Food and Garden Group Meeting

Held in the back room of the Swan in the Rushes pub, Loughborough at 8pm on Wednesday 22nd February 2012

Apple Press : Paul reported that we now have 10 bookings for the apple press and that he’s drafted a letter to Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) to demonstrate that we’re meeting their funding conditions.  The press will be ready by the end of March and we’ll need to do a test run to find out the best way to use it.  It was suggested that the University Landscapes and Gardens Society shed might be a suitable location, and a Transition supporter can possibly supply us with some apples “foraged” from a supermarket bin due to them being “out of date” (but actually perfectly OK).  For the groups that will be using the press we need to encourage them to find sources of local apples and potentially plan where to store them if the harvest starts before the press is booked to attend them.  We’ll need 2 or 3 Transition folk to attend each event to take the press, demonstrate how to use it and then take it away at the end.  Paul investigating funding options for the pasteurizer.  Some discussion about saving bottles – it might be that screw top wine and cordial glass bottles will be suitable as well as passata jars.

Community Orchard : Steve suggest extending the Fruit Route that is being planted around the University campus out into the surrounding communities.  Mark said fruit trees along roadside have issues: children being anti-social with throwing fruit, pedestrians complaining about slipping on crushed windfalls on paths and problems with drivers/cyclists getting hit by falling fruit, and whether the County Council would be happy along main roads..  One potential site for a community orchard is Gorse Covet on a slope that is used for sledging and little else.

Transition Loughborough could be the “face” running the orchard, even if the land was owned by CBC and they mowed the area still.  Aim for 20-30 trees, which at £10 each for named varieties would be £200-£300 – CBC may be able to help with funding as Shire grants might not apply without us having the lease on the land.  Raise the subject on the agenda at the next TL open meeting to make sure the wider group are happy with the plan.

Picnic in the Park : current plan is to have three gazebos, of which the Food & Garden group will have one.  We’ll show the apple press but won’t be able to run it (no power or apples!).  Plans for a plant or seed swap – University LGS could possibly help.  Suggestion made that we have people demonstrate home made “slow food”, especially if made from locally grown produce.  Amy also suggested having Uni Fruit Route posters or leaflets at the event to promote the fruit trees and bushes to the local community.

Food Leaflet : Steve is planning producing a leaflet to tell people about Transition and how important the role of Food is.  This will also include a directory of groups that are helping people to grow their own (including community gardens wanting volunteers).  This leaflet will be ready by the Picnic in the Park event.

Grow Zones : Caroline is planning on running a “Grow Zone” centred on Beacon Road.  The idea of the scheme is to get near neighbours together to help each other on a regular basis with their gardens.  8-10 households commit to spending three or four Saturday mornings helping in other householders gardens over a two month period, so everyone gets three or four people to help do something in their garden.  The first meeting is on 1st March at 7:30pm at 64 Beacon Road.

Allotments : The need for growing spaces means that allotments in Loughborough have a multiple year waiting list.  The council has a Statutory duty to provide allotments, but the duty doesn’t say how many and the many allotments that were built on when they were less popular from 1960s to 1990s are not going to be replaced as CBC can’t buy land.  However we might be able to campaign for allotment spaces to be considered instead of more football fields in new, large scale developments being planned around the edges of the town.  We might also want to encourage existing plot holders to form allotment societies on their sites (which CBC would be happy to have) which can allow them to have a more coordinated voice and potentially cheaper access to supplies thanks to bulk purchasing.  Could also point people on the allotment waiting lists to the community gardens wanting volunteers.

The next meeting of the Food & Gardens Group will be on 27th March at 8pm in the same location (back room of the Swan in the Rushes pub).

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