Share Hedgerow Foraging Tales
What did you do in the War? Were you a young hedgerow forager at a time when food was scarce or rationed, or do you know someone with tales to tell of harvesting wild food – now or in the past?
If so The Tree Council would like to hear from you for its new Hedgerow Harvest History project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
This oral history project is capturing the personal stories of people in Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight who have gathered food from British hedgerows in the past, as well as the experiences of others, such as European migrant communities, who forage similarly today.
Backed by an HLF grant, The Tree Council’s Hedgerow Harvest History project will continue until June 2015.
Margaret Lipscombe from The Tree Council explained: “The Hedgerow Harvest History project celebrates our heritage of hedgerow foraging and we’ve already come across some fascinating memories. However, we’re very keen for other people across Hampshire, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight to come forward with their stories. We want to capture this knowledge before it’s lost.
“Our aim is to create a living archive which will also demonstrate to a new generation the value of wild hedgerow food, so we’re hoping that we can get stories from a wide range of people.
“We’re also working with school pupils and others in local communities in the three counties to promote traditional conservation skills through local training events, including rejuvenating hedges and harvesting fruit. These, too, are opportunities for new generations to learn from experienced foragers.”
Tree Council Tree Wardens and other volunteers throughout the area have now been trained by Matthew Paskins of University College London to collect these oral histories and are on standby to talk to people about their memories and experiences of hedgerow harvesting.
Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England, said: ”This project is a fascinating mix of handing down skills not only from one generation to the next but also from one culture to another. And in shedding light on an all-but forgotten practice it is also providing a valuable introduction to our shared natural heritage.”
To find out more about the project visit the Hedgerow Harvest website. To volunteer your foraging stories, email email@example.com or phone The Tree Council on 020 7407 9992.