West Ealing Abundance

The Abundance Wing of WEN. For further information click on About Abundance

About Abundance April 1, 2013

What WEN Abundance did in 2013

It was a better year than 2012 but still patchy. We picked a lot of elderflower in May and made and sold loads of cordial; we picked blackberries but they weren’t brilliant (remember all that rain?); we had a fair amount of apples (thanks all local tree donaters). We had some successful fairs (in spite of the rain) including one at The Fox just before Christmas (remember the cold!!). We found some new outlets for our produce. Thanks all lovely volunteers pickers and orchard clearers.

What WEN Abundance did in 2012

As you are all aware last year was very poor for fruit and we had very little opportunity to pick. We did have a pruning workshop at our Orchard in Walmer Gardens and held another one in February 2013. The trees have been neglected for so long it will be at least 2-3 more years before they are hopefully fully restored to their best.  The London Orchard Project have been instrumental in helping us with this initiative for which we are very grateful.

It is too early to tell what fruit will arrive this year, but the continuation of very cold weather doesn’t bode well.
What WEN Abundance did in 2011Support from The London Orchard Project and full Ealing Council sign off to take over Walmer Gardens Orchard and renovate.  We worked with Ealing Transition as they are also using the Orchard for their first beehive.  Work started in January 2012 to clear and run pruning workshops.

We were much more accurate with our picking and measuring this year – overall we picked around 1.5 metric tonnes of fruit.

We managed to meet all requests to pick from private locations.

We were more organised and had more volunteers for jam/chutney making and have made more chutney this year ready for 2012 and the potential to sell to local independent retailers (who  already sold our juice)

We identified suitable kitchen facilities to run jam/chutney making workshops that we will fully utilise in 2012. We did run workshops in conjunction with Ealing Transition events that went well.

Increased the number of fairs/carnivals we attended.

BACKGROUND TO WEN ABUNDANCE

I am Diane from West Ealing Neighbours a local residents group (www.westealingneighbours.org.uk).   Abundance was started in 2007 by WEN. The idea came from an apple tree in a friends of WENs garden.  The owner of the apple tree was unable to pick the fruit and as a result the apples were going to waste. We had heard of the Abundance initiative in Manchester and Sheffield and thought we could try something ourselves, albeit on a smaller scale. In our first year we picked the apples and gave them away to local residents. In 2008 we wanted to be slightly more ambitious and involve the local community in a project that saw huge quantities of unwanted fruit that would normally go to waste turned into products (in this case Jams and Chutneys)  These were also made by the local community and sold to the public via a craft fair held in one of the local churches that is very much focused on the local community. In 2009 we continued with our Jams and chutneys but also involved the local community in cookery masterclasses.

After expanding considerably in 2010, we secured funding from the local Ward Forum to purchase fruit pickers, storage bags, an apple press, pasteuriser and apple crusher, while Waitrose lent fruit crates for storage. The local press (website, radio and paper) has been very supportive and local word of mouth is positive, extensive and growing.  We were also part of a nationwide Abundance network than won the grassroots category of the Observer Ethical Awards.

2011 saw even more success, securing Walmer Gardens Orchard renovation project. This is a little known run down Orchard in W13 and we will be working with one of Ealing Council’s park ranger as well as The London Orchard Project on this 2-3 year project.  We also picked more fruit and accurately weighed it.  Due to the large quantities of fruit we pick we juiced most of it via commercial operations and sold the juice via stalls as well as local independent retailers.

2012 was the quietest year for us since the inception of Abundance.  Luckily we had enough produce to sell at our usual carnivals/fairs and we hope that elderflowers will be early enough this year to make and sell our very popular cordial at Hanwell Carnival on Saturday June 15th 2013.

West Ealing Abundance works on a purely voluntary basis. Any monies made from the sale of jams and chutneys are ploughed back into the project.

Diane Gill

April 2013

 

16 Responses to “About Abundance”

  1. Corinne Says:

    Hi Diane

    Do you know of any groups starting up in SW London? I’ve just heard about this on the BBC website & it sounds great. Too late for this year – I gave mine away on Freecycle, but will keep it in mind for next year.

    Thx
    Corinne

    • WEN Says:

      Hi Corinne many thanks for your interest, the main groups I know about are in Manchester and Sheffiled. We certainly have used Manchester as a great example of what we are trying to achieve here in West Ealing. There may be other groups in London but I have not heard of any. I will certainly post details here if I do in future.

  2. Rashmi Says:

    Hello Diane,

    Like Corinne, I’ve only just heard of the Abundance group on the guasrdian website (and then the BBc after a bit of searching). I think it’s a fantastic idea. I live in Brentford, not a million miles from West Ealing and was looking for crab apples in September/October time – without success! Living in a flat, it’s mainly hedgerows by the canal and by my mum in law’s place in Ham which were plundered.

    Do you have any tips on how you set up your group?

    Thanks,

    Rashmi

  3. WEN Says:

    Hi Rashmi as we are part of West Ealing Neighbours it was an idea from someone on the Committee that we have run with and are now expanding. We had heard of Manchester and Sheffiled Abundance as they have been going a while so took the lead from them (Their websites are very good) We have mainly concentrated on jam and chutney making and giving produce (mainly apples) away to local causes such as a local soup kitchen and residential care home as well as leaving boxes outside our houses. We are now planning to expand in 2010 with further ideas in conjunction with Ealing Transition Towns and have just started scoping this. What any group needs is a decent amount of volunteers with the will and energy to put a fair amount of work into the project. We will be on a big recruitment campaign for 2010 as there are simply not enough of us doing this at present. If you are interested in joining us then please let me know and I can talk through with you our plans.

  4. Rashmi Says:

    Hello Diane,

    I’d definitely be interested in joining you; if you don’t have my email address I’ll send a message addressed to you from the main site if that’s ok? I don’t want to leave my address on the site.

    Tonight we’re going to attempt our first bit of actual pickling/bottling – ketchup made from hawthorn haws!

  5. WEN Says:

    Hi Rashmi yes I can see your email address so will copy you in on the notes I made of a meeting we had last night to discuss what are plans are. We do have a small amount of money from Ealing Council (along with Ealing Transition Towns) so we were talking about this as well as lots of other ideas! Once you have read them email me and we can arrange to meet. You can also pop along to the Ealing Transition event on Saturday if you are free? I will not be there but David Highton, the Chair of WEN will and he is delivering a short talk on Abundance. We will also have our jam and chutney stall there selling the last of our produce!

  6. Tom Bonasera Says:

    hi Diane, Rashmi, et al. – This sounds very interesting. I would like to learn more and potentially get involved. -Tom (W5)

  7. Katie Bryson Says:

    I’m a food writer/blogger and keen jam/chutney maker and live in W13 and would very much like to get involved with the WEN Abundance group and indeed write about it!

    • WEN Says:

      Hi Katie

      Thanks for your post we are always keen to have new volunteers, particularily in the jam and chutney making area! I’ll email you with more details.

  8. An excerpt from the book I am writing about my Grandmother’s life…. 1898 – 1997:

    “1906 – The Orchard’s, another relative, lived in West Ealing, a new subdivision. The West Ealing railway station was opened in 1870’s as “Castle Hill and Ealing Dene”. I took the tube, visited my old History teacher, Phyllis Challoner, at Mount Park Road, and then went on to the Orchards at West Ealing.

    Maude Orchard was my father’s cousin. She was a portly and motherly person. Her daughter, Hazel was my age and we became good friends and remain so to this day. Fred Orchard was retired from the Burma Police on a good pension but was suffering from advanced cancer. …”

    If you know the “Orchard” family name or any history of that time, please email me! S.Bennett sbennett@triella.com

  9. [...] the local council and other interested parties to plant an orchard. They are also involved with Abundance, a project that makes use of the vast quantity of fruit that goes unpicked in gardens across the [...]

  10. Graham Gunn Says:

    Hello. I’ve been researching rose hips with the intention of making rose hip syrup like my grandmother used to make in the previous “war time” conditions (1940’s). Rose hips have 20 times the vitamin C content as oranges. I found that a particular variety of rose (Rogosa, Frau Dagmar Hastrop) is exceptionally productive, grows well in Ealing clay soil, and is very attractive to birds and bees. Although I originally was looking for something to plant in my own small garden, my colleagues at Ealing Transition suggest that Abundance may also be interested in working on a project to make this plant available in public spaces as well as gardens, allotments, around bee hives, etc.

    If anyone is interested to participate in such a project, or has expert knowledge about these plants, or who has any other comments/suggestions, please contact me.


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