the city.
And by that we do not mean financial support. What we mean is positive support. Come along and find out about what we are doing, where and why. Learn about our three spinning plates and how we are constantly fighting to keep them all spinning. Find out about how your children can access our education programme and ask your schools to get involved. Discover our food waste programme. But most importantly become a part of our Incredible Edible family, which reaches 120 towns and cities in the UK and over 700 places worldwide. And all you have to do is eat, because “if you eat, you’re in”