Celebrating Local Food

Spring GrowTavi at Maristow Walled Gardens

Grow Tavi is a community forum to discuss all aspects of local food production, supply and consumption and is a joint initiative from TaVi, Transition Tavistock and Tamar Grow Local.

Jenny Tunley Price is hosting Spring Grow Tavi
o Maristow Walled Gardens.
o Thurs. 11th April : come along from 17.30
o Soup, bread and cakes available
Get together, exchange news and views on sowing, growing, producing and consuming our local food … from our own gardens, on a bigger scale or as a consumer!
o Come and see Jenny’s progress at Maristow.
o Join a discussion on training fruit trees … and other topics
o Mini flyer and directions attached (or see www.transitiontavistock.org.uk)

Plants or seeds you’d like to swop? Bring them along.
Jenny has … lots of grazing ryecorn and Broad Bean ‘Witkiem Manita’. Also lots of perpetual spinach seedlings and Swiss chard seedlings; and a few Sempervivums in about 8 varieties. She may also have some Oca and Skirret later in the month; and potentially some Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, some Stipa gigantea plus some snowdrops (variety unknown but a little bit taller than the average).
Jenny wants … any prunings of apples (pretty much any variety) that she could use as scion material for the 80 rootstocks she’s got. Surplus raspberry canes/strawberry runners/cuttings from soft fruits/chunks of rhubarb crowns would be very welcome too, as would hops and vine cuttings. Jenny would also like to build a collection of figs so if anyone’s got varieties other than ‘Brown Turkey’ she could have cuttings of, she would love you forever.
Any ornamentals (as plants/seeds/cuttings) unless they’re boring or invasive would be nice. Spare annual seeds would be useful to fill gaps in newly dug ground while she gets perennials established. In other words, pretty much anything will find a home at Maristow Walled Gardens one way or another (except for Alchemilla mollis and Hemerocallis fulva)!
kate.royston@transitiontavistock.org.uk (07969-569-444) or simon@tamargrowlocal.org (07887-983-143).
Directions can be downloaded here.
There is limited parking close to the gardens and it is recommended to park at the boathouse (unless you have mobility issues or lots to carry). There will be signs in place.
Stout shoes are also recommended!

Producer market a great success at Tavistock College!

On Thursday evening, 7th February, Tamar Grow Local (TGL), Tavistock College and Transition Tavistock held a joint event at the Octagon Centre, Tavistock Community College opened by Helen Salmon (TC Head). It was TGL’s first Producer Market in Tavistock. We hope the first of many. TGL’s Simon Platten also launched their buying group programme. The pilot group will be in Tavistock. Simon “The producers all felt it had been a worthwhile and enjoyable evening, and we have enough people signed up to enable us to start the Buying Group. An excellent outcome”.

Transition Tavistock held their speed-AGM and shared highlights from 2012 including : arrival of the car club car (www.e-cocars.com); birth of the Inner Transition Group; the Energy Savers at Home programme; launch of the SW Devon Community Energy Partnership with other community groups from across the area; and the Energy Quizmas tree!

Helen Harris, Tavistock College, inspired us with the work she is doing at the college to encourage more growing … of plants and animals. The ambition is to provide fruit and vegetables to the college kitchen this year from the college’s own allotments. Helen also introduced the developing Forest school programme run by Andy Jerrett.

The evening was rounded off by Jenny Tunley-Price who demonstrated how to use the TGL food mapping tool (http://www.foodmap.tamargrowlocal.org/). Do you have a favourite local producer that’s not there? Let us know (transitiontavistock@gmail.com).

We’d like to thank the producers, Simon and Jenny for their time and their wares, and all those that came along from far and wide including Joddy Edwards from Sustainable South Brent (see their community wind turbine project at www.sbces.org.uk) and Paul Sousek from Transition North Cornwall and Cottage Farm.

If you’d like to get more involved, know more or join us at Green Drinks check out www.transitiontavistock.org.uk. We’re also getting groups together to see if we can design and manage a part of the Meadows; and form a community wood fuel group if this is of interest.

Producers were the Cornish Crisp Company, Cotehele Mill, Tamar Valley Apple Juice, Brilliant Fish, Freedrange Farm and Tamar Grow Local’s mixed produce.

Introducing a new Producer Market … and more
Tamar Grow Local, Tavistock College and Transition Tavistock are working together to introduce you to Tavistock’s newest producer market together with inspiring presentations and discussions.
Where: The Octagon Centre, Tavistock College (Crowndale Road, PL19 8DD)
When: Thursday Feb 7th – 18:45 to 22:00
Cost: No fixed charge although donations will be welcomed!
Refreshments: Drinks and home made cakes and biscuits!
Please join us!

Highlights include:
• A chance to browse or shop at Tamar Grow Local’s (TGL) Producer market

• Meet local food producers (more details below)
• Learn more about what buying locally can mean for you and your family
• Launch of TGL’s new buying group … see how you could benefit … and a chance to sign up!
• An opportunity to have a go at food mapping – see just how many local growers and producers there are around Tavistock and the valley! Who have we missed?
• Want to grow and got no space? Find out how
• Tavistock College goes Incredible Edible
• Find out what’s happening and how you can help
• Transition Tavistock’s successes in 2012 and where we’re heading in 2013
• Working to make Tavistock a resilient community (energy, food, transport, enterprise)

Please bring along your friends and neighbours. The flyer can be downloaded here – please share with anyone who you think might be interested! We look forward to seeing you there!

More details on timing below.

Local producers will include:
Tamar Grow Local with mixed produce including cut flowers, and information on local food projects
Cornish Crisp Company
– Great crisps made in Kelly Bray from local potatoes
Cotehele Mill
– Wholemeal flour ground at Cotehele
Let them eat cake
– Gluten free cakes which include locally sourced vegetables wherever possible (the Augbergine brownies are amazing!)
Green Bank Apples
– Locally pressed and bottled apple juice from small orchards in the Tamar Valley
Brilliant Fish
– Smoked fish, sourced locally where possible
Freedrange Farm
Wonnacott Farm

Programme for the evening (approximate times)
18:45 Market open and refreshments open. We encourage you to come early!
19:15 Transition Tavistock AGM
19:25 Transport & energy highlights
19:30 Local food – an introduction with Jenny Tunley Price and Liz Whitwell
19:35 Tavistock College – the Incredible Edible journey with Helen Harris
19:55 Tamar Grow Local – Producer markets, local buying groups and growing projects with Simon Platten
20:20 Chat to the producers and have a cup of tea and cake!
20:45 Where are all these food producers locally? Have a go at food mapping with Jenny Tunley Price (Maristow Walled Gardens)
21:15 Working together to take local food forward. Plans for 2013. How can you get involved or help? All!
21:30 Last chance to shop and browse or join a discussion group.
22:00 Evening closes

Last years event!!
Local food production and the importance of efficient energy use.
An evening of presentations and discussion at the Parish Rooms, Tavistock at 7pm on Thursday 9th February 2012.

Paul Sousek will be discussing their journey at Cottage Farm (Finalists in the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2011 for Farmer of the Year). Cottage Farm (www.CottageFarmOrganics.co.uk) is a sustainable organic carbon neutral farm powered by renewable energy producing organic beef and lamb. London and local deliveries are by carbon neutral transport.
For more information see Events/Meetings.

Introducing local food produers and local food stories.
Local Food Producers
Tregillis Farm
Providence Farm
Gilead Dairies and their milk

Local Food Stories
Successful Community Organic Potato Growing Initiative

Please get in touch if you have anything you would like to add to this page 

Tregillis Farm.
Tregillis Farm is situated 3 miles South of Launceston.
It is a mixed farm that is in Demeter conversion and has been organic for over 30 years.
One premise of biodynamic food is the link with people and their food, and on this we hope to continue building food-links with our community.
We supply animal feed, meat boxes, and we are increasing the amount of veg and fruit production in the coming years.
Sustainable methods and high environmental standards are always in our work. If you’d like to contact us our email is laura@tregillis.co.uk

Local Food and Providence Farm
Treading lightly on the earth is sometimes really difficult when you just want to stamp your feet in frustration! World leaders are, at this moment (December 2011), meeting to attempt to put together a strategy designed to help to combat the problems that appear to be exacerbating climate change, they are not actually coming to any positive conclusions fast. Meanwhile…… back at the homestead, some people with their feet placed firmly on the ground are doing the very best they can, with the limited power they have, and within the rules and framework governing the 21st Century food culture of over-packaging, ‘use by’, ‘best before’ and other labelling laws (or they may not trade at all) to bring nutritious and health-giving food to their locality, thereby making a positive and voluntary contribution to the very problems being discussed ever so far away by ‘the powers that be’.

It takes two sides to make this happen effectively, the grower, producer, processor working with raw materials to produce something saleable and present those goods in the marketplace, and the customer, consumer, patron, punter, what ever you like to call the ones who are willing to part with money for said goods, thus completing the cycle.

Thank you Tavistock for being home to wonderful people who recognise the value of the small producer with unique artisan goods, and time after time return to support them at the Farmer’s Market helping to turn the wheels of this cycle.

Without you this little Providence Farm would not be……
• supporting rare breeds of cattle, pigs and ducks and their gene pool,

• making a contribution towards elevating the standards of animal welfare in life and the inevitable deaths we omnivores demand.
• maintaining the biodiversity of the wild bird population in the area, which in turn acts as pest control in the garden as well as entertainment.
• creating wild life habitat for butterflies and the insect life that supports the structure beneath the larger fauna.
• growing woodland and hedgerows for more wildlife to thrive in and as a carbon neutral fuel source

…….as a knock on effect of providing good healthy nutritious food for you and your families. Hopefully this mutually supportive form of trading will soon be recognised more widely for its world wide contribution to modern climate change problems as well as it’s local benefits.

Pammy Riggs, Providence Farm (http://www.providencefarm.co.uk/). On 01409 254 421

Successful Community Organic Potato Growing Initiative

Tregillis Farm, 3miles South of Launceston, is a beef and sheep farm that needs to think about the future. It used to be a mixed farm, dairy and-all, in times gone by, but for reasons of economy it has stream-lined along with most others. However, the absolute need for local food is on the horizon and so Tregillis is taking steps to become a mixed farm once more: Poultry, vegetables and fruit are being re-introduced.

This year saw the first of the ‘community supported’ food production ideas by way of potatoes. ‘The Potato Project’ set out to meet the following objectives:
• to try and grow a staple, organically, in bulk and at low cost
• take on new (and old) varieties and see which you prefer, which grows better on the farm?
• collaborate with other people to help with sowing, weeding and harvesting
• fair shares in the harvest, sharing the seed cost, sharing the risk
• linking in with a farm, linking yourself with your food
Everyone involved must be delighted with the up-take by people wishing to be involved – there were 14 ‘shares’ sold and the cost of 0.15 tons of seed potato purchased was shared.

Tregillis is a biodynamic farm and one BD method of blight prevention is to dip the tubers into ‘cowpat pit preparation’ before sowing. The team readily did this – we did half and half to see if there was marked difference …

It was astounding to see what effect on a field a group of people had – the field became buzzing! The rest of the field was down to an arable crop of triticale and peas. The potato plants went along the headland. This is one way that farmsteads produced their staple food in the past – planting a few rows of potato, turnip or swede on the headland of corn.

The potato seed was lovingly sown, and I used a potato ridger (for the first time) to ridge-up and bury the seed – this could have been more successful – our tractor, which is an old one, was wider than the implement was designed for. Nonetheless, potatoes got ridged as best as I could (including some matock work). The next challenge was the weather. It actually did not rain very much in April and germination was slow. On top of this, some germination did not happen at all! due to harsh temperatures in February in the storage warehouse. This affected about 1/8th of the crop.

The dry weather was a set-back for the weeds too! I took the decision that weeding wasn’t needed in July but this could have been because of other work pressures, because really, weeding is always a good idea. And the smaller the weeds the easier it is to weed. So we’ll weed next time!

Harvest time saw another special show of hands and as much enthusiasm for the project was seen now as at the beginning. It was wonderful – over 350kg of potatoes were dug out and equally shared out to all. They were of good quality, which was a relief because the yield was lower than could have been. The varieties were Valor, Ambo and Lady Balfour.

There appeared to be no difference between ‘dipped’ and ‘undipped’ seed – I suppose this was because of the close proximity. Difference was seen in the varieties however, such as Valor having the strongest foliage that was green for the longest time. One action we took to avoiding blight was to place a horse radish plant at each corner of the plot/field. This we did but our badger (I think) population liked the idea as a tasty treat and each plant was dug up, and disappeared soon after.

Anyway, at the end of the day, Tregillis Farm had a tonic from all the land workers who came, and the field soaked up the enthusiasm and energy. It produced, against all the conditions, some fine potatoes, enough for everyone to have a good share of the harvest, get digging in the soil, and save money at the same time.

We now wonder if anyone would like to do a potato project again next year? on a bigger scale perhaps? The future of our food is to reduce food miles and use more sustainable methods. The success of this potato project really highlights that people are ready to take this on, and have the commitment to make it work. The next step is to increase the yield of food per visit, or develop a wider variety of veg. to take away. Many options are there for the coming years and comments and ideas are most welcome.

Special thanks to Pammy Riggs of Providence Farm for coming up with the whole idea!

Laura and Jim Wallwork

Milk from Gilead Dairies
Naturally Wholesome products are produced from livestock reared at Risdon Farm in Devon. The farm was farmed organically since 1999 and is now concentrating on developing its own Naturally Wholesome products, using No Pesticides and No GM Ingredients.
Risdon prides itself on maintaining high standards of animal welfare and is registered with Freedom Food.
If you are local to the Okehampton, Tavistock or Chagford area you can click the ‘Order’ link on their website http://www.risdonenterprises.co.uk/risdondairy to order a regular delivery straight to your doorstep! As well as milk, they also provide cream, cream cheese and eggs (large, medium and misshapes).
GF dairy is a social enterprise supporting Gilead Foundations, a residential rehabilitation centre helping people with a drug and alcohol abuse and related problems.

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