Following approval by the Council in June this year, the new food forest garden* for the Old Witney Road play area has been making fast progress, with a first planting session attended by many local families last weekend.
The project has been months in planning and preparation, including visits to Eynsham Community Primary School to generate some ideas from the children and school staff. Mr Reeves, the school’s Head, and Mrs Howell, chair of the school council, have been particularly supportive and raised awareness across the student body.
Cllr Milly Chen, a passionate advocate for the project who has been involved from inception, says: “it’s been extremely well received by the school and the children, and there were some great ideas on plants from some of the school councillors, many of which we have taken forward.”
In August, Cllr Milly and her own family, along with Cllr Ross, removed the old wooden fence from the site and installed a new one, ready for the food forest garden. Last weekend they were joined by Cllr Carl for a planting session and were delighted to be joined by many of the local children and their families.
Cllr Milly says: “around 30 parents and children from the primary school came to help. It was absolutely heart-warming to see how involved the children were – and I think even their own parents were surprised and thrilled at their enthusiasm!”
Fruit trees, berry bushes and ground edibles were planted over the weekend. The group were lucky with the weather. It had been a stormy, cold weekend, but the Sunday morning was sunny, with the snow only starting later in the afternoon when most of the planting was complete.
“We really appreciated the support of the children over the weekend, so a huge thank you to all who came down to help,” says Cllr Milly. “It was a lovely day – and having so many eager hands was a huge benefit.”
There will be another planting day in the spring, with plans to sow wildflower seeds alongside adding new plants to the beds. The date will be confirmed in the new year. All are welcome to join the session and help bring the new food forest garden to life.
*it’s a food forest garden rather than an allotment because all plants are perennial and will not need re-planting or constant watering; they take care of themselves, more like a forest. Similar to a forest, there will also be different layers of plants (including trees, bushes and ground covering) which is beneficial for sun exposure.