Community Garden: One Year On

Beetroot in the Community Garden

It’s a little over a year on from the last update on the community garden, and the site is now bursting with life and providing a varied harvest of fresh, tasty, organic produce. Along with the promise of edible goodies, the garden now offers a wonderful aesthetic yield, with an abundance of greenery and the striking pink of peas in bloom.

This week saw the harvest of some crisp and beautiful purple snow peas, and some delicious bright green sugarsnaps, along with huge spring onions, purple garlic and salad greens. A trial crop of salsify – which provides a yield both of striking flowers and an edible tap root known as vegetable oyster – also came out of the ground this week, making way for some new tomato plants.

Some of the beds are so full of produce that it was necessary to thin out the beetroot and carrots, providing an excellent haul of baby root veggies and their nutritious tops. If you’re unsure of what to do with carrot tops, you’re not alone! See below for a an easy way to save these from the compost pile by making use of them in pistou (basically a French version of pesto).

The polytunnel has a queue of new tomato seedlings, which are getting themselves ready for planting out, along with some new lettuces and salad greens, so there will be plenty more to come throughout the summer.

Around the Garden

This Week’s Harvest


Making Use of Carrot Tops

Inspired by Riverford’s Carrot Top Pesto, this vegan-friendly pistou is adapted from the Spinach Pistou recipe in the excellent Peace & Parsnips by Lee Watson (page 333). Thanks Lee and all the folk at Riverford for helping these carrot tops avoid the compost heap and providing a tasty and very nutritious mid-week supper. The quantities below served 3 people generously when stirred into spaghetti.

Ingredients

  • 200g of carrot tops
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 2 handfuls of basil leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • black pepper

Method

  • Toast the hazelnuts in a small pan over a medium heat, until they are toasted on the outside and smell warm and sweet.
  • Put the hazelnuts in a blender or food processor and blitz to a rough crumb.
  • Remove the woodiest parts of the carrot tops, and chop the rest roughly into the blender with the basil leaves, the garlic cloves, a generous couple of grinds of the black pepper, the juice of the whole lemon, and the zest of half of it.
  • Turn on the food processor and mix until the ingredients start to form a rough paste. Then, very gradually and slowly, start pouring in olive oil until you have a thick, rich and smooth paste, which is dark green.
  • Give it a stir and add more oil if necessary, otherwise stir through pasta, or serve with butternut squash gnocchi as Lee does in Peace & Parsnips! Otherwise the pistou will keep in a tupperware in the fridge quite happily for a few days.

The Results

Shown here stirred through spaghetti with charred mushrooms and topped generously with toasted pinenuts.

COMMUNITY FOOD GROWING

The Community Food Growing Project team have worked hard over the last year and now have 3 sites around Llanfyllin – behind the Public Institute, at Y Dolydd and in Brook Street. Growing spaces have been mulched with compost and are ready for more members to get involved. The main gardening time is 10 -12 on Tuesdays but this will expand as needed. If you want to help please join BRACE via the link https://mailchi.mp/e2d67b52f4db/brace-membership , this will allow us to keep you up-to-date with events and help comply with our insurance obligations.

Some photos to show how much has been achieved already – how much more could we do if we could add to our dedicated little team??

brace membership campaign

As we start to look forward to meeting up again, running events and expanding projects we need a reliable way to contact our our members, especially those in the local community who want to get more involved. We have created a membership database using mailchimp and it would be great if you could follow the link to register and send us your email address. We can use this to make sure you receive regular updates from us. Thanks in advance.

https://mailchi.mp/e2d67b52f4db/brace-membership

Share-energy feedback

The recording of the Share-Energy Talk held back in December can be found on this link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VpPncpoj_zINc-HWlO58MGbvlzmAJSke/view

Let’s Talk Crap! – recording

For those who were unable to attend.

Link to the Recording from 10th March- https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WN6vK1cuqtaInKbt2bUzXT5Ovj6XrZ7A/view?fbclid=IwAR0fgUd11UzbKGkJtKJNuXQdRxhQpd8n_fbp9lo2uaDXus8eWrcv6UrrgIk

An online talk about the environmental and social benefits of recycling human excreta to land.

University of Leeds PhD Researcher Katie Allen will discuss the role poo can play in reversing soil degradation, improving crop yields and mitigating climate change.The presentation will also highlight the need for, and barriers to, wider adoption of the practice, both in the UK and the developing world.

It is hoped that after this presentation you will have gained a new-found appreciation for the wonderful recycling system that is your digestive tract, and might think twice before flushing such a valuable resource down the toilet!

Community energy talk Wednesday December 9th 7.30pm

https://tinyurl.com/y6hosll3

Online talk by David Green of Sharenergy.

Could we as a community get together to generate energy and income for the town?
Dave will explain how Sharenergy works to make a contribution to green energy production.
We’ll be online earlier for anyone who’d like a natter before the talk.

Open Food NEtwork feedback

The webinar hosted by Nick Wier was a great success with familiar and new faces joining us to find out how we might be able to set up a scheme to link local producers with local customers. The session was recorded and can be found on the link below. (Nick was having problems with bandwidth, so apologies for the quality)

https://bit.ly/3eUjaDn – meeting recording

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TALK: A home grown solution to selling local produce?

Join us at BRACE for an online talk by Nick Weir of the Open Food Network on Wednesday, November 11th at 7.30pm. Zoom link https://bit.ly/34DUmMu

If you’re a farmer, grower, market stall holder, owner of one of our excellent town shops – this is for you.
If you eat – this is also for you.

As concerns grow nationally over possible food supply disruption this talk explores a new way to boost local shopping. The Gloucestershire-based not-for-profit Open Food Network offers communities an online shop front where individual growers and small shops can sell their stock. Attendees will hear from people running successful food hubs in other parts of the UK and see behind the scenes how the Open Food Network functions. The webinar will explore ways that food hubs can link up with existing local shops and create additional employment. Food hubs can be a great way to generate income for producers and stimulate additional sales for markets and independent shops. It’s a chance to boost our local economy, remove the barriers to local food production and make good quality food available for more people. We’d really like to bring everyone together to explore this idea. More on the Open Food Network: https://about.openfoodnetwork.org.uk/

SGM/AGM minutes and adopted constitution

Special General Meeting

28th October 2020

This was a virtual meeting to which all supporters of BRACE were invited

The meeting commenced at 7.00pm

Participating: Alison Alexander,  Diana Allen,  Lorna Brown,  Amanda Dady,  John Dady,  Sue Dolman,  Dux Duckers, Sally Duckers, Kay Goddard,  Colin Hargis,  Steve Heys,  Jacqui Langstone,  Darren Mayor,  Shan Mayor,  Lesley Sweet , Anja Torikka, Ruth Weston

Apologies: Jane Carrington, Jeni Trythall

  1. In welcoming those participating in this special meeting Diana explained that a group of supporters had, with some guidance from PAVO, drafted a constitution which should allow BRACE to move forward in an organised and co-ordinated way. A draft of the constitution had been placed on the BRACE website and comments or observations invited.  No comments had been received and the meeting was therefore invited to agree its formal adoption.
  • The constitution was formally adopted.
  • An additional clause was added to the original draft (see 5b Finance below) and a copy of the constitution, as amended, will be placed on the BRACE website. 

Inaugural Annual General Meeting

  • In accordance with the new constitution the following were elected to form a Steering Committee:

Chairperson:  Diana Allen

Secretary:       John Dady

Treasurer:       Steve Heys

Members:       Alison Alexander, Sue Dolman, Kay Goddard, Shan Mayor,  Lesley Sweet, Anja Torikka

  • Discussion took place about the legal status of BRACE.
  1. Membership.   We have over 200 followers of our Website (www.brace.cymru), our Facebook Page or our WhatsApp Group.   And, because there could be significant benefit in being able to confirm to potential grant or funding providers the level of support there is in what we do, we will be inviting our supporters to become members of BRACE.

  There will be no fee for membership and we will maintain a list of contact details and areas of interest under GDPR rules of privacy and confidentiality.  Members will be encouraged to participate in both our activities and our decision making.  There could also be a list of supporters who wish only to be kept advised and informed of events, activities and other matters of interest. 

  • Finance.  BRACE will be making banking arrangements in its own name and will look to engage with an ethical provider.  Administration of funds is likely to include managing a few sub-accounts earmarked for specific project areas.

   The question was raised of how general funds, or unspecified donations, are to be allocated between possibly competing projects.  After discussion it was decided to include a clause requiring the decision-making process to involve consultation with members.  Item 1 of the Finance section of the constitution has been rewritten accordingly.

  • Insurance. The Community Garden group has been exploring the need for insurance cover for work on their project.  BRACE will now seek to arrange a suitable and appropriate policy, with an ethical provider, to cover for all its activities and responsibilities .  At this stage it is likely to cover only public liability, but further advice will be sought from PAVO and others.
  • Charitable Status. Investigation into banking and insurance has highlighted the advantage of BRACE being recognised as a charity.  There are 4 main types of charitable organisation and due to our size, fairly informal structure and limited financial resources, the most appropriate charitable status appears to be that of  “Unincorporated Association, with wider membership”. This charity structure is not required to register with the Charities Commission until funding exceeds £5,000 per annum but can register with HMRC to take advantage of tax relief and rate rebates if applicable, (there is no requirement to change the charity type if funding exceeds £5,000).  

   If in the future funding does increases significantly and BRACE’s activities develop along more commercial lines it may be appropriate to dissolve the Unincorporated Association and register as a more corporate style of charity e.g. Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This establishes a charity as a separate legal entity and as such may limit the liability of its members and allow it to employ staff and to hold assets in the charity’s name. There are however more formal operating and reporting requirements for a corporate charity type.   

   We will be making further enquiries and taking advice from PAVO and others on these matters.

  • Any Other Business
  1. Dux offered that a large wooden dome, at present in storage at the Workhouse, could be passed on to BRACE for use by our community.  The structure is currently dismantled but when erected  has a diameter of about 30 feet and could be adapted for a variety of purposes. As siting it in Cae Bodbach as a shelter or education space was suggested, Diana will discuss with Jane Carrington when and whether this can be discussed within the Cae Bodfach Stakeholders Group.  
  2. Sue gave an update of the Community Garden project and ideas for a winter programme – and the need for some shelter for volunteers.  Kay confirmed that an application has been made for some grant funding from Llanfyllin Council for the Community Garden project.
  3. Although the Repair Café project is curtailed by Covid 19 restrictions, Sally suggested creating a “Resource Library” of lendable equipment, for example a sewing machine or tools , which could be available for members to borrow. Darren said that the Cross Keys had a range of tools and equipment which he would be happy to lend to members on request.  Anja was invited to coordinate.
  4. Jacqui invited interest in seeking a woodland grant if a suitable location could be found.  A piece of land was identified, and Jacqui will investigate further.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 7.45pm

Special General meeting – 7pm 28th Oct

A sincere thanks to all members of the BRACE WhatsApp Group, our Facebook and Website followers for your support and encouragement as BRACE has evolved from a conversation between people concerned about climate change and conservation to become an organisation that is now an established part of our community. We have started some great initiatives in the last 18 months such as the Community Garden & Repair Café. In addition, we have supported other local events such as the Christmas Fayre, Severn River Trust tree planting and wildflower planting in the verges.

To enable BRACE to move forward in an organised and co-ordinated way, we are setting up a committee to formalise our work.  The first step will be to adopt an appropriate constitution and a suitable organisational structure. 

After several discussions and advice from PAVO (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations), we have prepared a constitution which can be found below or a copy can be emailed on request. A virtual Special General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 28th October 2020 at 7pm to seek its adoption. You are all invited to join the Zoom meeting – details of which will be announced nearer the date.

Should you wish to make any comments regarding the constitution, please let us know by Wednesday 21st October 2020.

Once the constitution is adopted, the meeting will become our first AGM and you will be invited to elect a Steering Committee.  If you would like to join this committee, please let us know by Wednesday 21st October 2020.

I do hope you will be able to join this special meeting but, if you unable to, we will be pleased to chat to you beforehand.

Our current email address is BRACE.Committee@gmail.com

Those proposing to stand for committee (so far):

Alison Alexander

Anja Torikka

Diana Allen

Jane Carrington

John Dady

Kay Goddard

Lesley Sweet

Steve Heys