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Grandma's Apple Crumble - Summary

The project will take children from Uplands school and the community around Thimblemill Library, through a process of learning and exploring life during the First world war with the theme of food. Sandwell 100 years ago was on the urban/rural boundary but with the majority of its population in industrial communities, disconnected from farming and foraging. This process of urbanisation and dislocation from controlling your own food resources has obviously increased since the First World War.

The project will:-

  • Teach people about the crisis in food security in the First World War and how this lead to an exponential growth in allotments and maximising the use of natural food resources in Britain.
  • Change modern perceptions and attitudes to open space a potential edible landscape.
  • Demonstrate the benefit of maintaining heritage varieties of fruit tree, as and other wild and semi-wild flora as a food resource. This will be demonstrated practically by enhancing the local foraging environment, providing residents with the opportunity to find food for free as people did 100 years ago. (Specifically this will be developed at Thimblemill Brook with fruit and nut trees as a resource for nature and residents to forage and at Uplands School. The fruit trees planted will be heritage varieties, and many of them will be varieties that were popular during the First World War.)
  • Teach participants about the importance of planning for future generations by maintaining natural space and food resources, specifically by planting nut trees for the next generation to harvest; giving children a hands on opportunity to make a difference in their own and their community's food security.
  • Look at the challenges of the 'home front', and make simple nutritious meals from food basics and foraged foods. Draw on the knowledge and lessons learned from the era of the first world war and apply to modern day life to support a food security effort for communities in Sandwell.

The whole process will enable a connection of era's - the past benefiting the present, and the present benefiting those in the future. It is a connection with an underlying essence of community well-being.

Specific elements:-

  1. Researching the 'home front' of The First World War.
  2. Documenting the process on film.
  3. Preparing food and teaching nutrition.
  4. Creating the displays for a public event
  5. Training and planting of trees at Thimblemill Brook and Uplands School.