Update on the Community Harvest Whetstone CSA project

See below for the latest update from the CSA project, courtesy of Simon…

Change is afoot!!
Since the last update huge amounts of work and effort have been put in to moving the Community Harvest Whetstone project forward to try to get things off (or rather into) the ground this coming Autumn.  However, with the Summer season quickly racing past and despite work progressing on so many fronts all at the same time there has been a realisation that we were unlikely to hit deadline of taking over the 2 acre field by October.  The second phase of our funding application for the Big Lottery Local Food Programme is proving to be a bigger task than initially thought.  It’s quite re-assuring in some respects though, that the Lottery doesn’t just give away their money willy-nilly, but it does mean a lot of work and research into all aspects of our business plans, community involvement, legal structure etc.

Whilst the work for the formal funding continues in the background we are taking advantage of a new parcel of land that Anthony and Sandra have available at Whetstone Pasture Farm.  This area is already fenced off against the rabbits (so we’ll get to eat our lovely fresh veg. instead of them), and although in need of some tlc, will enable us to get the first share-holdings up and running in line with our initial plans.  Naturally we forecast we will now be working to a smaller number of shares initially, but in combination with the large polytunnel we are still making preparations for getting the first autumn sown crops in the ground.

Work has begun!
Tuesday 28th of July was D-day.  The first group of a dozen or so willing volunteers battled against brambles, nettles, an overgrown hedge and a small self-set willow tree, amongst other things, to claim back the polytunnel for use by Community Harvest Whetstone.

The next workday for all willing volunteers is on Saturday 22nd August between 2pm to 6pm.  This will be a great opportunity to sample the community spirit so if you would like to come and help then please email Hilary at hilary_browne2002 AT yahoo.co.uk and she can give you more details.

Further workdays are already planned in fortnightly from this date, at the same time.


Moving things forward

To maintain momentum with the project and to bring in the first funds to move the project into the growing stage we are now inviting all interested parties to enrol themselves and sign up for the general membership.

Just to remind you the general membership is designed for you to join this exciting project, to give you contact with the farm and the chance of involvement in growing, and in helping to decide how the project will run etc. The idea is that we develop a community around the project (not just for the crop sharers) and so we will have parties, celebrations, growing days and the like (see below for our Apple Day event).  Being a general member will also be of benefit if you aim to become a crop sharer, if the crop shares become over-subscribed by non-members, as general members would naturally be given priority.

If you would like to become one of the founder members of the Community Harvest Whetstone group then please enrol for the general membership (based on £2.00 per month) at a cost of £24 for the year (this could be split to two 6 monthly instalments of £12.00 if requested).

Please supply your full name, postal (and email) address, with a simple note to indicate membership of the Community Harvest Whetstone group, making cheques payable to Transition Leicester and post to:

Doug Golding
Transition Leicester
c/o 103 Scraptoft Lane
Leicester
LE5 2FE

Enquiries to Doug Golding on (0116) 210 3637 or at info AT transitionleiceister.org.uk

The first ‘year’ of membership is proposed to run until December 2010 (i.e. 16 months from now) giving you up to 4½ months free.  (Provisionally we are now aiming to start first round of crop share members at the start of the new calendar year, details to be decided).

Forthcoming Event
The first social event of the group is being pencilled in for October to celebrate all and everything that is Apple related.  Further details to follow soon.

Other news
A small number of the core group visited the Green Patch CSA, based in Kettering at the end of July to participate in a Horticultural Grower Mentoring Session supported by the Soil Association, with Phil Sumption (of Garden Organic, Organic Growers Alliance and independent Organic grower at Cotesbach). This proved a great opportunity to meet members from another community supported agriculture scheme, to exchange experiences and ideas and to receive some learned advice from an experienced organic grower.

PS. Google groups confusion
When you have been directed to the Community Harvest Whetstone (CHW) group page (from our emails) as below

http://groups.google.com/group/community-harvest-whetstone?hl=en

you get taken to a page that gives you the option  Sign in to Google Groups
to sign in (if have already set up an account).

If you haven’t ever created an account have you will need to set one up (this hasn’t been done for you by CHW) so click on the link to Sign in and apply for membership

And click on the large ‘create an account’ button and follow the steps through – you will then be able to access the google groups Community Harvest Whetstone page in the normal way.

It’s all a bit new to all of us so bear with us as we work out how to use it to its best.

Scrub clearing around the polytunnel

Scrub clearing around the polytunnel

Hedge?

Hedge?

Matt with axe!

Matt with axe!

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