Rich Hardy From Undercover Journalist to Vegan Farmer

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Visit to Rich Hardy in Cornwall where he shows us how he’s turned half an acre of land into a small scale 100% veganic veg box scheme

Free tickets

Rich Hardy, Lazy Meadow Farm

From Undercover Journalist to Vegan Farmer

For two decades I lived a double-life.

And with the help of a hidden camera, some water-tight cover stories and a little luck I traversed the globe working undercover to document the damage factory farming was doing to the planet and the billions of suffering animals used to feed and clothe us. My images and testimony helped shape some pioneering legislation and were used by global animal charities to generate hard-hitting media exposés. But while it helped create change and promoted vegan lifestyles, it came at a bit of a personal cost.

Burnt out and in need of a change I turned to growing. Partly to help heal my soul a little after what I had witnessed but also as a challenge to the cruel factory farming model that growing food needn’t involve animal suffering or be so destructive. So, with my partner Pru, and taking an activist-inspired approach, we’ve set up a vegan farm in Cornwall that is half-way through its first season. Using veganic techniques and operating under a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model we harvest weekly and deliver veg boxes in and around Falmouth, Redruth and Truro.

Cherry and Dan from VON went to visit Rich on his land this summer to see how he was getting on in his first year as a veganic farmer.

Free tickets

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

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

Green Manures for Healthy Soils and Crops Seminar

Hungarian grazing rye, one of my favourite green manures as it forms a solid cover & keeps the soil structure together in winter rain

Iain Tolhurst has been a practising organic vegetable producer for over 37 years, one of the original pioneers of the organic movement in the UK. He is internationally renowned and has taught organic systems in many parts of the world. The wonderful highly acclaimed organic farm on the beautiful Hardwick Estate that he runs is the main tool in the practical learning exercise.

Lunch is for many a highlight of the day, as much as possible of the food is from the farm with everything including the tea and coffee being organic. The day starts and ends with tea/coffee/biscuits and you will find great company to chat with, in a beautiful environment.

The seminar starts at 10am and lasts for 6 hours, including lunch. Cost is £55 + VAT. Discounts apply.

More information:

Monday, 21 October 2013, 10 am – 4pm Green Manures for Healthy Soils and Crops

Horticultural crop systems make heavy demands on soil fertility and soil sustainability, often requiring large amounts of inputs to support fertility due to excessive nutrient losses and crop off-take. Better use of green manure systems can make dramatic improvements to soil fertility and structure, enabling a more viable and productive system whilst dramatically reducing inputs as well as enabling a more self-sustaining system. The workshop explores the way in which green manures can be integrated into cropping through modified rotations.

To see more details and to book visit our dedicated page on Eventbrite: http://greenmanureswithiaintolhurst.eventbrite.co.uk/