Notes on Food & Gardening Meeting, 2nd April 2015

On a bright evening, some of us met before the meeting at the Shed to do a bit of tidying up on the plot, replanting strawberries, watering the tunnel, weeding and sowing some flowers attractive to bees. Steve brought two young people, Nadia & Tomek (?) who are working at Fearon Hall as international volunteers; they told us about their plans to organise monthly events to encourage intercultural understanding in the community.

The main items of the meeting were:

1. Loughborough in Bloom: Steve reported that he had entered the Orchard for the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ competition; also, Martha had entered the Community Allotment for the competition. It was noted that all our projects would need some collective effort to get good results, to play our part among all the other groups whose aim is to make Loughborough an environmentally more pleasant and attractive place. Assessment dates are usually at the beginning of July, and we need support from members on the days.

2. Steve drew attention to further plans for the Orchard: Perhaps different local groups such as LAGS or the Council of Faith could plant trees there, and we should sow wild flowers and generally aim to promote the Orchard more among Transition. It was hoped that the Fruit Route from campus could be extended to link up with the Orchard.

3. Community Allotment: It is in surprisingly good shape for the time of the year, with all the raised beds and other planting areas relatively free of weeds. Since the Big Dig event when we started the gardening year, some more fruit bushes, broad beans, garlic and 4 rows of potatoes have been planted and some root crops sown; good rhubarb plants are developing, and the small herb area near where the green house used to be is being developed.

It was discussed whether calling it a ‘shared allotment’ instead of ‘community allotment’ would attract more people to join the work.

Steve offered to draft a leaflet which could be used to promote the place more. Suella suggested that using Facebook could be used to tell interested people to join in the work on the plot. Work after 5pm on Wednesdays should be generally established again, and a workshop on composting with a Master Composter on a Saturday after 2pm might be of interest to many and might bring more regular helpers to the allotment. Steve offered to try and get a local Master Composter to do a workshop for us; such a workshop would also be interesting to LAGS members, and it may inspire us all to improve the present composting arrangements at the allotment, too.

There was agreement that help from the University Action Group was not necessary at present, as there was no heavy work to be done in the foreseeable future.

4. Picnic in the Park (13th June): There was agreement that members from Transition and LAGS would be able to look after a stand; there would be a good number of surplus plants to swap or give away for a donation. The event could be very useful for promoting the work of Transition and networking with others involved with gardening in the community.

5. Information about the National Gardens Scheme and Open Gardens at Herrick Road was briefly discussed; more information should be forthcoming from Janet.

6. Paul had suggested before the meeting that Graham from Manor Farm at Long Wotton should be approached to find out whether he could give a talk about food supply/food economics and politics in this country. There was agreement that this could be a very interesting topic, and it was hoped that Paul could pursue this for us soon. It was not clear whether such a talk should be part of a F&G Meeting or as a freestanding event.

7. We discussed the date of the next F&G Meeting; if we wanted to have it on the first Thursday of the month, it would fall on election night, the following Thursday, 14th May, was suggested as a better date. The venue could again be at the Shed, but this needs to be discussed with the LAGS committee

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