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LUSU Involve’s Green Lancaster has recently been ‘Highly Commended’ at the Incredible Edible Awards in the Higher Education/Further Education category for their orchard, organic gardens and chicken run projects.
The awards are run by local organisation Local and Effective Sustainable Solutions (LESS ), and celebrate local growing projects from schools, community groups and individuals.
The judges were particularly impressed with the level of student input and the integrated approach to local growing, environmental education, and considerations for native species and wildlife.
On receiving the award, Volunteer Coordinator Jonny Casey said, “The award is a fantastic recognition of the exceptional work all our volunteers have contributed to our projects this year. This has really inspired us to continue to develop the orchard area further. The University Facilities team have been a brilliant help too.”
The organic garden project is a student-led team that grows crops of organic vegetables and fruit on a small campus allotment. The chicken run project allowed students to rear hens on campus, most of which have been rescued from a battery farm. The students then went on to sell the eggs at a weekly farmers’ market.
The orchard project aimed to encourage students and staff to make better use of the campus, while focusing on sustainable growing. Tasks within this project included tree planting, building a compost facility and laying paths. PhD students from the University’s ‘high-wire project’ have also used the area for a 24hr ‘hackathon’, while PhD students from Lancaster Environment Centre have provided wild-flower seeds to encourage pollinators.
The orchard has also been nominated for a ‘Britain in Bloom’ award from the Royal Horticultural Society, with results due in October.
The overall winners in the category were Carnforth High School, where volunteers from Lancaster have also helped out at their garden site.