A planting campaign by FNNF as part of the “1/2 hectare” project

an example of a non-profit project of the gift economy in a regional field of action in North Hesse, which is initiated, supervised and developed by the foundation.

With the “1/2 hectare” project, the Future Now Foundation (supported by a Kassel-based company and in cooperation with other regional actors) wants to stimulate the formation of cycles in which non-profit foundations cooperate with companies in order to initiate innovative and sustainable projects with a common good orientation. The regional and sustainable development of food sovereignty, which is urgently needed today and which is tested in such a way, enables a growing sense of solidarity and intercultural understanding.

For this purpose and with the example of our fruit tree plantations, we want to perspectively bring together individuals, action networks (such as those of our foundation) and later also refugee families to care for the fruit trees on the property, to rediscover old regional knowledge about rare fruit varieties and to learn fruit tree pruning themselves. Moreover, with regular gatherings, meetings and harvest festivals, creative and convivial spaces are created in which the eventual harvest is shared and used for the common good.

As part of the “1/2 hectare” project, and on behalf of the FNNF, a planting campaign initiated by the director of the foundation (Michael Plesse) and coordinated with the foundation board was carried out on 6.3.2017 close to Wolfshagen near Kassel. During this event, the horticultural firm Bio-Gartenbau Flechtdorf planted 31 fruit trees, actively supported by several people with handicaps who had been trained by them. Rüdiger Metzger and Heike Terhorst from the Future Now Action Network were on site for the FNNF. In the following a short report about the event…

“Equipped with hat and umbrella, Rüdiger and I drive towards Altenhasungen at noon. It’s raining cats and dogs and we suspect that we will end up sinking deeply into the mud on “our” little apple orchard.

We are already very excited to see what is happening today – after months of planning, consideration and preparation by foundation members of the FNNF – on the 1/2 hectare plot.

When we arrive, it is still drizzling a little. The sun breaks through the clouds and in the distance we see industrious gardeners on the meadow putting little trees. “It has been beautiful all morning and hardly rained!” they tell us. They had already started digging the first holes early in the morning. Standard trees and semi-standard trees are planted. Topaz … yes I know it, a wonderfully crisp and juicy apple … and Ingrid Marie … but by all means, who or what is “Wudonia“?

Regional and old varieties were selected for this planting.

I find a “Volkmarser pear” and the mirabelle “Nancy”. Rüdiger also discovers a plum. It sounds like abundance and a longing for the first harvest… but that will still require a measure of patience.

For the time being, we are allowed to participate in the planting of all the “delicious” trees.  First 31 pieces, more will follow. The roots are wrapped with wire so that the voles can’t get at them.

Diligent hands and feet plunge the spade into the heavy, clayey soil. They hammer posts into it, tie the trunks to it with ropes and skillful knotting techniques so that they can withstand wind and weather and grow nice and straight. Later, the trunks are also secured above the earth’s surface with wire mats so that the game doesn’t get the idea of nibbling on the bark.

It is a very relaxed and well-versed planting operation, which is carried out here by the horticultural company Bio-Gartenbau Flechtdorf. And what makes it so special is that they train people with handicaps at the same time. There is a lot to learn on this day… also for me.

Small colorful signs flutter in the wind on the branches with variety designations, origin and the name of the tree nursery Pflanzlust.

I can’t help but think of Tibetan prayer flags. They invite me to let go of all thoughts and photographic pleasures and to listen to nature… – silence. The first spring birds sing occasionally into this wide space. Here and there a spade, a call, a hammer blow… I look at the landscape and see rolling hills, the sky as if painted, wind blowing, sun shining.

Yes, this is a good place for our little trees. If I were a mirabelle plum, I would settle right here. I feel gratitude for all who have given their actions and their hearts to this planting campaign!”

Heike Terhorst

(Text and image rights: Heike Terhorst)