Stanmer Park’s Fruit Factory

fruit_factory_label2_mg_1564The Brighton Permaculture Trust plans to process ten times more fruit than it used to with its new Fruit Factory in Stanmer Park, Sussex, United Kingdom. Just a drop in the ocean of fruit juice consumed in the area, but it is a promising start.

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On this last day of 2016, I am considering numbers, as in the end, they are an essential element of measurement of the success of a sustainable development initiative. How much « share of stomach », as some marketers of the food industry would put it, can local food productions reach? Are local initiatives bound to remain confidential or can they make a real difference in our eating habits, in terms of quantities eaten and drunk?

The reason I am asking this question now is that on 20 December I visited the Fruit Factory created by the Brighton Permaculture Trust on the South Coast of England to substantially increase its fruit processing capacity.

From two tons of fruit turned into apple and pear juice and a range of jellies, chutneys and preserves, the charity is now looking at processing « 10 to 20 or even as much as 40 tons of fruit a year ».

Despite this sharp increase, the organisation has calculated that its fruit juices, which account for the bulk of its produce, will only represent less than 1% of the fruit juices consumed in the city of Brighton & Hove. Hence my question.

I wonder how much of the local needs for fruit would be fulfilled if a majority of garden owners were to plant one fruit tree on their property. I intend to look into that in 2017.

I will also post more on the Brighton Permaculture Trust’s work with orchards and fruit, as I believe it might effectively contribute to triggering the changes of behaviours we need from the general public both in the UK and in France in order to develop more sustainable food supplies.

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The Brighton Permaculture Trust’s Food Factory in the making. More to come on the initiative in 2017. Photo 20 December, Stanmer Park, Sussex, United Kingdom.

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