Barnet Community Harvesters

For many of us, autumn is all about apples. Fruit trees are dotted across Barnet and are such a positive feature of the area. Chipping Barnet was developed on Barnet Common and for many years included nurseries and market gardens, let alone being near ancient forest Enfield Chase, it’s no wonder there are so many beautiful trees.

If you’re sorted for chutney (like this tasty spiced version) and had enough crumbles, pies and tarts and still feeling overwhelmed, you might want to contact Barnet Community Harvesters. This new local network is helping residents harvest their fruit and donating surplus to local food banks and Homeless Action in Barnet.

The group is seeking Barnet residents with unpicked fruit trees in their gardens and allotments and will match these locations with people who are able to pick the fruit. Tree owners will be relieved that the produce will not go to waste, while pickers enjoy the reward of foraging for food, meeting their neighbours and feeding the community. So far they have harvested more than half a tonne of fruit.

The group has been set up by Daniella Levene who has trained in community orcharding and orchard management and worked closely with The Orchard Project. What she is keen to do is research Barnet’s fruit tree heritage by identifying and mapping fruit and nut trees on public land. She is especially looking out for unknown apple varieties such as Barnet’s lost apple cultivar the “Finchley Pippin” and “Voyager”, a Hertfordshire raised apple developed by A.R. King of Barnet. There is so much public open space in Barnet that without a useful practical resource like this map, the produce would otherwise be wasted. A positive result of the Covid crisis and lockdown has been an appreciation of the natural environment and renewed community action.

Whether you need help harvesting your fruit or an enthusiasm for picking, you are invited to join the community harvest this autumn and be part of creating a greener and more sustainable Barnet. (You might have spotted them on BBC London News on Tuesday evening – some uplifting news after too much grim stuff.)

To get in touch please email barnetcommunityharvesters@gmail.com.

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