Vegan permaculture courses in the UK

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Two permaculture design courses run by vegans (and VON members) are takng place in the UK this summer.

Graham Burnett and Nicole Vosper  are running a course in Somerset split over two periods 28 June – 2 July and 2-6 August, while Aranya and Tony Martin (below) are running a course in South Wales 5-19 July.

For more information see http://spiralseed.co.uk/vegan-permaculture-design-certificate-course-somerset-summer-2014 (Graham and Nicole’s course)

http://designedvisions.com/course-dates-mainmenu-83/pdcs/276-ystradgynlais-pdc.html (Aranya and Tony’s course).

Nicole and Tony both have articles in the latest issue of Growing Green International.

 

 

Soil Management Seminar

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http://www.organicresearchcentre.com/manage/authincludes/article_uploads/pictures/Tolly_litter.jpgSoil management seminar for growers and gardeners, those working on land, students and apprentices

31 March 2014, 10 am – 4pm

Venue: Tolhurst Organic Market Garden, Hardwick Estate, Whitchurch-on-Thames, Reading, RG8 7RD

Few people realise just how dynamic and wonderful the soil is beneath their feet. Get down to real basics, and back to earth, with this popular and stimulating seminar run by organic experts, Iain Tolhurst and Roger Hitchings. The seminar covers all aspects of soil, from its creation to its final use. It encourages the delegate to revere and cherish this precious resource.

The seminar is a participative workshop, with trainees joining in, sharing their ideas and questions with their group; and working in groups as part of the day’s activities. At the end of the day you will go home with a much better understanding of what your soil is, how it works, and how you will be able to ensure it is still there for the future. We will be looking at soils, so if you bring a sample along, we may get to have an in-depth look at it.

Course cost (local and organic lunch included):

  • Reduced price for eligible participants (see below) £50 + VAT
  • Full price for participants not-eligible for funding £100 + VAT

On-line booking is available here

Please check information on discounts below before booking.

You can also register directly and pay by cheque, BACS or credit card by contacting Gillian Woodward.

100% fee reduction available for young people from Berkshire

If you are 26 or under, resident in Berkshire and training (student/apprentice) to or starting a career in agriculture, you may qualify for one of our Gordon Palmer Memorial Trust bursaries. Please do NOT complete the on-line registration form, but e-mail Gillian Woodward with details of your address, age and circumstances to check eligiblity.

50% fee reduction for English producers and others obtaining a living from agriculture or agricultural products

Eligibility includes producers and employees of producer groups, supply chain businesses, direct retailers, small consultancy businesses, but not multiple retailers, government departments, agencies or public bodies including universities. Participants must be living/working in England.

To benefit please download, complete and sign the funding application form (243 kb pdf file) and send to Gillian Woodward at ORC. You can still register and pay on-line.

This project has been supported through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union

Vegan flour on the rise!

The story so far – by George Walker

flour1When I saw David Graham’s article about VON flour in the summer 2013 issue of GGI (p.4) I immediately saw an opportunity I fancied a slice of. VON were looking to develop a product for a wider market than would typically be reached by produce from a vegan organic farm. I don’t quite remember my particular motives (power, money?), but I thought I was well placed in London to distribute such a product.

Organising a new batch of flour from the 2013 harvest has been quite straightforward. John Berry, the VON grower at Rufford Farm in Sussex who provided grain for the first run earlier this year, communicated grain availability at a preferential price at the beginning of September and offered as much as we wished for.

After harvest there were a couple of nervous weeks as John waited for the grain to dry. Meanwhile I contacted an organic farm in Suffolk on the off chance that they’d be willing to mill for us. I had no prior connection to this farm but found the contact amenable and they were willing to mill our grain.

flour2By the end of September John Berry had engaged the heater on his drying fan and got the grain dried below the magic 15% moisture threshold. The wheels set in motion, we collected 125kgs of wheat and transported it to Suffolk in a hatchback car. The grain was dropped off conveniently just a few miles from my parents’ house, and collected the week after in large flour sacks. The job done perfectly, a big thanks must go out to Mike and all at Maple Farm Organics, and to John & Denise Berry for growing the wonderful grain!

Our yield is 20 one kilo bags and about 158 half kilo bags. As you can see they look fetching with front and back labels designed between us in London and Manchester.

Test bakes with the Rufford Farm flour produced great results. Our first London outlets are Mother Earth health stores in North London  the Black Cat vegan café & shop in Hackney  and market stalls in Leytonstone and Walthamstow run by Organiclea.

We didn’t expect a wheat grown with no chemical assistance would perform so well with modern quick-yeast bread making, but the flour turned out a unique loaf with no crumbling and a lovely moistness which may be due to its freshness. Sourdough bread was equally satisfactory as were the delicious cakes.

flour3Establishing this product in stores has strong potential for expanding VON’s membership. GGI is a quality publication backed up by a range of printed and visual media, giving vegan organics an accessible body of knowledge with lively material on a variety of subjects. Exposure to a range of people buying food consciously and ethically enables us to give more people the opportunity to support and benefit from VON’s work.

Ask for veganically grown flour and other items when you shop. With the exceptions above it is most unlikely they will have any . You can then ask the manager if they will ask their suppliers for food veganically grown. You can refer them to VON if they query this.

 

Squash & Pumpkin Festival at Hardwick

Not-to-be-missed Squash & Pumpkin Festival at Hardwick 27 October 2013

by Rose TolhurstThe Squash & Pumpkin Festival at Hardwick is a community event, hosted by Tolhurst Organic, on Sunday 27 October, from 11 am to 5pm. Free admission for walkers and cyclists.

Says Iain Tolhurst, renowned organic grower “The first edition of the Squash & Pumpkin Festival at Hardwick will be a community effort with social aims in the local area. The festival will celebrate the harvest and splendour of the season, with an exhibition of large pumpkins and most beautiful squash, and sales of the best local foods in the area”.

Festival visitors will be offered an improvised farmers’ market, craft stalls, food and drinks, as well as guided tours of historic Hardwick House, only open at special occasions.
This is an interactive event, where visitors will make the things happen, by entering the Carved and Biggest Pumpkin and Best in Show Squash competitions, by showing off in their best Autumn dress, by rolling pumpkins up and down and by singing along.

Local businesses will benefit, too, by selling their best ware and community groups will contribute through their volunteers and stands.

We aim at “zero-waste” targets, by recycling and reusing all unused items.

With a successful first-time (pilot) festival, Tolhurst Organic hope to establish the event as an annual tradition at the farm.

The Festival is made possible with the kind support from Vegan Organic Network www.veganorganic.net and a small grant from the Chilterns AONB Conservation Board www.chilternsaonb.org

S&P Festival FINAL

by Tamara Schiopu

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