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

Northern Vegan Festival was a huge hit!

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The Vegan Organic Network at the Northern Vegan Festival Saturday 13th April 2013

Helpers: Dan, Cherry, Izaak, Danny, Jill, Roger, Jane, Kirsch, Andy, Lima and David

A lot of preparation went into our stall for this event: Cherry made a juice and smoothie sign, Jane and David went to Penrith to have our stockfree organic grain milled, Jane made some delicious pasties which sold out on the day and all the fruit and veg etc had to be purchased.

A number of companies were generous with donations, UK Juices gave us a great little juicer which a lot of people were interested in, Pulsin and Yaoh supplied us with free protein powder and Koko gave us a good supply of coconut milk.

One could say the event was too successful, 2 500 people came through the doors and people had to wait in a queue that went round Sachas hotel, and a number of people gave up on queuing. The event organizers Roddy and Kelly sent out food and refreshments to those waiting to get in. Next year they will be looking at getting a much bigger venue and VON will be involved in helping to organize the Manchester 2014 Vegan Festival.

Our stall was busy all day with people wanting juice and smoothies from beginning to end, we signed up new members and lots of people left their names for more information.

The VON helpers worked hard, after helping on the stand Jill gave a yoga lesson to a packed class.  Izaak, Danny and Cherry were great from beginning to end, helping to set up the stall the night before and taking it down after the event.

Each Vegan event we attend is getting bigger every year, more people are becoming veggie and fewer animals are being killed as a result.

Manchester Vegan Festival 1


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Brighton VegFest 2013 Sat 16th and Sun 17th


Cherry, Izaak and moi set off on Friday afternoon from Manchester, although we did want to be ec

o as possible we didn’t ride the Trike all the way, in fact it was only from the back of the van into the lift at Hove Town Hall.

We set up the stall on Saturday, drilled the last few holes in the VON sign and just got it together for the 11am start.

Saturday was not as busy as Sunday, it was estimated that over 7 000 people attended over the two days. The mill proved to be a good attraction, with people milling thei

r own Stockfree Organic Flour – the first product ever to display our

symbol. The mill was generously don

ated by junior Wondermill (it cost over £200 to buy).

vf10We noticed that it was the older generation that persevered with the grinding (it’s all in the hips), a lot of young people didn’t seem to be accustomed to using a bit of elbow grease, for the youngsters we’re thinking about making the mill pedal powered.

On Saturday afternoon VON was in the programme to do a workshop on milling (which had only arrived a few days before the event), as the workshop space was several floors from our stall,I decided to do a talk on Vegan Organics, which a number of people attended and all joined VON after the discussion.

Thanks to John and Ziggy who helped out on Sunday, they brought along a number of books and merchandise all on their trolley. Izaak and Cherry were a great help from beginning to end; loading, unloading, putting up the stand, giving out leaflets and talking to people at the stall.


Fun was had by vf3all and hopefully we will see a number of faces at the Cornwall Vegan Gathering 17th-20th August and the Snowdon Vegan weekend 27th, 28th July.

Please let me know if you would like to help out at the Northern Vegan Festival in Manchester on 13th April, we will be selling cakes as well as giving out information; any cake contributions are more than welcome.


This Saturday in Manchester and the following Saturday there is a vegan free food give away, lots of yummy food donated by Vegan food companies to promote the Northern Vegan Festival 13th April.

We are meeting at 12midday on Market St outside Holland and Barrett or if it’s raining under cover outside Boots.

Hope to see you soon!

Dan Graham

New One Day Training Courses

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New One Day Training Courses @ Debdale Eco Centre & Hulme Community Garden Centre

Plotting the Future

This introductory course is for anyone who is interested in Organic Gardening.  Participants will learn the basics of organic food growing and how to grow fruit and vegetables organically.

The course will cover:

  • Getting Started – How to get your area ready for planting
  • Your Soil – Understand different types of soil and how to make the most of it for your growing
  • Planning your patch – How to encourage biodiversity and sustainability
  • Organic Vegetable Growing – From the very basic seed sowing and propogation techniques to more advanced vegetable growing for the trickier vegetables
  • Organic Fruit Growing – How to grow fruit in small spaces
  • Maintaining and developing your produce – How to look after, harvest, and store your produce


Who is this course for?

We offer tailored versions of this course, that are aimed towards:

  • Local residents across Manchester, Stockport and Tameside
  • New and prospective allotment holders
  • Housing or residents associations
  • Allotment holders – The allotment course sessions are primarily geared for new allotment holders to give them the confidence, skills and knowledge to maintain a sustainable, productive and well kept plot. However, we find that existing plot holders also like to attend this course as a refresher and that they do still learn something new.

Length of the courses: We run a one day course programme and also a 6 week course programme across both sites.

Next Courses – All one day courses

Tuesday 26th February @ Hulme Community Garden Centre

Friday 1st March @ Debdale Eco Centre

Friday 15th March @ Debdale Eco Centre

All Couses run from 10am – 4pm and cost £25 per person. If you recieve benefits there is a reduced cost of £5 (evidence needed)

For more information and for booking details please contact Marva for the Debdale Courses @ marva@debdale-ecocentre.org.uk or phone 0161 220 9199 and for courses held at Hulme please contact Katherine @ thetrainer@hulmegardencentre.org.uk or phone 0161 868 0821.

Debdale Address
Debdale Eco Centre, Debdale Park, 1075 Hyde Rd, Gorton, Manchester. M18 7LJ

Hulme Address
Hulme Community Garden Centre, Old Birley Street, Hulme, Manchester. M15 5RG

Rufford Farm Visit

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Vegan group gathering. Herewith details;
Sunday 7th April 2013 at 2 p.m.
Rufford Farm, Hobbs Lane, Beckley, East Sussex TN31 6 TU
SPRING IS IN THE AIR – Come and celebrate with spring flowers and a mock Provencal lunch.
RSVP 01797 260610 or 07761679001 or e-mail j.berry.316@btinternet.com

If poss would like whoever comes to bring something to share foodwise.
Can provide details of public transport if required.