We applaud all of these organisations and are delighted that there is such a groundswell of desire to plant trees, and money being made available. However, we have a question, and it’s a big question – where are all these trees going to come from? Many commercial nurseries are expanding, but even so - they won’t be able to keep up with demand.
What has happened in the past is lots of trees get imported from other countries, bringing with it all sorts of problems, Ash Dieback disease being a case in point.
To help all these tree planting projects, we want to get everyone growing trees. We envisage every school setting aside an area as a tree nursery. How about places of worship, gardening groups, local authorities, parish councils, social housing landlords, businesses and local residents? We want to create a network of mini community nurseries, where trees can be grown from seed and cuttings. It might be as small scale as half a raised veg bed in someone’s garden, to something much bigger where people have the space. With a bit of organisation and cross-working with all groups, we should be able to supply a significant number of trees for little or no money at all.
Climate change is the biggest threat to human life on this planet - clearly overshadowed by another threat at the moment - but whereas we hope Covid-19 will be solved in a matter of months, climate change is going to be a perpetual challenge for us to get our heads round for the foreseeable future, for human life to sustain itself. Tree planting isn’t the only solution, but it’s a vital part of what needs to be done.
Think about the monumental community effort in the UK at the moment, responding to the global pandemic. BANES 3SG has signed up over 2,500 volunteers to help people through the pandemic. Nationally, 1,000,000 volunteers have come forward to help people in this time of need. We need this kind of mobilisation to help grow trees and other activities to reverse climate change before it’s too late, and our children inherit an uninhabitable world.
During the second world war, there was the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, where even the lawns outside the Tower of London were turned into veg beds, and right now, people are growing loads more fruit and vegetables in their gardens and sharing plants etc. Let’s do this also for trees, and help these amazing organisations hit their tree planting targets!
So what do we need?
We need to find space to grow trees. This could be an underused raised bed or poly tunnel where someone had intended to grow some veg, but never got round to it. It could be a lawn that you’re bored of mowing. It could be the corner of a field within a school, or an area of a farm. It could be some council-owned land that is under-utilised. It could be in a factory carpark, tended by the people who work there. We want a network of mini nurseries of all sizes.
Each mini nursery will need to be managed by someone. We can provide advice and support, and if we get any funding, then we can supply materials. There may be someone who has a space but no time to manage it – we can put them in touch with someone who has time but no space.
This is going to require a lot of admin and organisation on our part. Ideally we’d like to automate this as much as possible through a website, otherwise we will be slowed down by manual processes and bottle necks as we are run purely by volunteers who do this in their spare time, as well as juggling families, careers and studies. So if there is anyone who thinks they could help us with a website that is more than just a brochure, we’d love to hear from them. Or if you could help us with the admin and organising, that would be really welcome. Most of this could be done at the end of a phone/laptop.
We have some experience of growing trees ourselves, but frankly we’ve bought 10 for every 1 that we’ve grown, so we would welcome anyone with experience of growing trees, particularly at scale. Perhaps there is a commercial tree nursery or garden centre that would be interested in partnering with us on this.
One of the beautiful things about this idea is that it could be done with no money at all. However, funding would help us achieve more, sooner. Funding could pay for the website if no suitable pro bono offers come along. Funding could provide materials for us to supply to schools and local groups e.g. reference books, compost, seeds, tools, raised beds, netting etc. If we got some really decent funding, we could recruit someone to co-ordinate everything. We need public donations, grant-making organisations with relevant schemes, commercial sponsorship and anyone who wants to fundraise for us.
Maybe you can’t do any of these things, but you know someone who might be able to help. Please put them in touch with us. Spread the word.
So you can support us in so many ways. Please get in touch.
LET'S DIG! :-)