Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Job Vacancy At Norwich FarmShare

Norwich FarmShare, our brand new Community Supported Agriculture scheme based on 2 acres at Hewett School and 5 acres in a field near Postwick, is looking for a part-time grower to join us, producing chemical free veg for 100 members and the Hewett school kitchen every week.
The role will be a supporting one and involves working with the head grower and volunteers. Experience of field scale veg production, both outdoors and in protected cropping, is ideally preferred. Drivers license essential.
The applicant will need to be flexible with their time during the week and throughout the seasons. Hours are negotiable but 3 to 4 days a week will be required from March until October dropping to 1 to 2 days a week in the winter months. £6.08 per hour (with a view to increasing this over time).
Email Laura at lauracreen@gmail.com for more details and a full job description. Application deadline – May 6th. Interviews pencilled in for 11th of May to start mid-June or as soon as possible thereafter.

Please pass this on to anyone you might think would be interested.
Laura Creen
Farm Manager

Friday, April 22, 2011

Latest news round up

Sun 17th April

Rabbits like to eat baby plants. Great for them, not so great for us! Today we 9 dug a trench a spade head deep, a spade head wide, 120m long between the polytunnel and the wooded area on the North side of the site to join it up with the existing fencing at either end. The fencing wire will be curved along the base of the trench and back-filled with soil to make it really hard for the little critters to dig under it. The fence itself will be assembled this week.

More asparagus crowns were planted and some of us even got to take a couple of left overs home. Thank you very much to all that came down in the hot hot April heat. As Laura’s boyfriend Dave would say a good Job jobbed!

Friday April 15th

Today Laura has sown Carrots, Beetroot, Turnips, Radish, Rocket and Peas! These here packets are all the seeds left to sow.

The broad beans and onions are sprouting!

Tuesday 12th April

Asparagus crowns planted today! We bought crowns that are quite advanced( in their growth, I’m not sure they could do an IQ test…) You normally can’t harvest asparagus until its 2nd or 3rd year but Laura thinks we might get a cheeky taste of our own this time next year! So when you’re tucking down into this years steamed asparagus with butter melting over it, just think about how good it will feel to have and taste fresh from our farm next year.

Asparagus if you’ve never tried it has a similar flavour to mushrooms and is good as soup, risotto, in pies or on its own as a side dish or starter.

Thurs 7th April

Greetings FarmShare campers! The plan for today was to skin (put the plastic on) our polytunnel but when we opened the package we found it to be white rather than clear nooooo!!! The company had sent us the wrong plastic! So we instead cracked out our tool belts and tape measures and complete with pencils behind ears, made a start on the door frames.

We decided to make them stable door style so they can open at the top to allow air to circulate whilst keeping the heat in out or open completely to allow anything big to be brought in or out. And any combination in between! Air flow is especially important in the summer otherwise the poly tunnel can get full of condensation and mildew can take hold of our precious plants.

Our polytunnel allows us to start crops early in the season before they are planted out to give them the best fighting chance outside and grow lots of yummy salad throughout the year by harnessing the sun's warmth.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More fun on the farm

Saturday marked another milestone: Our First AGM. No suits and flip charts for us, we had a lovely picnic in the middle of our workday (in the middle of our field) and then discussed a few pressing matters. More to come on that from Tully soon...

We hadn't planned to have a work day, but as I sadly have to report (sob) that our poor tractor isn't very well, Laura decided we really needed to make the most of lots of lovely people coming to the farm and set them to work planting. Between us we sowed 3000 broad beans and then planted 3000 onions. By hand. It's more fun than it sounds.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Some more pictures from the last work day

Here's the dramatic moment that our tractor first drove onto our field:

Jeremy, Tully and Jason get to grips with the composting toilet:

We find a friendly worm:

Laura, Kerry and Dave try to work out what a 45mm Q clamp is (and what to do with it once we find it):

The Polytunnel looking much more together:

Didn't we do well! I'll let you know the date of our next workday as soon as we have it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Introducing your grower...

Greetings Norwich!

I’ve been living in Brundall for a month now and the last boxes are just about unpacked. Before I tell you about how plans are progressing for growing some delicious veg this year, I’d like to take a minute and tell you a bit about myself.

I grew up in Canada and always wanted to travel. So when I finished school I spent four years working and exploring Canada. I then went exploring internationally and spent five years working on traditional wooden square rigged ships or ‘tall ships’ as they’re sometimes known. I moved up the ranks from a deckhand swabbing the decks to the 2nd officer in charge of navigation. While travelling I noticed how many ways there are for people to access food, especially on remote islands, and how precious a commodity a bag of flour or rice can be in other parts of the world.

I moved on land with my boyfriend Dave two years ago, and found work at Abbey Home Farm in Gloucestershire as an apprentice in their 17 hectare fruit and veg patch. My relationship with food has changed immensely since learning how a farm works. I’ve slowly realized that I believe in chemical free food for everyone, and that everyone should be able to know the story behind their food. I’ve realized that eating seasonally can be exciting. The first tomato or pea of the season, it’s their reappearance after a long absence that makes me smile. My long term goal became settling down here in the U.K. with Dave and then setting up a C.S.A. wherever we ended up, but lucky for you in Norwich your C.S.A. found me first.

So what have I been up to in the last month? I’ve walked Postwick and measured her up so that we can make a plan. I’ve taken time to make a crop rotation that is in line with Soil Association standards for Organic production. We’ve received a beautiful new seed drill and ordered our first plants and seeds. I’ve measured up Hewett and created a crop plan for the school site and I’m keeping in touch with the School Group about how we can involve kids in this project. And this past weekend I met some new faces during a work party at Postwick where we all grubbed in together and built our compost loo and polytunnel. The arrival of the tractor on site means that I’ve started preparing ground for plants today. I’ve posted up pictures of the work party and today’s work up on the Norwich Community Agriculture facebook page, have a look.

I look forward to meeting everyone in the coming months, and look forward to delivering our first vegetables. Until then wish us enough sunshine to prepare the ground and then enough rain to make those plants grow!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We name this ship...

Some people who have been involved in the CSA from very early on have formed into a 'marketing group': trying to get our message and the way we put it across exactly right, to help us get the members we need to make the farm a success. We’ve put our heads together for hours and devised a marketing plan, so we know which things we have to do first and which come later- and who is responsible for each piece. The first thing we realised we had to do was find the right name. We were lucky enough to get some free ‘branding’ consultation from Thomas Cowper Johnson to help us navigate these difficult waters, and eventually we all agreed on a name we like:

Norwich FarmShare

This is the new name for our co-operative, which runs both the CSA and the Market Garden at the Hewitt School.

More good news is that William, our Growing Consultant from EAFL, has been working hard to buy all the equipment we needed. Rather wonderfully, he has found us such good deals that we are able to afford 2 extra polytunnels.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Party people!

Last night several of us involved in setting up Norwich's new CSA got together at Erik's house to meet our new grower, Laura, and celebrate her move to Norfolk. It was really nice to meet her and her partner Dave, and hear about her experience working as a grower at Abbey Home Farm, near Cirencester. We wish Laura and Dave all the best, and I'm sure Laura will be along soon to introduce herself!