Food & Gardens group meeting notes 10th Jan 2013

Present: John (Paget Pastures), Paul, Steve, Jon, Ken, Judy, Martha, Fiona

Paget Allotments on King George Street. Joanna Herbert-Stepney has offered us space on this site for £60. Amy Johnson for Mather Jamie (the agents for the site) have said that we can have two plots for a trial period of a year. Contacting various community groups early to get them involved. Talking about getting a shed and/or polytunnel – the polytunnel might be something to conider in future years if the plot trial takes off.  Philip had suggested aiming for a bigger site but the meeting felt that this wasn’t an option given local waiting lists and wouldn’t provide any more teaching/outreach options than this site gives us.

Need to have a plan of the allotment plots and work out the rotation, positioning of beds, etc. The next stage is to meeting in early February with the interested parties to plan out the space, possibly with a workshop with Andy & Bobby. Fiona offered to act as the project coordinator.

Dealing with extreme climate (floods, droughts, etc). Incorporating lots of manure/compost can help mitigate both of those. Resilience is a major aspect of Transition and local food growing education is part of this. Food prices are going to be going, so showing people how to grow their own, forage free food and distribute surplus food.

Martha keen for folk from TL to go to the RHS in Bloom seminar being held in Loughborough on Wed 20th Feb (£12 per head) – she’ll send an note round to the Google Group asking if other people want to attend. Steve and Ken already keen on going. Interesting that many of the Loughborough garden groups involved in the RHS scheme are from disadvantaged communities.

Local food day at Delice Deli Cafe suggested by Steve: an evening event to sample and promote local food. Ken pointed that we have to be careful that we don’t promote the deli if there are other local food producers/sales outlets.  Steve also suggested in future we could have a “promonade” between different local food shops, suppliers, etc. Steve to invite Delice Deli Cafe owner to next food group meeting.

Philip Leicester had sent an email around encourage folk from Transition Loughborough to join a Sheffield University scheme for weighing in crops. It was pointed out this might be difficult for community gardens to do this as people tend to take crops as and when they know them.

Fiona said that she’s keen on getting a seed swap going for the town, which she has backing from the Hertiage Seed Library for. Suggested 23rd February at Loughborough Library  as part of Steve’s skills share workshop programme. Fiona also keen on having a seed saving workshop later in the summer to help encourage people to save their own seeds. Fiona has talked to Sam Woods about spreading information about the seed swap to Permaculture course members.

Gorse Covert Community Orchard report: been a bit slow over the Xmas period. One of the project members wants to get a constitution set up and lease the land from the council. Ken is trying to organise a meeting between the orchard group and council to thrash out these technical details.

Action for Better Charnwood on next Tuesday at John Storer House at 7pm have a meeting about the plight of the bumble bee (go at about 7.30pm if you don’t want to attend the ABC AGM).

Festive Feast went well and was really enjoyable. Paul thanked the food group members who helped provide food and entertainment. Still need to pay for the event: Ken to get the Polish club to provide Paul with an invoice. Paul also needs an invoice for Bobby for the second TL/LAGS workshop.

Suggested other similar community social food sharing get togethers – Judy suggested the Big Lunch day, or possibly a week before as its usually when the Leicestershire schools break up and people: maybe do our event a week earlier, possibly up at the Gorse Covert orchard site. Also suggested picnic the park event with plant sales, etc.

Steve is organising a skill sharing session on 26th Jan from 10.30 to 11.30 in Loughborough Library to promote various forthcoming workshops. Steve has asked Jon to buy an apple peeler and dehydrator to demonstrate at these workshops. Judy would like to do a workshop on energy bills to stop people being ripped off. Steve holding a pre-event planning meeting in the Library on evening of 21st Jan so that folk planning on having a stall on 26th Jan can see the room available, how to lay out tables, etc.

Steve has spoken to the apple press manufacturer – he doesn’t want to come to one of our meetings but invited members of the TL food group to go to his workshop. We’re planning similar apple pressing events in 2013 to those that we ran last year, so we need to make sure that the press is in tip top condition by mid-summer.  Steve will contact the chap again about getting current faults fixed – if we have a problem will just have to do the repairs ourselves (eg turn a new scratter cylinder).

Storage of equipment: we’re amassing more tools and equipment. Do we need a lock up storage facility? Or distribute equipment between TL members. Something to consider for the future, possibly in the wider TL meeting as its more than just food & gardens.

Date of next meeting: Thursday 7th February 7pm at the Organ Grinder.

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