Report – ‘Growing Food Locally’ 8th March 2012

MOVE ALL BELOW THIS TO THE REPORTS OF MEETINGS PAGE, can this be one drop down page per report?

Firstly we showed two short films about ‘food miles’ and ‘waste’. We throw away an incredible THIRD of what we buy, that’s 6.7 million tonnes a year! The top of the list is potatoes 359,000 tonnes, bread 328,000 tonnes and apples 190,000 tonnes. One quarter of what we throw away is still in it’s original packaging. To see the short film we showed:

On ‘food miles’ we found out that apples from the USA travel 3,675 miles, grapes from Chile 7,165 miles and new potatoes from Israel 2,212.

Incidentally potatoes from Israel are grown in the desert from seed potatoes shipped from Scotland, they need constant water which comes from an underground source or the Nile, and fertilisers. They pack the potatoes in peat extracted from bogs in Ireland to be shipped back to the UK, a round trip of 11,500 miles.  Next time you buy potatoes check where they are produced and If you want to know more:

We then showed a film made by Transition Forest Row ‘Growing Food Locally’. Apart from it being wonderfully sunny there,  they are lucky to have a couple of small farms locally, including a dairy herd. They have also established a community owned farm, as well as having a garden share scheme. In 2009 they produced a local food directory. They have tried to estimate how much basic food stuffs the village needed.  They are all very committed to trying to make Forest Row as self reliant as possible in food. If you missed the film:

After the films we discussed what will happen when inevitably the price of oil goes up dramatically increasing prices of food shipped to the UK from around the world.  How could we produce, source and buy more local food? We had various ideas including:

  • Making directory of local foods and producers
  • Starting a community garden for growing friut & veg and as a community centre for socials and education
  • Setting up a food swap system for when we have excess produce
  • Cropping for the local shops to sell
  • Mapping fruit trees across the village

Phew! We have lots of ideas but we could do with more help to get off them off  the ground! If you would like to help with any of these projects, or have some ideas of your own,  please do get in touch with us. Or come along to our next meeting 12th April, 7.30pm at the APMH. We are showing a film made by David Attenborugh ‘ The Truth About Climate Change’.

Open Meetings

THIS NEEDS TO BE IN THE EVENTS PAGE AND NOT HERE

Regular Open meetings, 2nd Thursday of every month starting 9th February. 7.30pm – 9pm.  The Marshall Room, Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall.

FREE ENTRY, although donations welcome to cover our costs. We look forward to seeing you, please look at the Events page for details of the topic for each meeting.

 

Apple Day report

MOVE TO REPORT OF EVENTS PAGE, ON A SEPARATE DROP DOWN PAGE

We had a fantastic response to the Apple Day. Within the first hour we had filled one builders bag, and we rushed off to get a second one! By the end of the day we had filled two, our estimate was we had about half a ton. Everyone was amazingly generous donating their extra apples and paying in advance for the bottled juice, this has enabled us to be able to pay for the juicing and bottling of about 300 litres. We also had the demonstration press, kindly loaned by Epsom Apples, which was great fun and showed the process of chopping, crushing and pressing – the resulting juice was yummy. David Gillott, Four Gables Fine Dining, had a delicious selection of their produce and hampers, I was very impressed that as well as keeping ducks and using the eggs, they grow mushrooms here in Ashtead. Thank you to everyone who helped make the day such a great success.

Today I drove the van rather slowly to Ringden Farm in Kent. We chose to take them there as it was closer than Moor Organic Juicers as they do not need a minimum of a ton. Ringden Farm have their own orchards, they say it has been an amazing year for apples and they have never been so busy. The heavy builders bags were forked lifted out of the van and tipped into 2 big wooden crates. The juice will be ready to collect  and buy (£2.50/Ltr) in about 4 weeks. I am really looking forward to sampling our juice, and having such a local produce to give away as presents. Ringden Farm also make cider, so next year we could have Ashtead Apple Cider!

 

         

Vegetables replace flowers in Ashtead planters!

Planting the 'Village Vegetables' on Derby Day

Caroline Cardew-Smith and Chris Ellis, leading members of Transition Ashtead, were so inspired by the ‘Incredible Edible’ project in Todmorton, that they decided they wanted to do the same for Ashtead’s community and plant ‘Village Vegetables’. They approached the MVDC and the Ashtead Street Traders association with their idea of planting vegetables instead of the usual bedding flowers in the raised planters in The Street. Both were keen to support the project, especially as Transition Ashtead provided all the plants for free, most of which they had grown from seed.

On Derby day instead of going to the races, volunteers armed with trowels, forks and watering cans planted out the vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. They included runner beans, tomatoes, sweetcorn, strawberries, leeks and a variety of herbs and companion flowers to provide colour and attract the bees and pollinating insects.

The idea is that when it’s ready to pick, residents can help themselves to the produce. On a lunch break? Just pop out and get a couple of fresh tomatoes to go with your sandwich; coming home late and shops closed? Pick a handful of runners and a few herbs to have with supper!

Transition Ashtead are hoping to inspire us to think about our food buying choices, particularly for fresh food. The ‘Where, When and How’ is it grown? To consider the real environmental costs of production, packaging and transport, and the importance of ‘growing your own’, and buying seasonal produce grown as locally as possible. With a little bit of imagination, some hard work and commitment, they hope to show we can change where we get our fresh food from, provide local jobs, help save energy and preserve the environment.

Transition Ashtead is very grateful for the practical help of the traders, particularly Emma at Sweet Lavender Flowers, The Brewery Pub and The Ashtead Village Club, who made the project possible by generously allowing the Team to fill their watering cans.

Lots of watering

I forgot my gloves!

Armed with marigolds...

Talk about Honey Bees

 Transition Ashtead’s next Open Meeting is a talk by a local bee keeper. Andrew Barnett will come and share his passion for honey bees, explain all about keeping bees, and their importance for pollination and the environment. Andrew has been keeping bees for over 8 years and is a member of the Epsom Bee Keepers Association. He has lots of stories to tell, many very funny, about his experience as a bee keeper.

I will be there to answer any questions you may have about being a ‘bee host, as we have had one of Andrew’s bee hives in our garden for the last two years. There will also be local ‘Barnett Wood Lane’ Honey for sale!

The Ashtead Village Club in the Street (opposite the bus stop) have kindly given us the upstairs area for our meeting, please get yourself a drink at the bar downstairs and join us at 8pm on Monday 9th May.

Apples galore at apple pressing…

A big THANK YOU to all of you who brought apples down to the first Transition Ashtead apple pressing at the Craft Fair today!

Thanks also to George of Epsom Apples for the loan of the equipment. We were absolutely overwhelmed with apples to start with but everyone soon pitched in to help with apple chopping, chomping and pressing and we had quite a production line going. Apologies if you had to wait for your juice but the demand was huge!

During the day, we processed an amazing 150kgs of fruit and produced something like 60 litres of fresh juice, all thanks to your enthusiastic help.

It was  a lovely communal activity, with lots of youngsters (young and old) taking turns to turn the wheel on the chomper and push the pole on the presser, burning up lots of energy and making lots of  juice pour out of the apple mash. And the apple-chopping team kept the supply flowing, with many a cry of “More apples please! ” Well done one and all!

I think we might do it all again next Autumn…

Turn your apple into apple juice

apples imageHave you got lots of apples on your trees?

Are you wondering what to do with them all?

Come to the Craft Fair at Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall on Saturday 9th October 10am to 3pm, bring a bag of clean apples and a empty bottle and get freshly pressed apple juice! We will charge a small fee for the pressing and you will receive about a fifth of the weight of your apples as juice.

Hope to see you there!

Garden Share information Event

Come and ask us about Garden Sharing at Ashtead Park Garden Centre, on Wednesday 16th june, 6-8

Have you got a large garden with space to spare?

Do you want to grow your own food but have no garden?

Ashtead Garden Share aims to put people who have spare garden space in touch with people who want to grow their own food. The idea is very simple – people with gardens they cannot manage, offer to share them with people who would like to grow food but have nowhere to grow.

The grower gets a free allotment, and the owner gets a share of the tasty produce grown in their garden.

Come along to Ashtead Park Garden Centre on Wednesday 16th June between 6 and 8pm and ask us all about Garden Sharing! Participate in the FREE RAFFLE – prizes on show at this event.  There will also be local honey for sale and a honey bee expert there who would love to chat to you about bees and bee hosting. Don’t know what bee hosting is? Come along and find out!

We hope to see you there!

Plant sale at Barnett Wood School

Transition Ashtead will be having a stall at the Barnett Wood School Plant sale on Sunday 16th May between 1pm and 3pm.

It is held in the school playground.  You can buy fruit, vegetables, annuals and perennials at the sale.

We will have some plants for sale and information about Transition Ashtead Garden Share.

Come for a chat and a browse!

Ashead Garden Share Information event

Ashtead Garden Share

Come and ask us about Garden Sharing at Ashtead Park Garden Centre, on Saturday 1st May, 12-4pm

Have you got a large garden with space to spare?

Do you want to grow your own food but have no garden?

Ashtead Garden Share aims to put people who have spare garden space in touch with people who want to grow their own food. The idea is very simple – people with gardens they cannot manage, offer to share them with people who would like to grow food but have nowhere to grow.

The grower gets a free allotment, and the owner gets a share of the tasty produce grown in their garden.

Come along to Ashtead Park Garden Centre on May 1st and ask us all about Garden Sharing!

We hope to see you there!

phone: Derek Smith on 01372 378914  for more details