Food and Gardens Meeting Report 7th Nov 2013

Present: Martha (chair), Jon, Raul, Paul, Barry, Ruth, Lillian, Steve, Caroline, Marie, Janet, Ruth, Louise

The meeting started with everyone introducing themselves and Janet Currie & Pete Mosley outlining the work of the Refectory Table creative workshop company that they run from their house in Herrick Road and where they were kindly hosting this meeting. Then onto the meeting proper:

Finances. We have about £250 left in the TL account. Lillian said we’ll need £30 for the Polish club. Aside from specific grants tied to particular goals our main unencumbered income is from the Energy Group’s solar PV scheme and individual donations. Major outgoings are public liability insurance, rent for the community allotment plot and cost of rooms, etc for workshops. Martha suggested having a donation box at future events and point it out. Barry said some people feel they should pay for services rendered – Janet agreed and said that, for example, many people would be happy to drop a donation in at apple pressings. Ruth suggested allowing people to make standing orders into the TL account.

ACTION: Jon will produce a donations tin that can be brought to meetings and events so that people can put in as much or as little as they feel comfortable with to support Transition Loughborough’s projects.

ACTION: Paul to investigate how people can donate straight into the TL account.

Skills Workshops. Have an apple pruning workshop coming up at 116 Herrick Road on 16th November. Last workshop was the preparing for the winter event at LAGS which was successful, despite the awful weather on the day. Some discussion about workshops that could be held around apple related skills (eg making cider, apple food stuffs, apple based crafts, history of apples, choosing cultivars, etc). Steve is working on something related to this – for example handing out fact sheets along with the pressing. Steve also suggested investigating building a bike powered scratter or juicer – Caroline said that they could also be hired.

Martha said she felt the gardening workshops were useful because we get new members for our gardening projects and also it is an active event that can encourage people to get into their own gardens. Jon said that he’s now registered TL with BBC’s Things To Do events site to try to attract more people to some of our free events. Martha asked if LAGS could run another workshop as they have access to more land now and need to know what to do with it. Steve said it would be good to have workshops out in the other community gardens in Loughborough as it would help encourage people to actually do something to help the other gardens. Steve said at the last Loughborough in Bloom meeting a lady was asking about apple orchards. Jon suggested we should make more offers of the Green Army to aid other community gardens if they ask for help but shouldn’t push our idea of workshops onto them if they aren’t receptive.

The 16th November apple pruning will be 116 Herrick Road, and Louise who lives next door (at number 100!) will be providing toilets, refreshments, etc. It was suggested next year we do a late summer (August/September?) seed saving event. Spring event could be in the Library as that could involve a seed swap as well. Steve suggested having it between 10am and midday as its a good time to attract people – some discussion about also having an afternoon component as well. Paul said we could have Melanie come and talk about heritage apple pressing and maybe have a story telling for the children (maybe run by the library staff?). We’ll discuss a date on the Google Group as we need to avoid half term. Janet offered her garden as a potential space for future garden events.

ACTION: Martha to ask Andy, Bobby or Rosie (from University gardening team) when they are free to run a spring workshop at the community allotment.

Apple Pressings. Jon reported we’ve done about a dozen public pressings again. We thought last Sunday’s event in Old Dalby was the last of the season but we’ll be doing one at a local school this coming Wednesday. It was thought that getting a spare jack might be useful for next year. Also talked about getting a bike or hand powered scratter for next year’s events. Louise was interested in bringing apples for pressing as she still had lots – Jon said it was possible to have the press for private use when it wasn’t being used for public events.

ACTION: Jon to source a spare jack before the start of next year’s pressing season.

Community Allotment. The money is available for the fruit cage – Paul said John Sweet is talking to Ken about this and it needs to be spent as detailed in the bid. There could be an event that takes place over the winter period to erect the fruit cage: this will need to be announced over the Google Group (Ken and John were unfortunately not present and they know more about what is planned). Caroline suggested we talk to Lucy Kennedy at CBC to promote the community allotment and Janet said maybe offer small spaces as “training grounds” to people on the allotment waiting list. Need to still get the greenhouse glazed – the glass is at the back of the plot and the fixings are in the shed and if everyone put a pane in we’d soon get it finished. Still need to get the second door on the shed.

ACTION: Ken and John to talk to each other about the fruit cage and organise a work day at the allotment to erect it.

ACTION: Paul and Steve to organise getting the door for the shed brought to the plot.

Leicestershire Local Foods Festival. This was on the theme of promoting food produced in Leicestershire, but most events were in Melton Mowbray and Leicester. Laurent and Sharon at Delice Deli ran an evening on local food but Paul said that aside from that it was very low key in Loughborough and rather disappointing. Its wasn’t clear if the festival was a one off this year or an annual event. Steve said we don’t really have the capacity to lead such an event ourselves but several people suggested that we could do with finding out who runs the event in the county council so that we can provide feedback.

ACTION: Steve to try to find someone in LCC to talk to about future events in Loughborough.

ABC Meeting on Sustainable Food Cities. A Sustainable Food City is a bit like Fairtrade – you need to do a certain amount of promotion and trading on local food production. Steve went to the meeting and said its a great idea but from his experience of Fairtrade it will be a lot of work. Again we don’t really have the bodies to spare at the moment – Steve said that there’s only a few people still organising Fairtrade events in Loughborough at the moment.

Potato Day 2014. Caroline told us about Transition Chesterfield’s potato day: they take pre-orders, then get a truck load delivered from Scotland and take over an empty shop for a day to distribute/sell them. They’ve been doing it for four or five years now and last year made £1000 profit on their event to fund their other projects. Its a long term thing though – it took them three years before they made any money from the scheme. Paul is planning on going to their event on 25th January to buy his potatoes and see how it works, with the idea to consider it for January 2015. A car load of people may well be coming with him!

Festive Feast. Held on Thursday 28th November at the Polish Club on True Lovers Walk (off William Street). People are encouraged to cook and bring locally grown and/or sourced food for the event. Louise, Martha and Raul are all happy to cook at the venue as well, including a soup or two. Need to coordinate food being brought so that we have a good range. Steve suggested explicitly inviting Suella, Ella & her parents and Minara & her family after their help at the community allotment. Not got Way of the Wyrd with us this year – Steve suggested that a folk group that Ruth knows could be invited.

ACTION: Ruth to talk to a local folk group about attending.
ACTION: Everyone who is coming to post to the Google group as to what they can bring in the way of food.

AOBs.

Janet asked if the events could have a creative element and if she had enough notice she’d be able to help sort something out and/or help get more people involved in the events.

Paul has said that Delice Deli now have an upstairs room and we could meet there regular on 1st Thursday of every month – still need to book these.

ACTION: Paul to book six months of these Food Group meetings and pass details to Jon to go into online calendar.

Some discussion about organising an AGM for the whole of Transition Loughborough (not just food & gardens) in early 2014. Martha suggested third or fourth Thursday in January and Caroline was keen to run it as a celebration rather than just a dry meeting. For example rather than have people read out lists of project reports, just have a display of projects and achievements that we can look at during the event.

ACTION: Steve to see if he can book Delice Deli one Thursday evening for AGM and then tell Jon so that it can go into the online calendar and be promoted widely.

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