Food & Gardens Group Meeting Notes from 4th July 2013

For a change we had decided to meet at the Transition Loughborough Community Allotment site rather than in the Organ Grinder pub.  The weather was lovely and we made use of the new gazebo that Steve had bought with the last of the Greeniversity skill share funding.  The gazebo was great and is going to be a great addition to our toolkit for working in outdoor spaces and holding events.  It appears to be tall enough to even get the apple press under!

Paul started the meeting by mentioning the Loughborough East Area Forum grant we’ve been awarded for our accessible garden and fruit cage at the community allotment.  Paul thanked Martha, John and Kathy for making the application and presenting it to the Forum.  It has generated a lot of interest in the community allotment – for example Paul said that a local vicar who runs a group for teaching young women how to cook would like to bring them to the plot to get them involved with growing as well.

Stonebow School apple pressing event went OK, although it was rather wet which put a bit of a dampener on the atmosphere.  Having a free product was seen as a good thing, especially when surrounded by fund raising stalls as it gave children from poorer families something that they could enjoy.

We talked briefly about future plans for the Community Allotment.  Jon outlined the basic idea behind a composting loo, which Steve pointed out would be a necessity if we’re going to bring groups of people to the site.  Steve presented an idea for having “mini plots” for families to tend themselves – we need to work out how big these would be and also clear some space for them (whilst still leaving some clear space for events like this meeting).  Minara suggested that we look at crops that would be harvestable over the winter/early spring – suggestions from folk at the meeting included leeks, carrots, spinach, kale and broccoli.  Judy suggested that we should have lots of “kid friendly” fruit and veg on the plots so that they could pick and eat tasty things when they visit: soft fruit, carrots, sugar snap peas, etc.

There’s a gardening skills workshop coming up on 20th July at Shelthorpe Community Garden.  This will focus on basic gardening skills to help local folk get going on their gardens.

The next Food & Gardens group meeting will be on 7th August, again at the Transition Loughborough Community Allotment (assuming its dry – in the pub otherwise).  It was pointed out that the Organ Grinder have started to charge £40 for their upstairs room so we might have to find somewhere else to meet in the colder, darker months.

Whilst we were there, Judy also mentioned some Energy Group progress with the Retrofit Loughborough scheme.  The Energy Saving Trust are leading a bid to the TSB for funding a test scheme, with support from us, the RCC, Loughborough University, Permarock, and several other groups.  Transition Loughborough are included in the bid to provide promotion of the scheme if we win the bid.  We also talked about linking Transition activities together to support one another – the classic example is getting Steve’s skill share sessions showing folk how to make draught excluders and/or quilted curtains which will also be able to save them energy and reduce winter fuel costs.

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