Notes on Food & Gardens group meeting 4th Sept 2014

Held outside at the LAGS shed – thank you to LAGS and the lovely warm late summer weather!

Master Gardeners

Alison McGrath (, tel: 07584343847) from Garden Organic came to talk to us about the Master Gardener scheme.  This has recently received funding from Leicestershire County Council public health dept to run it in this county. They are looking to recruit volunteers in Leicestershire to become Master Gardeners. MGs visit families who are new to growing fruit and veg and then provide phone/email/visit advice. MGs have to support three or more families like this, but also to link with local community gardens and growing schemes. They also help with Food for Life schemes to help get information about food and growing out to schools. The volunteers also attend events to promote the scheme, often with paper pot making.

The next training will be at Barwell near Hinckley on 20th & 21st September. Alison will have a chat with any interested applicants, who can then apply and do the two day (weekend) training course. A lot of the introductory training is about how to set up and run the scheme in your area, but there is also some horticultural training. Currently have 15 volunteer MGs in Leicestershire. Target for volunteers is 30 hours per year (5 minutes per day roughly) but it depends largely on what sort of groups and families people get involved with. Minimum age for volunteers is 16 with no upper age (most current volunteers are in 50s/60s & retired). Online records are kept of what volunteers have done, including times they have worked and stories about the work they’ve undertaken.

ACTION: Anyone interested in becoming a master gardener should contact Alison.

ACTION: Jon will send Alison location of LAGS and TLCA for Garden Organic to put on their website.

Childrens Gardening Group

Susan said that it is hoped to set up a children’s gardening group, either at the TL Community Allotment and/or LAGS. The idea is to have a couple of hours of gardening with the kids (aged 4-10) every month, which they can then take the idea back home. Susan is looking for volunteers to help set up the space (eg put up gazebo). Also need someone who can oversee the whole group who doesn’t have their own child in the group. LSU Action group can handle CRB/DBS checks if they are involved. Initially do a test run during the week in Jan/Feb/Mar for home schooled children, and then consider doing weekend sessions if there is a demand. Considered charging for the event as it makes it people take it more seriously and makes it more sustainable. For more details of the scheme and/or to  offer your services as a volunteer please email Susan.

Workshop at LAGS

Martha has contacted Andy but he hasn’t confirmed the date yet. However Martha said the target date is 11th October and topics will include introduction to gardening, some propagating with cuttings, etc. Some discussion of timing – 1pm to 3pm seemed popular. Martha will make a poster when the date/time is confirmed.

LSU Student Action Group

Steve and Martha had spoken to the VP Action and they wanted to know if we have any projects that they could help with. Ideas were tidying the existing TLCA plots, finishing the concrete paving on the TLCA, initial clearing of the plot next to the TLCA plots.  Steve said he’ll discuss these options with the Action folk.

Fearon Hall Plot

Meg unfortunately couldn’t make this evenings meeting but she and Emma run Fearon Hall cafe and they were interested in starting an allotment. We have a vacant plot next to the TLCA plots and Steve wondered if we could encourage them to take on the extra plot and use it to provide fresh produce for the Fearon Hall kitchen. We’re interested in helping them but we really need to hear from Meg about how she and Emma want to organise the plot (ownership, deciding what is grown, whether they have volunteers to help tend it, etc).

Communal Harvesting on the Allotment

We’ve already harvested a lot of the crops on the plot. Last year we had a communal harvesting session but this year it may be more social and planning event. Minara isn’t available until October though, so Steve will liaise with her to see what she and her group can come.

Apple Pressings

This year we’ve had two clashed events, both involving Sutton Bonington. Luckily Steve has arranged a back up press from Old Dalby who we’d helped with a pressing last year. Martha said that she knows someone who would just like to hire the scratter (he has his own press) – it was suggested just charing £10 for this. Jon encouraged any group wanting the press to get their bookings in ASAP as it is first come, first served for the bookings.

Winter Feast

Aim for middle to end of November – 13th or 20th. Could do it in Fearon Hall possibly – Steve to ask Meg and Emma if this would work OK with them.

Putting up Shelves in the Allotment Shed

Martha thinks that putting up shelves & hooks in the allotment shed will allow tools to be organised more easily. Suggested Sunday 26th October to do this.

Potato Day

We’re having our market stall on 31st January 2015. Order forms are available now. Contact Caroline for more information – Jon needs to check whether the pre-order form can go on the website yet (as the original copy was missing some pricing for beans, etc).

Date of Next Meeting

Thursday 2nd October at 7pm (potentially at Roseberry St Peters – Steve is going to try to book it for us).


Brigit Strawbridge‘s bee friendly garden on Gardeners World on BBC 2 at 9.30pm on Friday (and on iPlayer later). Should be a great thing to for people interested in helping pollinators on their plot.

Talked briefly about planning the TLCA plot layouts – decided its really a big topic so something for the next meeting agenda really.

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One Response to Notes on Food & Gardens group meeting 4th Sept 2014

  1. suellap says:

    City of Bees information: Repost /share if needed.

    At Nottingham University:
    Nottingham Hardy Plant Society
    City of the Bees
    Wed 22nd October 7pm – 8pm ‘City of the Bees’ – An illustrated talk by beekeeper Sandra Hart, with questions afterwards. Refreshments provided, honey and honey skin-care products for sale. Meet at the Law and Social Sciences Foyer University Park, ,next to the Millennium Garden Car Park. Admission £2.50 pay on door – limited numbers, pre- booking essential. To book Call – 07825 753993

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