Notes on Food & Gardens Group meeting on 2nd October 2014

Food & Gardens Group Meeting in Fearon Hall 2nd October 2014

Garden Organic Master Gardeners

Martha and Huzaifa went to Ryton for training as Master Gardeners. People were keen to hear what TL and LAGS are doing with community gardens, especially as the Master Gardener scheme is aimed more at supporting individual families rather than community groups. The majority of the other Master Gardeners in the training scheme were older people and allotment holders, who will be getting their contacts from friends and neighbours. As part of the training they were given seeds (ready for sowing in the Spring) and information on seed sprouting (for sandwiches and salads).

Fearon Hall link up

Meg said that Fearon Hall’s community cafe wants to provide really wholesome meals. They charge £3.50 for lunches and don’t want to charge more than that if they don’t have to, so growing some of their own fruit and veg can help. They currently get veggies donated by local people. Emma and Meg don’t have time to run another project at the moment so they’re looking to involve local people in growing the veggies they later eat. They get through lots of potatoes, leeks and broccoli. Its not about mass production but more providing fresh, local tastes to complement existing commercial produce.

Meg doesn’t know if they’d like to have a plot next to the TLCA or if they should have another plot next to one of their existing suppliers (a lady who has allotments near the Great Central). They do have several families with small gardens or not enough time to take on their own allotment plot who might want to come along to TLCA. Meg suggested putting information up about LAGS and TLCA on a board at the Fearon Hall open day in a couple of weeks time. LAGS and TLCA could also bring some of the excess produce that has been grown.

Allotment Plan

We discussed the allotment plan we’d drawn up last year and what has (and hasn’t!) worked. Some things in the plan are probably not going o happen now (eg the pond). Polytunnel location was discussed: the preferred location if it will fit is between the accessible planters and the compost, otherwise we decided to try putting it where the greenhouse was planned.

Fruit cage should have just fruit in it next year. We will clear out the tomatoes and nasturiums once the frost does for them. Martha suggested more fruit bushes outside along the front of the beds and also where the perennial beds are near World Foods (where we put some of the rhubarb that didn’t take). Meg suggested more signage – Martha said that LAGS had suffered from people taking veggies that they’d hoped to display. Jon said that the message he’d got from attending LAGS sessions was to “help yourself”, so if that isn’t the case for specific plants or crops it needs to be made more explicit.

The rotational beds are to be kept as they are, and rotated down the plots (so brassicas at the top, then alliums, legumes and potatoes).

SHIRE Grants

Talked about options: suggested that Steve, Jon and Meg should see if we can put a bid together. Suggestions of a composting loo for TLCA from Jon and a paid community allotment coordinator from Meg.

Seed Swap in February

2nd February – £20 for the room in the Library. Also having a produce swap at Fearon Hall on Saturday 11th October 12-3pm.

Winter Feast

20th November – £50 for Fearon Hall.  Steve will book it unless anyone objects in the next day.

Grantley Lycett Talk

Barry introduced Grantley Lycett who is a University of Nottingham academic from Sutton Bonington and is offering to do a talk for us. He’s done work on pea gene sequencing and then at Sutton Bonington did the work on the first UK GM product – tomatoes that were used in tomato pastes in supermarkets. It was successful until the anti-GM campaign encouraged supermarkets to abandon them. Grantley has been looking at GM techniques for making biofuels – for example using wheat straw for energy rather than the wheat seeds so that a single crop can be both food & fuel. Grantley could do a talk on a number of GM topics. Steve pointed out that the topic could be controversial, but Grantley was happy to field any questions. Martha said that we could invite members of other groups in the county that she’s met at the Garden Organic Master Gardeners course. Talked about location and dates – Fearon Hall was suggested. Grantley has a lull in his diary in January – maybe 22nd Jan? Meg is checking if that is available.  Discussed charging for it – say £3 (that’s what other gardening groups charge). Grantley suggested talking for about 40 minutes using Powerpoint slides, with a discussion afterwards.

Date of Next Meeting: 6th November in Fearon Hall.

AOB: Martha asked Steve if he could arrange a meeting with Minara to form a coordination between groups meeting.

LAGS have a three activity workshop on 11th October (folk can have a taste of the Autumn fayre at Fearon Hall and then go the LAGS event in the afternoon).

Steve is going to the Bloom presentation next Wednesday morning.

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