An Inspirational Day At ‘Offshoots’

On Friday, the VPA team travelled up to Burnley to visit the exciting permaculture project “Offshoots”.

The day began with a brief introduction to Permaculture by Phill Dewhurst. He told us about the three ethics that guide Permaculture:

  • Earth Care – looking after the planet
  • People Care – looking after each other
  • Fair Share – reducing consumption and sharing resources

After a little bit of theory, Phil took the group out to the “Sensory Garden”. In this space, every plant had at least one sensory property. Camomile smelt great! Nasturtiums had peppery leaves, seeds and flowers – like very intense rocket. Sorrell divided the groups taste buds, but was somewhere between a citrus or an apple peel flavour. It was a good way to begin the tour of the site, getting everybody into the flow of picking, smelling and tasting!

We spotted at least 14 types of herbs in the herb spiral, which only measured about a meter and a half wide! Next were raised beds full of beans, artichokes, and apple trees!

Quite inspiring were the cob buildings, which had been hand-built from a mixture of clay and sand. Even cooler was the cob oven, which apparantly makes amazing bread and pizzas!

There are too many awesome things going on to list them all, but a selection includes yurt crafting; green wood working; charcoal making; and living willow structures!

My favourite part was the “forest garden” or “food forest”! A mixture of apples, pears, soft fruit and rhubarb grew together in a fairly small area. It was then our job to harvest the bounty!

All in all, we had a fantastic day at Offshoots! Each of us left with heads brimming full of possibilities and ideas! If you ever get the chance, I would highly reccomend a visit.

A big thankyou to Phil, and all of the volunteers who make Offshoots a massive success!

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