Thank the Earth: Pumpkin Patch event

Earth Trust, September 2022

This autumn, Earth Trust is reminding us to value the earth beneath our feet and all it provides, with a special event as part of a ‘Thank the Earth’ season.

Visitors to Earth Trust’s farm will be getting their hands dirty and boots grubby as they pick pumpkins and squash, of all shapes and sizes, direct from the growing field.

With the purpose of inspiring people to address climate, biodiversity and wellbeing with the power of natural green spaces, Earth Trust is keen to support a deeper understanding of our ecosystem, the part we play in it and crucially, our role in caring for it.

Pumpkin Patch: Pick a Pumpkin, Explore our Maize Maze’, will take place from Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th October at Earth Trust’s farm, nestled beneath the iconic Wittenham Clumps. Alongside the opportunity to get to grips with gourds of all kinds, visitors can explore a maize maze and enjoy refreshments at a pop-up café run by the Wallingford restaurant 5 Little Pigs.

Recent studies have shown that many children are unaware of where their food comes from. For instance, whilst 8 out of 10 children are concerned about the environment, 28% do not know that carrots grow in the soil.

The earth beneath our feet is a dynamic, living resource for more than just produce; in fact all lifeforms on earth depend on soil to survive. It is home to more than 25% of our planet’s biodiversity and captures around one third of the carbon emissions that drive the climate crisis. So, thinking carefully about how we care for this precious resource, and value the produce it gives us is important in helping us to support practices that are good for the soil, climate, nature and human health.

At the heart of Earth Trust’s fun family event is an important message: making a difference to how we care for the natural world starts with us, and it starts right under (even the littlest) feet. Traditional pumpkin events can generate extraordinary levels of waste. It is estimated that around 24 million pumpkins will be purchased this October in the UK alone, with over half being thrown in the bin – that’s 6.6 million tonnes of wasted food going to landfill.

Earth Trust has planted a wide variety of tasty squash and pumpkin for wonderful wonky variety, beyond just carving and decoration. Visitors will be encouraged to cook, carve and, most importantly, compost their pumpkins (seeds and all) after they get home, so that together we can squash waste. What’s more, any surplus pumpkins and squash from Earth Trust’s Pumpkin Patch will be gleaned by Good Food Oxfordshire, and redistributed by Oxford Food Hub to kitchens, cafés and other places where the produce will be cooked for local communities to enjoy. Even the maize stalks from the maze at the event will be used to feed the cows on a neighbouring farm.

Ian Nutt, Earth Trust Director of Programmes and Partnerships shares his thoughts about the event, and the Thank the Earth season: “This year the effects of global warming have been felt by us all, with extreme weather conditions dominating headlines and our daily lives. It is now clearer than ever that life on our planet depends on our natural resources.

“With this in mind, thinking about how we care for the earth is essential. It therefore seems entirely fitting to mark the launch of our Thank the Earth season at our Pumpkin Patch event. Even when starting with something as small and humble as a pumpkin, each and every one of us can make a difference. By all means let’s cook, carve and have fun with this amazing crop at this time of year. But we can also think differently about how we dispose of it afterwards in an effort to squash waste. We have some fantastic resources, tips and ideas that we would love to share with you. And we are so excited to welcome the local community to our Pumpkin Patch event this October!”

This event took place during October 2022. To find out about our upcoming events check out our ‘What’s On’ pages.