As it was written in a previous article in spring, a new chapter started this year when volunteers of Szatyor started the cleaning of four hectares of forest. Since then there hasn’t been a lot going on in this project.
In the beginning of October I had the chance to attend Geoff Lawton’s Food Forest workshop in Terény, Hungary. The knowledge I could gather there was also beneficial for kickstarting working in the forest again. At the workshop I learned about the different methods of mimicking/creating and using existant forested ecosystems, also implementing what we learned in practice.
Coming back from the workshop to Etyek, we started discussing with the head of the association what I learned and all about our ideas. Now that it’s getting colder and colder, there is not much things to start as the first frost has already came and it is not ideal to start planting. The two things that can be done this year are picking more trash and start cutting Ailanthus trees. This species’ common name is „tree of heaven”, which is in case quite ironic, as it is giving us a little bit of hell instead. It is a invasive species that has started to take over some parts of the woods. We love diversity, but invasive species tend to oppress others, therefore needs to be taken care of, if you know what I mean. The plan is that there will be a clearing where we can start to plant edible plants, possibly fruit trees and berry and nut shrubs that might need more light. Also some herbaceous plants like shallots and any kind of herbs that are fit to act as forest undergrowth.
Last week as our boys attended their on-arrival training, it was just us girls with two other men from the association in the forest. It is always so interesting to see the power of community. At the scene the men started cutting some of the Ailanthus trees – that will be used by us as firewood and us girls started to pick up any trash that we could find. In only two hours we filled up 4 big bags with things that were once possibly dumped there by people working on the vineyard next to the forest: beer cans, different food cans, plastic bags, wires. It was sad to see that this precious piece of land looks like this, we all felt some kind of anger towards people acting this way. Also, seeing with our own eyes how plastic does not break down, it just falls apart to millions of pieces, personally made me quite frustrated. It is really hard to collect all the pieces and so we don’t have other choice than to accept that we cannot clean it up completely. Apart from this it felt really nice to give some respect to this beautiful place.