Present: Bertil, Donna, Jason, Jon, Dawn, Janet Smith, Ken, Martha, Meg, Ruth, Emily Sharman, Sue
Had introductions as not everyone had met before. Jon summarised the minutes from the last meeting. Sue said that the Quakers have been active about COP26 and one person from TL had contacted her after the last meeting. They’d had some information back from Jane Hunt MP’s office and the Quakers are doing an internal meeting in April about it.
ACTION: Anyone interested in being involved in COP26 campaigning should contact Sue.
Jason is waiting to take on the treasurers post from Steve once the lockdowns are over and they can have a face to face meeting. They will update the co-signatories on the account at the same time, removing Sue. Jason said there wasn’t an account update from Steve but we haven’t run many events so haven’t spent very much.
Jason said we need to consider events such as Repair Cafes and if we could be involved with the gardens around the hall. Meg showed us an animation of the plans for Fearon Hall and the parish green, which included replacing the garage we rent with a covered patio/meeting space. The plan aimed to encourage more people to come to the Hall and green and then promote their sustainable/environmental agenda. The proposal was accepted as part of a wider project and they are now awaiting funding. In the meantime the garage is still available to TL to use for our storage and events. Janet asked what the timescales were but Meg didn’t know as it is a small part of a larger CBC plan and Town Deal funding bid.
Dawn then covered events at the Hall. They have two gardening groups. One is the Rectory Wildlife Garden (also involving Martha and LAGS). They are is replanting the amenity beds at the front of the Hall with edibles, based on the Incredible Edibles ideas. The second group is being formed by a lady called Catherine who wants to start a therapeutic gardening group. This will be launched during Mental Health week in May. Catherine will be doing the Hall’s pots, the beds near our garage and help with the amenity beds.
On 2nd/3rd Oct Dawn is planning a Fun Palace free events for people to “have a go” (rather than just watch someone doing something). She already has people wanting to do things as diverse as martial arts and poetry, and they have 199 1 hour slots to fill. Dawn would like TL to be involved in this – we need to think what hands on events we could run!
ACTION: Everyone in TL to think about what “have a go” 1 hour sessions we could run in the Fearon Hall October event.
Dawn would also be keen on us getting a Repair Cafe running again, probably in July/August/September when lockdown restrictions may have ended. Emily keen on being involved and helping to promote it. Jason suggested we do one at the hall and maybe one at another location. Jon asked if Fearon Hall had a bike repair group running as we don’t want to duplicate/step on toes, but Meg said they didn’t. Sue suggested a wildlife garden talk alongside the Repair Cafe.
Meg said that the cafe will be open on Saturday mornings once lockdowns are over and are looking at “Utilise style” social cooking/eating. Fearon Hall are launching a sunflower growing competition for local children (and Jason!) – they have 900 giant sunflower seeds to give out and there will be prizes for the best. Jason said as TL community allotment grow produce we could help supply Fearon Hall’s food poverty programmes. Meg said that they have a community shop that can help pass on 2nd hand items that people would throw away to people who really need them.
ACTION: Dawn will email Jon with some potential dates for Repair Cafes which he will then share with potential repairers.
Nottingham Trent Research Project Proposal
Donna, an associate professor at NTU, introduced a funding call she is interested in that is looking at food, community growing and a sense of place. She said that community gardens are one of the best connectors she has found, and each of them has their own culture. She would like to run a project to look at a number of community gardens, what activities they do, what connections to their local community they have and how they can affect the larger food system. Meg mentioned building on the Fruit Routes from the University out across the town, resulting in an “edible map of Loughborough”. Donna said the project is going to run over three years, so if it is funded we could have a three year plan for developing community gardening involving TL, Fearon Hall and other edible community growing schemes in the area. Meg was keen on upskilling people to ensure community gardening schemes are resilient to people leaving, moving away, etc. Emily suggested mapping community gardens and edible planting in the town.
ACTION: People interested to get in touch with Donna (can be done via our website contact us page)
Jason said we’ve not been doing as much at the allotment during the pandemic and there was some issues and disagreements that people on the mailing list would have seen. Martha and Steve have been instrumental in keeping the allotment going during 2020 with others such as Jason and Ruth also going there during the year. Jason has talked to Steve (who wasn’t joining us online tonight) about the work he’s been doing here and Martha has also been working there in the last year.
Steve told Jason that he would like the gardening group to restate the group vision for the area, how we can introduce new people to the site, and shared community gardens vs giving people small individual plots. Ruth said its looking incredibly tidy and ready to go. Jason discussed how we could get a vision for the allotment set out – for example suggestions via a new thread on the TL Google Group mailing list. A separate meeting face to face isn’t possible at the moment as Martha pointed out.
ACTION: Jon to start a thread on the community allotment vision on the Google Group.
Talked about spending the £340 we have for the allotment. Martha suggested buying compost, and Steve and Jason had suggested maintenance issues such as fixing/painting the shed and getting the fruit cage net put back in. Suggestion that the potato planting take place on 31st March but there may still be a restriction of only six people from two households. LAGS are planning a similar potato planting at their site around the same time.
Suggestion of having a whiteboard that people use to write down what they are doing/what needs to be done. Ken is looking to do some of the repairs to the shed. Martha mentioned wanting a pump and Jon said that there should be a 12V battery pump still at the allotment that we used to raise water from the stream a few years ago. Jason asked if there was an issue with using stream water but Jon said that the Environment Agency doesn’t care about people abstracting the amounts of water we use in a day. Will start open community allotment Wednesday evening sessions as soon as we are allowed to have larger groups meet face to face. Jason showed the previous plans that Martha and Steve had given him.