Notes from Food and Gardens Group Meeting 7th Feb 2013

Present: Steve, Paul, Jon, Laurent, Sharon, Rahul, Martha, Ken, John, Judy, Marie

Did a quick overview of the ideals behind local food production and distribution and the Transition perspective on them. Transition is an international movement that encourages local people to develop solutions to future issues concerning energy shortages and increasing costs. With regards to Food and Gardens we want to help local people to grow their own, bringing back communal eating and food sharing, support local businesses and help overcome increasing food prices. Laurent suggested a local veg show to provide encouragement.

We welcomed Laurent and Sharon from Delice deli/cafe. They offered a small space to TL to demonstrate food & gardens projects and/or display TL leaflets. Delice are increasingly sourcing local foods and drinks, and Sharon is working on getting local flour mill products in stock. Also have local real ales. Lots of interest in local produce from their customers. Local honey has been especially popular – they’ve sold over 110 jars!

They are looking to open the upstairs room at the cafe, as it is so popular on Saturdays that the downstairs area fills up. Paul suggested that when the European twinning visitors come to Loughborough it would be nice to have a meal at Delice (Steve to contact Mike Jones about this). Encouraging the return of beer bottles is a great idea.

Steve suggested having a “Local Food Hero” badge supported by something like the Loughborough Echo. Paul suggested that Laurent and Sharon get in touch with Graeme from Manor Farm in Long Whatton – Jon will put them in touch with each other. Need to spread the word about their local business as many people over look it in Baxter Gate. Students may well be interested in the cafe – suggested that they contact the Loughborough Students Union.

We talked about the apple pressings we did last year and Laurent said that the manager of Budgens in Mountsorrel makes local cider, which isn’t available in Loughborough. Talked about the food hygine regulations and how we could have a TL training session so that local foods could be made. Maybe a skill share, but need to find local kitchen space.

Marie from Stonebow Primary School said that they are looking at getting planters put in – if TL wanted to get involved we’d be very welcome. Rahul suggested seed sowing might well enthuse the children. Soft and top fruits and perennial planting were suggested. LAGS folk are already sowing plants and will have excess that could be donated to the school.

Transition Loughborough – local aspirations for 2013 (All) (to report to next General Meeting on 13th March 2013).

* Starting community allotment at King Georges Avenue, including local people from the area. Getting shed, water butts and greenhouse.

* Apple pressings in the summer/autumn.

* Communal eating (summer and winter feasts)

* Contributing food and garden based workshops (via Greeniversity – Laurent is keen on this!)

* Community orchard

* Taking part of the Its Your Neighbourhood.

Transition Loughborough Community Allotment progress: Fiona has suggested 12th/14th February as working days. Too wet to do much digging there. We can have all three plots next to each other,which Steve confirmed from his meeting with Joanna Herbert Stepney.One plot has been covered with black plastic, one needs a lot of brambles removed and one will be put into use. Shed donated kindly by B&Q and greenhouse from Quorn via Freegle, which will both need to be erected.

It was considered best to have groups of people working on the site together (at least at first whilst there’s some heavy manual work required to clear and prep the site). One of the Paget Pastures access bridges is going to be directly opposite our plots.

Decided on the name “Transition Loughborough Community Allotment”. Joanna was very positive with what we’re doing with the allotments, and also the Paget Pastures project. Steve offered to send a leaflet to the local residents once we’ve got the plots signed over to us. Met with Minara from BCA to try to positively engage with their community. Having raised beds will be helpful for the elderly women who might want to come then.

Next step is 15th February for the shed build. Paul will contact Amy at Mather Jamie again to get the lease sorted.

Community orchard latest (Ken)

2nd March will be the planting day starting at 11am. Ken has some varieties already sorted out. Steve is asking the Way of the Wyrd to come and morris dance (maybe a spot of wassailing!). Judy suggested folk bring food to share as well.

Ken asked Marie how Stonebow school could get involved? Judy suggested saving a couple of the trees for a Monday planting, but Ken said that they’d hoped to get all the trees planted in the same day. Ken will discuss options with Marie.

The Big Lunch at community orchard – Judy will send out details of dates. Paul has had an idea for a Loughborough food projects join-up day/2013 food leaflet. The thought was that we could arrange to visit different community gardens throughout the day and wondered if it could tie in with a Big Lunch. This would allow different groups to share information, skills, needs, etc. We’ll use the Big Lunch national day for this event.

Food growing workshops: Martha said pruning event last Saturday went very well with cake and drinks provided by the tree owner and Andy providing some great instructions. The other workshops are planned – the next one is an early Spring session on 9th March – either at LAGS or at Andy/Bobby’s plot.

Loughborough Vegetarian & Vegan Society – Sophia didn’t make the meeting so we’ll discuss that at the next meeting she can attend.

Any Other Business

Judy said that we should consider getting skill shares for foraging – maybe having a “Fruit Route” around areas of the town. This can encourage people to be more aware of the resources available around them. Steve suggested that the LSSN could engage an expert forager to do something like this.

Date/time/place of next meeting: 7th March at 7pm in Organ Grinder upstairs room (ie same time and place a month from today).

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