Still growing and taking on new members!

After the success of our pilot veg growing and livestock projects we’ve had a very busy start to the year planning how to expand and develop Diss Community Farm.  The good news is, we’re taking on new members, so if you’re interested in joining us then please get in touch, email Sue Pitt, our new membership secretary dcfmembers@yahoo.co.uk 

From Spring last year through till mid December members of the farm collected a weekly share of the vegetable produce that was harvested from our site at Winfarthing.  Our professional grower Gabbi Reid and some of the VegShare members worked hard to ensure that our weekly shares were made up of some delicious and varied veg; sweetcorn, broad beans, sprouting broccoli, french beans, mixed salad leaves, herbs, potatoes, carrots, spinach, parsnips, I could go on…  there has been an abundance of quality veg.  The vegetables were harvested and delivered to Roydon Village Hall each week by a team of dedicated members that turned out come rain or shine!

We’ve had some great social events and some fun farm work days, where members were invited to get involved with jobs like sowing seed, potting on, planting out, watering, weeding.  Even weeding can be fun when it’s done with a good group of friends!  Farm works days have been a good way for members to get to know each other and for us all to learn new skills from our experienced organic grower.  It’s been like having the rewards of an allotment but without demanding the same time commitment or needing any prior knowledge to make it a success.

The first livestock rearing project has been completed with the four Gloucester Old Spot pigs being taken for slaughter at the end of January.  Members are now looking forward to receiving their quarter of a pig.  This part of the project was made possible after another local community project, Kadesh allowed us to share their site in Palgrave.  We were also helped by Saffron Community Foundation whose grant allowed us to purchase the equipment we needed to get started.  We are looking forward to celebrating our success with a pork feast where members will bring a dish made from the animals we reared.  There are plans to ensure that little goes to waste by using as much of the animal as possible, the trotters, heart, liver and even the whole head.  Once members have had a chance to enjoy the flavoursome DCF pork we will come together to make plans for our next project. What will the future hold? Will it be pork? Rose Veal? Honey? Turkeys for Christmas? Duck eggs? There are lots of options to explore and the decisions will be made by members existing and new, get in touch if you want to be involved.

Over the past year members have really enjoyed being able to have really fresh and local veg that is grown according to organic principles and locally reared meat that is raised to a high standard of welfare.  Even though volunteering isn’t compulsory many have enjoyed being directly involved with the growing and rearing and have brought their children or grandchildren to the farm to help them get a better understanding of where the food they eat comes from.  Several of our members have only recently moved to the area and have found involvement in the farm a wonderful way to get to know people in the community.  All members have appreciated that getting veg from Diss Community Farm has enabled them to reduce the environmental impact of the food they consume as the produce has very few food miles, no packaging and has been grown without artificial fertilisers or chemical pesticides.

We are really excited to be making plans to expand into the larger plot that we have in Winfarthing, where we are hoping to have one or more poly tunnels to enable us to extend the growing season which will give us an even wider variety of produce.  We were recently successful in our application for funding from Diss Town Council to purchase new hand tools for members to use when they’re out on site.  We are now looking at ways to raise funds for a rotavator to make the 1 and 1/2 acres that we will be cultivating more manageable.  

We have put together a 20 minute presentation about Diss Community Farm for those that want to learn more, or would like to become members or support us, so if you are part of local club, group, school or business then let us know if you would like us to visit and give a presentation.

If you like the sound of being part of Diss Community Farm then please get in touch with our membership secretary Sue Pitt,  dcfmembers@yahoo.co.uk  You can also find out more about us from our website http://www.disscommunityfarm.wordpress.com 

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