Cllr Kevin Pressland: Ellington Park Productive Border. We need more in Thanet

Picked rainbow chard and squash flowers

Green Councillor Kevin Pressland is a passionate campaigner for nature and the natural environment.  His understanding of the threats faced by the natural world is based on expertise gained from a 40-year career in horticulture, garden design and sustainable land management.

The concept of productive border and the wildlife area created and expanded in Ellington Park Ramsgate has multiple benefits. This productive border and/ or wildlife area could be mirrored in many more areas of Thanet and beyond.

Although the ‘Productive Border’ is in its infancy it encompasses perennial produce like strawberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, rhubarb which will develop in productivity year on year and annual crops like Swiss chard and rainbow chard (spinach like with lovely crisp central midrib, great for stir fries in varying coloured leaf midribs), salad leaves like mizuna, giant mustard leaf, lettuce and radishes also Russian spinach (looks like a large fat hen plant), squash, Pak choi and herbs like Angelica.

Dawn Huckle, a key volunteer, said: “It has been great to see people young and old taking the produce and been considerate in taking moderate amounts so as many people as possible can enjoy. We have had some great feedback and some people have talked enthusiastically about the varying food dishes they have been making.”

Petra Dungate added: “I harvested chard, rhubarb this summer, fresh veg and fruit is the best and I am so delighted it is not sprayed. Absolutely delicious and nutritious, we need more projects like this. I made sure I took only enough for 1 meal each time. I look forward to harvesting fruit once the soft fruit grow more next year.”

Central Harbour Councillor Tricia Austin said: ‘This initiative is very welcome and it’s great to see it going so well. We’re delighted with all the improvements that volunteers have achieved in Ellington Park – as recognised by their recent Ramsgate Society ‘winner of winners’ award!

“It’s been particularly good to watch the development of the wildflower meadow, which contributes to biodiversity, as does other wildlife habitats like the pond. The food-growing initiative is a really positive development that I’m sure can be replicated elsewhere in Ramsgate. Well done to everyone involved.”

I believe we could expand this idea throughout Thanet and this would have a multitude of positive benefits. The ‘National Food Strategy’ 2020/2021 produced for the government by Henry Dimbleby, the first independent extensive review of the entire food system for 75 years (great the government asked for this report) highlighted many shortfalls in the current approach by many previous governments and the current one.

The government responded promising to implement 3 things, one being “Use some revenue to help get fresh fruit and vegetables to low-income families”.

I only wished they honoured that commitment and took more seriously the National Food Strategy recommendations in their entirety.

Young people have been seen taking strawberries and raspberries, early contact by the young with where their food comes from is so important.

Annie is another resident who uses the produce, in this case the chard, and she has kindly supplied a delicious recipe:

Chard Frittata

1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 tablespoon of butter

8 large chard leaves, well washed, stalks removed leaves chopped roughly, 4 eggs, beaten,

2 spring onions, finely chopped,

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 large handful of grated cheddar cheese, Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat an ovenproof pan on the hob and add the butter and olive oil. When bubbling add the onion and garlic for 2 minutes.

Throw in the chard with a sprinkling of water and put the lid on until the leaves are wilted.

Remove the lid, add the beaten egg and the cheese, stir well, add salt and pepper and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Cook at 180c for 25 mins plus a little longer if not quite set. Eat hot, warm it cold.

2 Comments

  1. We have an abundance of wildlife all of Thanet.We are overrun with weeds on an industrial level.Before the wildlife you need the litter cleared so it can flourish.Drive down the A299 into Ramsgate and see the Double Mattress,Roll of Loft insulation, car roof,builders rubbish plus the normal cans,coffee cups etc sitting in the grass verges. A perfect place for wildlife to flourish.
    Whilst I know this is down to litter bugs the Councils do nothing to sort it out.

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