Celebrating Netplants: Wellbeing through Nature Connection

After two fruitful years of nature-connection activity, Netplants is coming to an end. So we thought we’d reflect on our experiences and celebrate the achievements of this wonderful Erasmus+ project.

Making Memories: Project Activity

Lots has happened with Netplants over the last two years. We’ve undertaken workshop weeks in each partner country. Students and trainers have gathered together to collectively build skills in gardening, foraging, cooking and natural crafts. Team UK accompanied recently-resettled refugees, young unemployed people and environmental specialists on these trips. We shared in their learning, cultural exchange and collecting of new experiences.

On the first trip, to a wild part of France near Calais, the group was based on a local organic farm. They learned to build raised beds, create insect hotels and harvest veg for deliciously cheap, healthy group meals.

European delegates joined us on a rural farm in the heart of Somerset for workshop week #2. The group heartily embraced getting back to nature! We undertook a -6° C foraging mission, cooked alfresco on frosty ground and shared a traditional wassailing ceremony to welcome spring’s return.

In Spain, partners were introduced to European schemes to improve consumer-farmer relationships.  They also learnt practical skills in the arts of flower pressing, cooking for people with allergies, and homemade toothpaste.

The Romanian week involved mountain-top horse-and-cart rides and eye-opening skill sharing for trainers from farming, bushcraft and biological science backgrounds. Delegates made natural lip balm and deodorant, foraged and cooked in the traditional way.

And in Ireland delegates were immersed in the beautiful lake-filled countryside, introduced to the many fruits of the sea, and treated to a traditional music concert in the heart of Killarney National Park.

Building tools: Project Outputs

The Netplants project has produced instructional videos with easy growing, cooking, foraging and crafting ideas to try at home. Simple guidebooks have been created to help beginners start out on their journey to a more environmental way of living. Let us know if you would like a copy of our guides or have any feedback on these tools.

For our final celebratory event we took part in the International Culture, Health & Wellbeing conference in Bristol in June. We presented Netplants to hundreds of conference delegates from all over the globe, to much excitement and enthusiasm. Many signed up to receive our White Book which will collect learnings from the project. The new knowledge and wisdom of Netplants will therefore spread as far as New Zealand, Australia and North America. If you would like to receive a copy please get in touch with [email protected]

Forming the Future: Project Plans

Thank you to all our wonderful partners: Bucovina Institute (Romania), Anges Gardins and Afidel  (France), Fundacion el Tranvia (Spain) and Kerry One World Centre (Ireland). Also to all the new friends, colleagues and connections we have made through this project: Fernhill Farm; Incredible Edible; Ashley Community Housing; Grow Bristol; Growing Futures; Bee the Change; Glastonbury Abbey & Medieval Gardens; St. Werburgh’s City Farm and many many more. We salute you all! We’ll be looking to join forces with you all over coming months to build nature connections in the local community.

That’s it for Netplants for now. But plans are afoot with our European partners, with more to be revealed in Spring 2018. Watch this space for news of Netplants 2.0!

Written by

Ursula Billington, Project Manager

[email protected]