Notes from Food and Gardens sub-group meeting 8th Nov 2012

Present: Paul, Barry, Steve, Martha, Lillian, Ken, Jon

Apple press condition: we’ve got the press repaired thanks to Steve, but he pointed out that some of the boards that sit between the apple cheeses are coming apart. Steve is going to contact him again by letter to see about getting these fixed – we can’t really recommend other people to buy this design of press as it stands as it doesn’t seem to be able to stand up to moderate use (which is surprising as the Transition Leicester version of the press gets heavier use). Steve is going to invite Rupert (the press manufacturer) to a future TL F&G sub group meeting to disucss these issues and the future path.

Barry is looking at dressing the shaft of the scratter so that it takes a 3/8th socket rather than having the keyless chuck tightened straight on the shaft. Barry has already got two suitable sockets set up, including one for the bicycle powered drive. He also has a 250W B&D drill which would provide less torque than the current 750W Bosch drill.

Steve has been networking with Transition minded folk in the surrounding area, including a lady that teaches well being and yoga. Martha said that the LAGS event with the press was the best that they’d had – the Saturday had 70-80 attend during the course of the day. Two more pressings still to come (Gorse Covert on Saturday at 2pm and the WEN at the SRKCP on Monday afternoon). Martha will contact Mike Jones to get him to promote the events to the community groups he has contact details for. There’s also the possibility of a pressing at Long Whatton.

We’ve met the CBC requirements on the number of pressings to hold as community. Paul is going to write a letter to CBC to pass on details of our prressing events.

Paul emailed Judy Ong tonight about the allotment mapping and she replied to suggest getting a petition of local people asking CBC for more growing spaces.

There’s also been a suggestion that next year local allotment/GYOers who have excess produce should donate it to local worthy causes. It was agreed that if this comes to pass TL should support it. Steve also suggested workshops based on cooking locally produced food. He suggestion a course based on using a bread maker but others pointed out that bread makers automate the process and aren’t really the sort of thing that low income folk will be able to buy. Martha suggested teaching people to make soups from locally grown produce instead – that can help poor folk immediately and is also a good skill for future resilience.

Garden skills project: Martha has produced a flyer based on four seasonal workshops run by Bobby and Andy. First one will be held at the LAGS shed on 24th November, demonstrating the preparation of a no-dig bed. The workshops can also include a bit of food to share based on the produce produced (eg soups, salads, etc). Paul suggested contacting a chap at CBC to advertise these events to new allotment holders around the town. The events will be free to all comers (though LAGS may pass the hat round at the end!).

On Thurs 29th November from 7pm its the winter festival at the Polish club which is going to cost £30 (to be covered by donations from people attending). Martha will organise the beetroot themed soups, Ken and Liliian are bringing a mysterious rye based soup addition and Steve will get some bread from Long Whatton bakery. It was suggested inviting the community groups that we’ve worked with to see if they’d like to come – we’re probably expecting 20-30 people.

Leicestershire Local Food Network: Paul suggested asking the ABC folk if they could organise a meeting about local food production and outlets in the town. There’s a new cafe in Baxter Gate that bakes its own bread.

Steve suggested doing more apple events throughout the year – not just pressing but tree pruning, dehydrating, etc, etc. These would need to be done seasonally.

Martha mentioned possibly have a seed swap event in late March/early April.

Date of next meeting: Thursday 10th January 2013 in the Organ Grinder pub.

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