A Distribution Venue?

The DCF needs somewhere from which to distribute the farm and food hub produce from early June onwards. Distribution day, when members come to collect their produce, will likely be a Wednesday or a Thursday and will involve four to five hours. For this year’s pilot project we are hoping to find a place that is both central to Diss and free.

Do any members have a space they could offer? An empty garage or a covered area with easy access? We would also like suggestions from members of possible commercial venues who would welcome involvement with the food community, and who might even profit from it–a coffee shop, for example. We have a few ideas, but would like more, so please email yours to Penelope at pnlister@gmail.com.

Farm Work Day – Sat 16th April

Come and join us for the 2nd Farm Work Day, there’s lots to do.  The forecast is currently suggesting it will be dry for most of the day.  You can bring your lunch or eat in the pub near the field.

We will be preparing a base for the shed that has been donated to us, fencing in a section for salad, clearing wheat that has regrown, sowing seeds for salad.  Possibly cutting lengths of pipe for supporting netting and fleece if we can get the pipe on site for Saturday.  Tools you might need: spade, fork, trowel, rake, hoe, gloves, loppers, wire cutters, hacksaw.

We’ll start at 10am and go home when we’ve had enough, come and join us for all or some of the day.

Diss Community Farm Cream Tea

I’m carefully trying to avoid gushing so I do apologise if I inadvertently stray into the gushosphere – but I can’t help it, it was a glorious afternoon! Spring sunshine, cream teas on the lawn, children gamboling happily (actually my husband was gamboling happily too) If pushed to critique, maybe a glass of Pinot Grigio would have topped things off nicely but I always was high maintenance.

It wasn’t all cakes and fun though, we did manage to get down to some actual Farm business too. Perhaps most significantly, the constitution was voted in and the committee confirmed as follows: Ange and Gary as joint Chairs, Jeff Lamb as Secretary and Claire Mitchell as Treasurer. As a result, the financial side of the project could spring into action and the first membership fees were taken.

Gabbi reported on the Veg Pilot project. Seeds have been sown and potting on is on the list for the next Farm work day on 16th April. Further materials are needed though, can you donate any of the following: Guttering, a water butt, bean poles (about 500 in total!), blue water pipes, chicken wire and use of a trailer to transport a half tonne tractor to the veg plot in Winfarthing. Gabbi works on the plot every Monday, she plans to draw up a list of jobs which need to be done and post them on this website every Friday so everyone can see what needs to be done the following Monday and (hopefully) turn up to help. Gabbi also emphasised that the nature of a pilot project is experimental, at this stage there are no guarantees on the size of the crop that will be available for the veg shares. The pilot will give us a more accurate idea of how much veg we can hope to get from a given size of land. She also thanked David and Yvonne Mitchell for the loan of the land, providing water and toilets!

Leeanne updated everyone on the Livestock Project. As previously reported on the blog, we have secured 2.5 acres of woodland behind Tesco, this will give the pigs a nice shaded area where they can enjoy a natural lifestyle, rooting among the trees etc. At this stage we can’t afford organic feed but we will be using high quality GM free feed. We’ll also have some geese, not only to scare away intruders but hopefully to raise goslings for Christmas. Everyone who signs up for a meat share will be very welcome to come and work with the pigs, we are hoping to set up an on-line diary system where people can sign up for feeding times etc We haven’t decided on the breed yet but we may choose a commercial pig as they’re fast growing which would work well with a pilot scheme. It’s hoped that we’ll get the pigs at the beginning of June so the meat will be available roughly at the beginning of December. We would also like to organise a sausage making day at some point where members will be able to work with a butcher and use their own pork to make their own recipe sausages.

Gary reported on the Food Hub and I notice he’s already updated the blog with the results of the survey which was handed out. He also confirmed that small growers such as allotment holders will be able to contribute their surplus produce to the Hub, perhaps to exchange for other goods although these details haven’t been confirmed yet. He stressed the need to continue with plans to find DCF a permanent home once the pilot projects are over.

So that’s it, a busy and informative day. For anyone who couldn’t make it yesterday but still wants to sign up for a supportive membership or a veg/meat share, all the necessary forms and details are available here, plus copies of our fundraising booklet ‘A Taste of Spring’ are also still available for purchase. (Apologies for the length of this post by the way)

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UEA Cafe Conversations: Sustainable Food Systems

Claire from the communications team has spotted this event and wonders if anyone from DCF would be interested in attending

Aladdins Cafe 3 Magdelen Street, Norwich. 01603 591109. s.barna@uea.ac.uk
Sustainable Food Systems: Can Farming be Green? Tom Powell, Melanie Bennett, School of Bological Sciences. With growing populations and diminishing resources, sustainable agriculture and food security are top priorities globally. How can this be achieved?

This Friday, 15th April. 15:00 – 16:00pm. Free of charge.”

Full details here

Food Hub Meeting

For those who may not know, the Food Hub is the part of DCF which is hoping to offer Farm members a variety of food from local suppliers in addition to produce we grow ourselves. As well as DCF members, Karen Nerthercott from Samphire and Mariam Meiracker from the Health Food Shop in Diss attended.

The first item on the agenda was the type of food that should be offered by the Hub. It was decided that the wider DCF membership should be canvassed on April 10th for their opinions.

The Group also discussed the potential impact of DCF on local food businesses as we clearly want to foster positive relations locally. Further research will be carried out with existing CSAs to see how they have tackled this problem.

The exact form of the Hub, ie, which suppliers we would do business with and how their wares will be distributed was discussed but no firm conclusions have yet been reached. Ange has suggested including more local food producers at the planning stage will help to ensure a model is reached that works for both DCF and the producers.

A full copy of the Hub minutes are available on the Diss Food Community page.

Constitution

We finally have a constitution in place: DCF Constitution, this will be voted on at the gathering at Roydon Village Hall this Sunday (3pm)

There is also updated information on membership on the website, so if you’re considering joining then please have a read, follow the link below, or click on the ‘Membership’ page.  Remember to bring cash or a cheque book if you want to become a member.  http://dissfoodcommunity.wordpress.com/membership/

There will be more info to follow on membership for those who wish to purchase meat from DCF.  See you Sunday for a catch up and homemade cream teas.

DCF Membership application form

First Full Communications Team Meeting

One of the functions of this blog is to keep everyone working on, or interested in, DCF updated with how our work is progressing. With this in mind, I’m hoping to publish a summary of each group meeting as it takes place. This should enable Groups to see what everyone else is working on, prevent duplicated work, identify where they need to work together and where they impact on each other.

The Communications team met at Claire Appleby’s house last week. Here’s a whistlestop tour of our discussions:

  • We’re hoping to come up with a logo for the Farm. Patrick’s working on some ideas at the moment but input from anyone else who’s interested would be welcome, there’ll be a more detailed post about that in the near future.
  • We feel some work is needed on the blog such as working up a more formal mission statement, adding a few useful features etc We’re going to write up our ideas and hopefully discuss them with the Core Team.
  • We’ve done a small amount of work on promoting the Cream Tea but the tight timescale meant we were limited in what we could do.
  • Thoughts are being organised around producing a newsletter. Carol Kirkup is happy to sponsor initial, smallscale production in return for advertising for her B&B business. Other businesses in the group may wish to do the same.

A full copy of the minutes is available on the ‘Diss Community Farm’ section of this website.

Cream Tea

As everyone (hopefully!) already knows, Diss Community Farm are holding a Homemade Cream Tea next Sunday, 10th April 3pm at Roydon Village Hall. It’ll be a fun family event with an Easter Egg competition for the kids, calorific treats and DCF news updates for all.

Please could everyone help us to publicise the event by printing off the attached poster and putting it up in every (legal) nook and cranny we can find!

10 april poster

Project Piggy

The livestock pilot project has moved on apace and is now tantilisingly close to becoming a reality. The land we were previously offered on Darrow Lane has, unfortunately, fallen through but we’ve secured an alternative agreement to house pigs on the small woodland behind Tesco. Plans are in hand to build a pig ark, get fencing erected, register ourselves with Defra and organise the guard geese.

Yes, guard geese.

The only downside of this plot of land is it’s historical use by local teens for nefarious activities I don’t wish to dwell too deeply upon. Persuading them to move on hasn’t been easy and we know they have no compunction with regard to stealing hens and their housing. The landowner has therefore agreed to re-enforce the fencing and, hopefully, a small flock of bitey geese will fortify the barricades.

We’re currently a relatively small group, potentially with a big work load, so if anyone wishes to join us, please let us know. There will be a financial outlay of some description but we haven’t worked out the details yet. We are attending the Cream Tea on 10th April (it’s now confirmed we will definitely be doing a presentation) so come and talk pork with us.