Jonathon Porritt praises Loughborough’s green campus and urges others to follow suit

Jonathon Porritt with the Fruit Routes map

Environmentalist Jonathon Porritt has urged more academic institutions to follow the lead of Loughborough University with their Eat Your Campus project.

Jonathon was speaking after being taken on a ‘walking meeting’ with the Sustainability Team around the University’s Fruit Routes before delivering a lecture in his role as a Visiting Professor.

His guide was Jo Shields, the Sustainability Manager who gave him a map of the Fruit Routes, which was launched yesterday.

The Fruit Routes, which includes fruit trees in various parts of the campus, was designed by artist/sustainability campaigner Anne-Marie Culhane working with the Sustainability Team.

The map is the culmination of three year’s work by Anne-Marie, the Sustainability Team, Grounds and Gardens, and the Students Union’s Landscaping and Gardening Society (LAGS). 

The overarching Eat Your Campus project, which involves the University, the Students’ Union and the local community, won the Higher Education Sustainability Project prize at this year’s Guardian University Awards.

It aims to create an ‘edible landscape’ from the campus’s green spaces, where food is grown for staff, students and the local community.

Loughborough is the first university to develop a Fruit Routes, and while a few are now following suit Jonathon said more should do the same.

He said the Fruit Routes and the Eat Your Campus scheme reminded him of ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden’, a project introduced by a West Yorkshire village in 2008 and backed by the Sustainable Development Commission when he was Chair.

He said: “They turned the whole town into an edible landscape for everyone. What’s going on here is a kind of ‘Incredible Edible Campus’ idea, where as much of the land as is reasonable is being used to produce food, as well as being a source of education and a place for research.

“I think more universities should follow suit. Inner-city universities will find it hard, but a lot of the land at universities that have a campus style like this is not creatively used. So why not turn it to good effect?”

Jonathon was shown the garden where LAGS grow their own food, as well as the Fruit Routes.

He said: “The Fruit Routes is great. I love the way it’s building bridges between the University and the surrounding community, with a lot of the route running along the edge of the campus boundary. 

“It helps, in a small way, to remind students that the natural world is all about producing the goods we enjoy so much. And it just makes the campus look so much more attractive!”

Jo said: “It meant a lot be recognised at the Guardian awards as a small project with a very big impact.

“As a legacy project, it is exciting to think that these trees will be harvested by future generations of students, their children and grandchildren.

“Sharing this project with our wider community has been a real pleasure. The knowledge exchange that is occurring between students, staff and local residents has been rewarding and enlightening.”

In his lecture, Jonathon, whose latest book is called The World We Made, spoke about how innovation has the power to transform the way we live.

Pictured in the main image are Jonathon Porritt with Jo Shields (green dress), members of LAGS, and supporting academics.

For more information on the project or how to get involved contact:

Twitter:  @fruitroutes
Tel:  07849073394

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