Food & Gardens Group 21st June

Strategic Vision for Food & Gardening

Paul started the discussion with looking at a strategic vision for food & gardens. Food prices will rise due to pressure on space and fuel costs and locally produced food can help counter this. Community growing schemes have a few enthusiastic members but don’t seem to be causing mass chance and involvement of communities. Ken pointed out that getting started growing food requires an outlay of time and money, and he wasn’t sure that he’d get a financial return – how do you persuade people on lower/no incomes to start growing? Jon said that financial returns would depend on the value of crops grown and if you grow with lots of equipment or just on a windowsill. Ken thought there might be a critical mass for both community garden size and number of volunteers.

Steve suggested a “Green Army” scheme whereby 10 or so regular volunteers spend several hours on a different individual’s garden every so often. The LGS students have already done some similar jobs so there’s a potential source of people who could help with this.

ACTION: Steve to post on the Google Group about setting up a “Green Army” gardening gang.

Paul pointed out that there’s a scheme to encourage the use of farmers markets and local food production. Steve suggested a “Local to Loughborough” brand, though setting something like that up could be a big job.

Community Orchards

Several TL folk are going Wymeswold Community Orchard on 12th July. We can find out how Wymeswold were set up and how they run their project. Charnwood BC are very open to an approach on setting up a community orchard in Gorse Covert area. Ken has contacted a couple of councillors, but a scheme really needs a group in the area that would want to drive it forward and manage the trees.

ACTION: Martha will talk to local schools about taking part in such a scheme.

Cooperative Bulk Purchasing Schemes

Graeme at Manor Farm already gets Suma delivers and is happy for a cooperative bulk purchasing scheme to use the farm as a distribution point. Paul explained the University’s bulk buying group, which is encouraged and supported by Suma. All Suma products are vegetarian/vegan and often Fairtrade as well. There is some organisation required and it depends on the number of people putting in for items on any one order. 3 or 4 people on one order is tractable, doing 10 or more is more difficult logistically. Good for bulk purchasing eco-friendly cleaning products that aren’t available locally in bulk. There is a paper and online version (though you need a password that you’re given when a group is set up).

ACTION: Paul to post on the Google Group to stimulate discussion and send a price list around. We can see if it will seed one or more buying groups in Loughborough.

Bakery Course at Manor Farm Long Whatton

1 or half day course on bread baking, with at most 8 people at £10 a head. This would be run by a professional baker.

ACTION: Paul will try to find a suitable date, probably weekend, that the event could be held on and then try signing people up in the next week.

Apple Pressing Dates

Confirmed dates so far:

22nd September – Green Place in Sileby
29th Sep – Herrick Road (off Park Road)
22nd Oct – Warwick Way WAGS
2nd Nov – LGS shed at the University

Need to have folk to help man these events – interested people should contact Paul.

Resourcing and Planning

ACTION: Jon to do a project management plan for existing projects.

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