September has been dramatic for us. On 4th Sept we got planning permission for our site, so we can now erect compost toilets, polytunnels, shelters and containers for office & storage (as we get the money for them!). Continue reading
We continued to plan materials for our course ‘How to Transform an Ornamental Garden into a Food Forest’ which we will be running initially for four Thursdays, beginning on 9th September 2010 ,12 – 4pm, at the Hope St Garden. Cost will be £6 / session or £20 / full course.
This further enhances our links with the Chapel who have proved supportive. We were able to repay this in kind by offering a letter of support for their grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, in which we were cited as principal partner organisation on the garden development.
We began harvesting seed for the seed savers network and produced a bulletin for our currently small group. Routine maintenance of the community orchard at Callis Mill began in preparation for ‘Apple Day’ events in October.
This month Green up your Act is installing a two tier composting system for D and D Herbs who supply local restaurants with organically grown ingredients. Situated at Stanmer Organics the method will help Doug the owner to produce soil-enriching compost for his organic herb business. This arrangement will also provide Green up your act with a ready supply of compost to use in school and other projects.
In August our two graduate interns from Nottingham University – Niranjan Parayogasingam and Andrea Ferdinands – began work with us. They have been awarded to us for 8 weeks and are helping us do lots of preparatory work, researching information, writing our policies and risk assessments, getting quotes for bids etc. It has been a great boost to us.
We have been submitting funding bids, and holding meetings with organisations (like probation, MENCAP, Remploy, Seetec, Job Centre Plus, Intraining) looking to place people with us. We should be well-placed to meet their demands when we are up and running.
The visitors of the Young Peoples Center in Brighton are learning how to make a recycled plastic bottle structure to house their rhubarb and tomato plants. The warmth from the shelter will enhance the plants growth. When ready the vegetables will be prepared and cooked giving the participants an extended knowledge of growing and enjoying seasonal food, and recycling.
RHUBARB FARM Update for August
We submitted our planning application at the beginning of July. With 39 accompanying documents (as we were asking for polytunnel, car park, signage, erection of sheds and containers for office space) we were relieved it was deemed complete and we will get a decision by 10th September. We had to take a deep breath when we paid the planning fee of £1,965 and are now well in the red! On 5th August we have two graduate interns starting work with us for 8 weeks – awarded to us free by Nottingham University – we are really looking forward to them helping us with more preparation for becoming operational. We are also going through a commissioning process for £48,000 of Working Neighbourhoods Fund money, which is being arranged through the Bolsover Local Strategic Partnership. Success in getting this funding, the signing of our leases, and a positive outcome to the planning application will mean we can employ our first staff and actually become operational on our 8 acre site. We envisage this should be in late September/early October. Then we can get our portaloos on site, as funded by the Vegware Community Fund. The biggest hurdle after this is getting funding for fencing – we need 905 metres of close weld mesh, for the security of our buildings, polytunnel and crops.
The gardens have benefited from the help of a number of corporate team challenges throughout July. These have focused on tasks including Rabbit fencing the vegetable gardens, and developing features that will be shown in the Beechgrove Garden programme to be filmed between 9th and 11th August.
We have followed up project work resulting from the Transition Town launch. This involved collating data harvested at the event and attending meetings. A Transition Food Group is now meeting fortnightly with representatives of organisations from around the area and as such is a valuable networking opportunity. An audit of sustainable food initiatives is in the process of being prepared. Members of the Transition Town food group are now being proposed as trustees for the CFH, hopefully leading to appointment at our AGM on 14th July.
Over the summer, with support from Vegware, Green Up Your Act Education will be providing a range of eco workshops for the Young Peoples Center in Brighton. The center is a free space for young people to come to socialize and chat to volunteers who can provide help and support. We hope the added green input will inspire and empower the centers visitors.
Rhubarb Farm have been awarded the professional help of a surveyor, planning consultant and solicitor to work on our lease and planning application and we are now poised to submit our planning application for fencing, structures and polytunnel for our site. On 18 June the Derbyshire County PCT organised a seminar to promote our work to commissioners of services and senior decision-makers in the Bolsover area (where our site is) and 60 people attended, including 4 volunteers and a Rotary Club funder from our previous project. They wowed the audience with positive reports of the importance for them of being on a therapeutic horticulture project. We are also now being asked for jobs, volunteering opportunities and placements for people with learning disabilities by local people living around the site, who have embraced RHUBARB FARM even though we’re not operational yet.