FACT 1: Our vegetables come with mud!
Cleaning veg. uses lots of water – we only use the water we need, reducing the cost to the environment. And our veg. is not pre packed, one of our members biggest concerns has been the use of plastic wrapping – which means we have to remember to take a bag when collecting our weekly veg.
FACT 2: We need insects to pollinate plants.
80% of Europe’s plant species depend on insect pollination. Large scale farming relies on insecticides/pesticides which have had a dramatic impact on insect pollinators. By preserving the hedgerows, hosting beehives and limiting our use of chemicals we are encouraging the insects to do their job.
FACT 3: Loss of soil from intensive monoculture fields/poor land management has huge impacts on our rivers.
Soil washes off during heavy rain and blows off in extremely dry weather. Growing on a smaller scale and with field margins means we are not contributing to a loss of soil.
FACT 4: Pollution from agriculture is not only threatening the long-term sustainability of our river ecology, but is also costing us more in of water treatment.
We use manure and green composts rather than chemicals which are harming our rivers and are costing too much.
FACT 5: Demanding out of season crops requires lots of help – extra heat, water etc. and/or costs us many food miles.
Growing and eating seasonally means we are working with the environment. Here’s a description of what the production out of season salad for supermarkets, can mean, “One of the main sources of out-of-season salad for British supermarkets is southern Spain. Vast swathes of Murcia and Almeria have been given over to these thirsty crops. Growing them intensively in monocultures depends on heavy agrochemical use. The miles of greenhouses form one of the bleakest industrial wastelands I’ve seen. The workforce there depends too on migrants, many of whom live in makeshift cardboard houses without sanitation.” From: Not On The Label, by Felicity Lawrence.
FACT 6: Landfill sites are full of – useful materials.
Tapping into our members creativity our farm includes many inventions using recycled materials; ‘The Palace’ – once a corrugated ‘lean to’ now incorporates display shelving for our veg, and propagating room, we trial-ed a pallet growing garden, use bucket handle monkey climbers for cucumbers, built a ‘snug’ to hide in on windy or wet days and best of all have the Rusby Wrapper mk2 for laying rolls of corn starch.
FACT 7: Turning unused land into productive land.
Originally the soil on the 2 acres we farm was of very poor quality – there were no worms and when it rained the field turned into a river. Using only manure, green composts and ‘intelligent’ growing we have doubled the yield in 4 years from 3 to 6 tons. Worms are back… and now we have moles!
FACT 8: As a result of our efforts…
there has been a noticeable return of wildlife; lots more song birds, with regular appearances from birds of prey – sparrow hawk, red kite. Kestrel and buzzard.
FACT 9: Small doesn’t mean less – in numbers, we are:
+60 plus members sharing a concern for the environment, wanting to do demonstrate it is possible to do things differently
+producing 50+ different types of colourful veg over the year
+growing 19 different culinary herbs to pick each week
+using 3 large and 1 (soon to be 2) small poly tunnels
+and @ 64 hours on the fields each week
FACT 10: To make a real difference locally we are planning for the future and the next generations are an important part of that plan.
Our Growing Gang meets monthly and we have links with local schools.
It’s not all serious stuff! As a co op we are also good at enjoying ourselves, there are plenty of opportunities for socialising and learning new/different skills.