Notes on Food & Gardens Group meeting 16th September 2015

Present: Steve, Barry, Suella, Jon, Martha, Eli, Julia, Rose, Jane, Alison.

Apologies: Paul

Planning allotment work for Autumn

We discussed the work items that we need to undertake at the community allotment over the Autumn period. We have green manures to sow, winter crops to plant out (both in the polytunnel and outside), remaining harvesting (and sorting of existing harvest such as the potatoes) and taking the top netting off the fruit cage.

We’re going to have two different green manures in beds, and another area covered with cardboard/compost/muck to compare how different coverings work over winter. These will hopefully suppress weeds, reduce nutrient leeching and improve fertility.

Martha suggested taking hardwood cuttings and planting them in the ground at the allotment. Suella offered various berry bushes as a source of such material. Steve suggested we could have hazel bushes. Jon said these could go on the top of the embankment. Martha suggested some fruit trees and has a self sown walnut tree she can transplant.

Attracting new members

Alex is a Master Gardener from Oakham who came to the community allotment this evening to have a look round.  She wants to start social gardening with asylum seekers, working with a group in Loughborough. Alison, who is the Master Gardener’s coordinator in the county, will be meeting with Alex and the asylum seekers’ support worker to see what could be done. At the moment they don’t know what growing space these people have where they live, but they might want to come to the community allotment to join in with our gardening.

We talked about how to attract new members, both to the Transition community allotment, the Food & Garden’s group and LAGS. Alison said that having edible items on promotional stands is a good idea – that has worked well at Fresher’s Fairs for example. Social media is useful, including Streetlife.com which provides a more local focus. It was suggested that having more signage up around LAGS could help students find it (as its a bit off the normal student routes around campus). Jon is going to produce some signage for the community allotment.

Workshop on Fruit Bushes & Pruning

This takes place on 10th October 1-3pm at LAGS. Martha asked that Transition put £30 in towards the event. Martha making a promotional leaflet. The Autumn Fayre is on the same day noon-2pm in Fearon Hall with our apple press.

Apple Pressings

Jon and Steve took the apple press to its first event of the year at Sutton Bonington Show a couple of weekends ago. We’ve a full programme of further bookings during the Autumn. Suella asked if £10 per pressing is underselling us – should we charge £15 next year? Steve said it has to balance between income and not putting groups off.  Jon said he was thinking of producing a “how to make cider” leaflet based on the number of times that question has been asked.

Alison said she had a group in the Vale of Belvoir that were looking for an apple press. Jon said that a press similar to ours could be made by a competent carpenter or DIY woodworker. Suella suggested that a guide to making a press would be popular.

Fruit Routes events on 15th and 17th October

Anne-Marie is producing promotional material for this event that we can distribute. Steve described the basic idea behind the Fruit Routes. Over the two days we’ll have two apple pressings, foraging, a cake bake and a produce swap at the ex-Orange shop in the town. Steve has arranged for a chap to come along to help identify apple varieties and explain about grants for orchards.  We need people from Transition to step up to help with the apple pressings and the produce swap staffing.

Planning Winter Feast on Thursday 26th November

Steve is going to check the booking has been made for Fearon Hall and let Jon know so that he can put it in the Transition calendar. We should ask people to help produce food for the event. Steve is going to talk to the musician about playing after the meal.

Potato Day 2016

The 2nd Transition Loughborough potato day is planned for the end of January 2016. We’ll be taking orders from October. Tubers will cost 12p each when pre-ordered, or 14p each if brought on the day. We need people to help Janet make more bags before the event – the target is 100 bags.

Asian Recipe Book

Steve said that an Asian recipe book is being produced in the town. He’d like us to offer them some support in doing this. The group will be demonstrating some of the recipes at the Autumn Fayre in Fearon Hall on October 10th.

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