Tag Archives: COCA

Community Fund – COCA – January Update

As follows below is COCA’s update for January.  Rhiannon is currently on travels in France for a while so I’ll be doing for the updates now.

January has been typically quiet time on the farm this year with no volunteers staying and not too much work in the field either.  We’ve been harvesting oriental greens from the polytunnels and they are growing well despite the lack of sunshine.  We are also still getting lots of sprouts from the field and Swiss chard too.  Although there has not been too much activity outside, the growing team has been busy with the crop plan for the year ahead (which is to be put on our website).  Our events team have also been busy too and organised a Burns Night in a local village on the 28th January (two photos attached).  It was a tremendous success with over eighty people coming to celebrate this Scottish tradition and raised over £600 towards COCA funds.  We were lucky to find a wonderful band for a ceilidh and a bag piper too!

Community Fund – COCA – December Update

img_20161202_141044-1December was a quiet month at COCA, the winter absence of residential volunteers leaving Caz on his own for the first time since February. Thankfully it is at least a quieter time of year, with a lot of the ground and crops already prepared throughout the autumn. Most of the harvests this month were unfortunately on fairly miserable rainy days, but that didn’t stop the regular crew of members from volunteering for the weekly harvest with a smile. A special mention to David and Brenda, who have consistently lent a hand for harvest throughout the year, come rain or shine.

This month still saw some new veg in the box, with a fresh new crop of salads in the polytunnels ready for harvest. This included plenty of oriental green leaves, which taste fantastic, and for the first time some pak choi. They made for great additions to our bumper Christmas boxes, which included a whole array of fresh veg for Christmas dinner, including brussel sprouts, parsnips, beetroot, onions, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, leeks, kale and chard.

And plans are already a foot for the new year, with a Burns Night party on the horizon for the end of January, to bring together all our members and volunteers for some food and good cheer in the middle of winter.

Community Fund – COCA – November Update

unknown-1It felt like winter came to COCA a little early this year, with sharp cold weather, the occasional frost, and even the odd bit of hail right from the start of November. The days may have been getting shorter, but the work carried on of course. In November we were joined by a new woofer, Magdalena, who stayed at COCA for two weeks, who, along with our long term volunteer Agnès, and of course our grower Caz, helped to get everything well and truly prepared for the winter ahead.

Out in the field, the now empty seed beds were covered with plastic to stop the weed growth over the winter, and the irrigation pipes stoppered and drained to prevent them from freezing in cold weather. The tool shed has been tidied and reorganised ready for spring, next years early crops like the chard and kale were weeded and manured, to give them the best chance in the harshest months, and our current crop of chard were covered with fleece to protect them from the wind.

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Community Fund – COCA – October Update

A good helping of traditional winter veg started cropping up thick and fast at Caerhys this month, with the first leeks, brussel sprouts and butternut squashes all appearing in the share shed. And of course, some timely pumpkins for Halloween. There have still been some reminders of summer though, as October also saw the last of the tomatoes, green peppers, courgettes, cucumbers, french beans, and the current crop of salads. All in addition to seasonal staples of potatoes, turnips, carrots, kale and swiss chard.

As a consequence of that seasonal shift in veggies, it’s been all change in both polytunnels. The french beans, peppers and tomato plants have all been removed, and the soil prepared and turned in both. The replanting has only just begun, with Poly 1 providing a new home for hundreds of freshly transplanted salad leaves, but with many many more to do. Meanwhile in Poly 2, ten lines of carrots have been planted, with cabbages and chards to follow shortly.

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Community Fund – COCA – September Update

img_20160808_193356Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture – September 2016 Update

After bustling with people all summer, Caerhys seemed much quieter in September, as several of our longer term volunteers moved on to pastures new. Farewell and thanks to Emma, Janny and Josie, who finished their time at Caerhys after putting in a fantastic amount of work while they were here.

September marks the start of autumn, and so the time has come to begin a new phase of planting. After planning it out in August, Caz, Gill and Agnès have begun taking out the old plants to make room for the new. This month saw the last of the courgettes (probably, a few plants were kept back, just in case), and there’ll be fewer tomatoes from here on out. Some new salads have been sowed, and we’ve had the first of our turnips. And with Halloween approaching, it’ll soon be time for the squashes!

Outside of the veg itself, toward the end of the month some vital maintenance was carried out on our straw building, so soon it’ll be ready to act as the new store shed, providing us with a new place to store and collect the veg. The building has of course already been put to good use, hosting a variety of talks and the local Pembrokeshire Ukelele Pirates over the summer.



The Ukelele Pirates playing in the new straw building

The core group members being given a guided tour of the field by Caz

Community Fund – COCA – August Update

August is traditionally the month where it’s all go at Caerhys, and this year was no exception.

Well into the glut now, this month members saw a bumper crop in their veg boxes, including the first cucumbers, four varieties of tomato, french beans and courgette. It’s a fair assumption that a lot of members will have had their fill of courgette cake and been busy making chutney. And of course more veg means more harvesting!

Luckily, there were extra hands to help, as August saw COCA hosting the last work camp of the year. Once again a raft of volunteers from across Europe came to the farm, to learn about organic permaculture, get a taste of rural welsh life, and get involved with a community agriculture project.

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Community Fund – COCA – July Update

fb_img_1471079875634July over already! It seems time flies when you are hosting a raft of volunteers from around the world. This month COCA welcomed nine participants for the third UNA work camp of the year, plus six woofers, two activists from Friends of the Earth, and of course our two existing EVS volunteers. At one point COCA had representatives from France, Belgium, Spain, Wales, Italy, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany and the US.

Collectively, Caz and the group carried out the major task of transplanting all of the cabbages and leeks (4000 of them!) into the field, as well as sowing and transplanting the next crop of salads. They also carried out vast amounts of weeding, especially around the carrots, parsnips and cabbages, which is a mammoth job in itself.

And obviously we also had the usual weekly harvest, with July seeing the first of the french beans, courgettes, and tomatoes in the veg box, and the last of the broad beans.

Photos: the volunteers hard at work + one of the veg shares.


Community Fund – COCA – June Update

As ever, it’s been a busy month on the farm. It’s all hands on deck at this time of year, as massive amounts of transplanting takes place, getting the bulk of the summer crops established in the field. Fortunately Caz has had plenty of hands to help this month. Our existing EVS volunteer Agnès was joined by new EVS volunteer Emma, also from France, who will be here for three months. Not to mention our wwoofers, Dave and Mathilde, and two new volunteers from Friends of the Earth who have joined us. Plus, we were aided by another UNA work camp this month, which saw the farm welcoming volunteers for two weeks from France and even far flung Swansea.

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Community Fund – COCA – May Update

We ended April at COCA with our inaugural annual Onion Day, with over 30 people coming to the farm to plant onion seedlings, and learn how to build ‘bug hotels’ to encourage more biodiversity on the farm. The intention is to eventually use our new bug hotel building skills to build a big one in the middle of the COCA field. It was also the first time we used Cartref, the straw bale building that is being constructed at the farm by a group of dedicated volunteers. We also had a volunteer day later in the month to work on the lime render, and the building is now almost finished.

May then saw a big influx of international volunteers to the farm, as we hosted our first UNA camp of the year, welcoming three volunteers for two weeks, as well as two Friends of the Earth volunteers, Lilly and Eleanor, who will be with us for six weeks in total. The volunteers come from across Europe – Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and Malta. Needless to say they’ve been extremely busy, working away in the increasingly warm polytunnels and planting and weeding out on the field.

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Community Fund – COCA – April Update

Unknown-1April has been a very busy month at COCA with so much going on in the growing field, polytunnels and Cartref COCA. Our EVS volunteer Agnes, who is staying with is until November, has been flat out working with Caz planting, transplanting, weeding and harvesting – and we are in fact ahead of schedule at the moment. Unfortunately our other EVS volunteer Hugo returned to France during this month and we were very grateful for his help over the time he was with us since February and wish him a speedy recovery. His replacement will be joining us in June. Work has been on-going with Cartref COCA with the lime rendering now almost finished on the inside. We had our AGM in 25th April and it was great to see so many of our members to come and talk with us about how we’re doing. Our Chair, Membership Secretary and Treasurer stepped down and were all replaced apart from the treasurer role which we are now exploring avenues to take on this task. We now have a Core Group of ten including Gerald, Caz, Dave, Nathan, Gill, Rhiannon, Kate, Agnes, Rosie and Stuart. We finished off the month with our Inaugural Onion Day which saw over thirty people come to the farm and take part in onion planting and the kids were busy making bug hotels!