HELEN BURTON: Beekeeping - and some love for Pevensey Bay

My Incredible Edible Pevensey and Westham project is celebrating this week due to winning another grant, this time from the Wealden Sustainability Partnership.

Thanks to previous grants from Wealden District Council and Pevensey Parish Council we now have enough to set up Pevensey Apiary, with 10 beehives, and also to start planting a forest garden and spread some bee friendly planting across the parish.

Our bees will be kept using sustainable methods and we will only remove the excess of honey that the bees produce, leaving them enough honey for their own purposes. We will still be able to produce a good supply of raw honey which will be sold locally and our beekeeper thinks that each hive could produce up to 60lbs of honey a year once the swarms are fully established – all with no harm to the bees. We will run courses on beekeeping from the site to educate people on natural beekeeping methods which are better for the environment and the bees. We would also like to turn part of the site into a forest garden so that we can teach sustainable food production and gardening methods. We aim to care for the native plants and trees already on the site, increase opportunities for wildlife there and we also want to propagate plants at the site which will be used around the villages of Pevensey and Westham. There will be an educational purpose to all of our planting too as we teach residents sustainable, environmentally friendly growing and planting methods. We will be meeting at Pevensey recreation ground car park (weather permitting) at 10am every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few weeks in order to prepare the site so do come along and join us!

As well as this exciting apiary project we will also be working on a scheme to rejuvenate the Pevensey Bay shopping area. We are hoping to add a planting scheme to the area which will brighten it up using a seaside theme and some brightly coloured planters. We will use a combination of herbs, evergreen and perennial plants which should all be fairly low maintenance and look great all year round. We will also be planting some saffron-producing crocus, and I will be thrilled next year when residents will be able to walk along their High Street picking their own saffron! Incredible Edible is all about increasing local food production and making communities more resilient in the process and there are lots of ways to go about this. Edible Eastbourne has been hard at work planting fruit trees in local parks in Eastbourne, creating free food opportunities for many years to come. Our own project has been running for about 18 months and it just shows what you can do if you have an idea for your community. There is lots of funding out there for projects so if you have an idea to improve your community then have no doubt that a little bit of perseverance might make all the difference!