Hello and Happy New Year
This being the first newsletter of the new year I have lots to tell you. We will soon be moving into our fourth growing season; where did those years go? The new year brings lots of new opportunities for Burscough Community Farm. It is a crucial year to make that step up to becoming an established robust organisation that knows where it is going and how it is going to get there. All the pieces are nearly in place, we have just to bring it all together.
The first announcement I have to make is that I will now be working three days each week at Greenslate Community Farm in Billinge, near Wigan. It is a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and experience as a grower, something that will ultimately benefit Burscough Community Farm. It will also lead to opportunities for the two farms to co-operate more to achieve our joint aims. Having worked there for a couple of weeks now, I have been amazed to find out how much the two farms share common goals and have been born out of the same ideals of sustainability through putting the 'local' back into farming.
Burscough Community Farm will carry on as last season, producing veg boxes and trying to expand its operation. We have put in for some funding to pay for additional staffing. If we get it, it will be a real bonus and help the farm reach the goals we have put together for this year. Over the winter we will continue to make improvements to the barn and other parts of the infrastructure including the addition of a new poly tunnel.
The New Ditch
On your next visit to the farm you will notice the addition of a new ditch at the far end of the field. This has been done for a number of reasons:
Please take note of the location of the new ditch, especially if you have small children. The water is only shallow but they need to be made aware of its existence. As I am sure you know, there are already areas of open water on site, very young children need supervision on site at all times.
- To improve drainage and protect the old drainage system from all the new trees we have planted in the shelter belt.
- To provide additional water resources for wildlife.
- To explore possibilities for incorporating a reed bed filtration system into the farm for future irrigation needs.
Food Champions Training in Preston
Since before Christmas, Jane and I have been attending a 'Food Champions' training course with local food activist and nutritionist, Kay Johnston of 'The Larder.'
The initial aim was to run 'field to fork' inspirational cooking courses on site but possibilities have opened up for us to start utilizing the Open Food Network (this was part of the course and intended to help community centres set up food hubs). Using this network will provide a platform for us to market and sell our veg boxes in a much more efficient way and to a much wider audience. We have started to make connections with community groups in Preston with them acting as 'food hubs' for our veg boxes. If this is successful it could be a model we could replicate in other areas where access to healthy local food has too many barriers.
Nick Weir of the Open Food Network and Kay Johnson of The Larder
Fresh Air, Fresh Start Programme
In one of my recent newsletters I mentioned the 'Fresh Air, Fresh Start' programme that we are launching for 'Active West Lancs.' This is a programme for GP's to refer their patients to access exercise and healthier lifestyle options. Supporting the local community with programme's like this is part of our remit as a Community Interest Company.
The courses that we will develop will also be accessible to our members at a discounted rate and to 'non-referred' members of the public on a paid basis.
We have a number of members and associates who are interested in developing and running courses for the programme. These courses will be accredited by our friends at the Tree Bee Society adding value to the courses and rewarding those who put the effort into designing them with something that they can develop further.
If you think that you could design and run a course, or know someone else who can, we are having seminar/workshop about this on Saturday 18th of February at 10:30am at Mere Sands Wood visitor centre. Drop me a line if you would like to attend or discuss this idea further.
A pic. just to show how cold it is out there ;)
Our Link to The Arts
As some may know, BCF member and recent Samhain fundraiser host Barnaby King is also a lecturer in Performing Arts at Edge Hill. In February he is going to be bringing some of his students down to the farm to begin work on a performance responding to the site and issues of sustainable growing.
Their creative work will culminate in a celebratory public show in March, involving live music, illuminations, dance, puppetry, storytelling and more. We hope this will be a great opportunity to invite the wider community to the field and to let them know about what it is we do. And it should garner plenty of attention as the project is funded by the Arts Council and led by artists from 'Walk the Plank' the UK's leading outdoor arts company.
Towards the end of the rehearsal process Barnaby and the students will need lots of help. So closer to the time they will be putting out a call for volunteers - adults and children - who might like to participate in some small way (e.g. by making a willow lantern, guiding audience members, or even being involved in the performance if you wish). Details will follow soon of how to get involved in this fun creative opportunity.
Stop Press - Barnaby has some other news
Please join us at Edge Hill University Arts Centre on Tuesday night for the launch of my book and a very special performance by Colombian clown Lucho Guzman. Here are the details:
Lucho will present his stunning solo performance Ceniza (Ashes) at 7.30pm on Tuesday January 24th in the Arts Centre at Edge Hill.
A lone soldier takes refuge in an abandoned big-top. While the battle rages on outside, he opens the clown’s suitcase and finds himself being drawn into the world of the circus. Lucho Guzman brings us his considerable talent as a clown in this feast of absurd and macabre comedy, inspired by real experiences of conflict in Colombia.
This event also marks the launch of a brand new publication Colombian Clowning as Social Performance by Dr Barnaby King, Senior Lecturer in Performance here at Edge Hill University. The book launch and Q&A will take place in the Red Bar after Lucho’s performance.
Join us for refreshments at 6.30pm, the performance will begin at 7.30pm.
This event is free but prior booking is highly recommended.
www.edgehill.ac.uk/events/2017/01/24/ceniza-ashes/ or call 01695 584480
Ceniza (Ashes) - Events
Performed and conceived by Lucho Guzman, a lone soldier takes refuge in an abandoned big-top. He opens the clown’s suitcase and gets drawn into the world of the circus. Drinks reception 6.30pm. Performance 7.30pm. Book Launch 8.30pm. TICKETS are FREE.
Gaynor Pickering with our new 'Permaculture' signs
That's all for now, keep warm out there.
Founder and Co-ordinator