Notes from Food and Gardens sub-group meeting at Manor Farm, Long Whatton

Thanks to Graeme for hosting the meeting at Manor Farm in Long Whatton – and for provding some excellent lemon squash, flapjacks and quacking ducks for our alfresco meeting in the picnic area!

1. Apple Pressing Update

Confirmed events are currently:

  • Sutton Bonnington Village Show, 2nd Sept
  • Shree Ram Krishna Centre, 10am-1pm Fri 7th Sept
  • Green Place, Sileby 22nd Sept
  • Herrick Road, 29nd Sept
  • Shelthorpe Primary School, 15th Oct, afternoon
  • WAG, 22nd Oct, afternoon
  • LAGS, 26th Oct, afternoon

Still waiting for Hasting Ward/Cobden School, Gorse Covert community centre, Bangladeshi Community Centre, Wymeswold Community Orchard to confirm when they’d like their pressing event. Anybody who would like to help run a pressing should contact Steve or Paul.

Issues: we need a small table (Jon has a potential offer). We also need to make a call for apple trees to be harvested as soon as possible.

ACTION: All to look out for/collect apples, Steve to ask Isaac if we can have something in the Loughborough Echo to ask for apples.

There’s a new group called Greening Birstall – maybe we should contact them to find if they would like a apple pressing event?

2. Community Orchard in Gorse Covert

CBC open to supporting a community orchard if local people approached them. Ken had asked people in Burns Road about the community orchard mentioned in the local paper and the 8 people he spoke to didn’t know anything about it. He’d also been to a Thorpe Acre residents association meeting, but that didn’t appear to be the right forum for discussing this topic. Martha and Judy both know teachers in the local schools.

Suggested that we form a “core” group of TL members who want to actively push orchards forward. This group would need to make a flyer leaflet and talk to local communities to see what sort of support there is for the orchard. Some discussion of how big the orchard should be – 10 trees, 48 trees, 100 trees?

ACTION: Ken to chase councillor about the Burns Road scheme.

3. Bread Baking Day at Manor Farm

6 out of 8 tickets have been sold already. 2 tickets left are going to be bought by Steve and raffled at the Skill Share day on 18th August.

Suggestions from the group that future courses could include rye bread making and pizzas.

4. Gardening Workshops

Martha suggested getting Bobby and Andy to do a workshop on organic gardening and/or basic ground preparation for next season. Paul suggested crop rotation planning workshops.  Potentially consider a set of seasonal workshops that people can learn what to do and when. Basing it at Bobby’s allotment would be a good promotion for them, and they also have tools, etc available. Steve suggested that each workshop should have a “tips sheet” produced so that there is a lasting legacy from each event.

Probably aim for a weekend so that more folk can make it, although Sept/Oct already busy with events.

ACTION: Martha to talk to Bobby and Andy about what sort of basic courses could be offered and when they could hold it.

5. Green Army

Lillian has an elderly friend who would like some help cutting back shrubs – could the Green Army help her? Steve suggested visiting before hand to find what exactly needs doing, so that the group that comes to do the work can bring the right tools, know what needs removing, how to dispose of the cuttings, etc.  Then just pick a date and see who is free to help.

6. “Bert”

Steve went to Ferron Hall and there’s a chap there called Bert with an allotment who would like to get some help with maintaining the plot. In exchange he’s happy to teach people how to make jams and pickles. Steve will liase with Bert and get the Green Army to come and help.

7. Allotments

Judy has been considering applying for allotments but there is a 2.5 year waiting list, with her nearest allotments in Hathern or Alan Moss Road. Judy noted that dividing Loughborough in half, there are 2 sites in the north of the town and 7 in the south, and not many in the newer developments around the town. Judy also noted that Leicestershire Community Farms have land but it is managed by the Parish Councils. Allotments put on such land parcels could be tied with community orchards, so that plot holders can keep an eye on the trees.

ACTION: Steve and Judy to coordinate a group within TL to help map out potential allotment sites, with the group then campaigning for more allotment sites to be created.

8. Outlet for local food in Loughborough

Steve wondered if Graeme would be interested in an outlet for his produce. Graeme has already tried some outlets but would be keen on any potential outlets we can provide. They do attend Loughborough Farmers Market.

Graeme is also considering a CSA scheme if he can find an organic gardener who would be prepared to work part time on the project and could get 15-20 families interested in taking shares in exchange for fruit and veg products.  He already has funding set up for the scheme so just needs a gardener who can drive the project forward. Steve suggested that Bobby and Andy might be interested – we’ll try to put them in touch with Graeme.

Talked about the “Mary Portas” money that CBC have to encourage the reuse of local shops – Steve is already considering something along the lines of a “local shop”.

ACTION: Paul to contact Sally Hooper to find if Leicestershire Local Food Links would be interested in promoting/helping with this.

9. Winter Feast

Last December we had a communal meal and it was asked if we should do this again, only with more advanced planning. Suggested that we have a group of people doing the food, and having it on Thurs 29th Nov 7pm-11pm (instead of Green Drinks). Call it “Winter Feast”.

ACTION: Ken and Lillian to check if the Polish Club would be available that evening.  Matha to help coordinate the soup!

AOB:

Paul mentioned the Suma collective buying scheme, which Graeme offered to host as he already gets a delivery. Graeme offered to allow Transition Loughborough folk to add (for example) 12 cans of tomatoes to his regular Suma order. The Suma catalogue is at sumawholesale.coop.

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