BRACE horticulture

This week, from 10.00 am we are planting bulbs and moving wood chip in the Cae Bodfach field

Meet at the Llanfyllin Institute 03/12/19 10.00 am

Outline map of the garden so far, November 2019

We are meeting every Tuesday from 10.00 am. Its informal come along anytime, we usually finish by 1.00 am. There is a community lunch in the Cross Keys after that, great way to round off the morning

So far we have identified 6 main raised beds which will be for maim crops. We are developing these using a no dig method and are mulching the ground with cardboard and grass clippings, to create a soil enhancing carbon/ nitrogen mix. these are for verg growing and will be surrounded by herbs and pollinator friendly plants.

To improve access we have added two tors of steps, this prevents the garden becoming a mudslide and safer for carrying items up the garden. We are also building up paths with wood-chip to reinforce the surface

We have began leaf mould compost making, tis will be ideal for a potting mixture in the spring and main compost bins will be constructed and installed next. Not yet added to the map

Water harvesting, storage and use will of course we essential and we are lucky to have water from the roof of a neighbouring house, higher than the garden and two IBC tanks have been added to store water which will especially be used for the small poly-tunnel we will locate in the garden as well.

Wild flowers and diversity it is important to us the site looks fantastic, tidy, colourful and most importantly works for nature. we will be following an Integrated pest management approach, which involves creating habitat for predator species and to confuse any potential pests by presenting a riot of colour and diveristy

On going jobs include: moving wood-chip for the gate into Cae Bodfach field into the orchard area where we are storing it in piles. The more we move it the more we can accommodate more. Wood-chip is essential for both the orchard project, where it helps build a fungi rich soil suitable for trees and the Institute garden where we are using it for paths, mulch and more

Wants: We need a tool shed, we plan to buy sawn larch timber for raised beds. Plats like herbs will be useful and we intend to propagate soft fruits, herbs and shrubs fro use in other areas around the community.

More updates soon, we are meeting every week and trying to keep a record of progress as best we can

Permaculture courses

PDc advert
Full permaculture courses in Mid Wales 2020 with Sector39

There is an offer one sponsored place on the 6 weekend PDC to be held in Llanrhaeadr for an active BRACE member in Llanfyllin. From end Jan

BRACE members will be invited to an open session during the Treflach PDC which will include a tour of the farm and an overview of regenerative farming practices under way there.

We are really excited to be returning to Treflach farm again for a full residential course. This will be camping and glamping accommodation. From Start of July

TBC We also hope to offer some international places on a full PDC near Lake Victoria Kenya/ Uganda. Most likely August

TBC We are also hoping to arrange a fully accommodated PDC in November in North Shropshire. Most likely November

You may pay a 10% deposit here to secure a place


irish farmers talk about cliamte change

shirt piece giving some insight into experiences of farming community in Ireland

Tree planting

“Forest restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one.” (Prof Thomas Ward Crowther – Chief Scientific Advisor to the UN’s Trillion Tree Campaign) 
Lisa Barlow from the Severn Rivers Trust has 2,000 trees to plant under the NRW funded Roots and Water project and would like our help. 
Lisa says:   Tuesday 10th December – 1000 trees to be planted at Richard Ellis’s farm on the Cain – Domen Gastell near Llanfechain. We have Severn Trent volunteers attending, but low numbers so would love some help from local people. This one will be 10am-3pm. Possibly also the 11th at the same site if we need more time. 

Saturday 14th December – 1000 trees at Peter Lewis’s on the Brogan Brook – this would be a morning session with a big group and would be ideal for BRACE and Cain Valley River Group to work together. The Brogan site is Plas, Cwm Nantymeichiad (Bachie Road up past the school). There is parking there. SJ 13820 16807.

SY22 5ND is the nearest postcode.

I’ll be there with my mobile if anyone attending needs to call 07967 494219. Richard Kretchmer


A farmer-led approach to sustainable land management in the uplands

Diversified landscape at Pontbren
pontbrn text
Notice of the talk at Cross Keys
bad land management = urban flooding

The Pontbren Project is an innovative approach to using woodland management and tree planting to improve the efficiency of upland livestock farming, led by a group of neighbouring farmers in mid-Wales. They went on to develop new on-farm uses for woodland products, and when it became clear that tree planting had not just improved farm businesses and wildlife habitats, but had also reduced water run-off during heavy rain, they invited scientists to investigate. Supported by government funding, this internationally important research has revealed why strategically located belts of trees are so effective at reducing the amount of water running off improved upland grasslands. The scientific data from Pontbren is now being used to study the effects of land use on bigger catchments prone to flooding.

Helping to prepare this report has allowed us to reflect on the origins and progress of our project. Although we have always known each other as friends and neighbours, it was only in 1997 that we first sat down to consider what was happening to our industry. Through our hard work and willingness to embrace schemes which encouraged higher production, we had increased stock numbers and quality by introducing continental breeds. We had drained and reseeded our pastures and erected new buildings to feed and house them. It was at this stage we realised that we were on a treadmill. Although we were getting more for our stock our fertilizer and feed bills were growing too. We were completely dependent on the brown envelope and we knew even then that this was not sustainable. We began to explore ways in which we could reduce our costs, add value to our products and market them more effectively.

Roger Jukes

Jem Bendell, deep adaption

Jem Bendell, Professor for Sustainability rose to prominence with his paper Deep Adaption earlier this year. This video catches him in a reflective mood, well worth a listen. He sets a context for his support of XR and gives us lots more to think about.

Next brace meeting ……

Where does your waste go?

waste BRACE meeting event poster

small and slow solutions

small and slow solutions, book launch by Sector39
We launch our book on Oct 11th

Imagine being 15 right now and being told that within a few short years the window of opportunity to prevent run away climate change will be shut forever. This the reality that the climate change generation are waking up to. When responses include stopping using plastic straws or other trivial measures that is when you start to realise the true depths of the crisis. The older generations, who had the benefit of all this cheap energy cannot imagine giving up their privileges in support of some vague notion of saving the planet. Hey and what if I give up my hard worked for holiday and other people don’t they ask?

For Greta Thunberg’s generation they already know that they are not giving up anything and these high energy options simply won’t be there for them. rather than fear not having this hyper-material existence they are recognising they will simply be lucky to have a future to look forward to at all. Instead of drawing up battle lines between generations lets think creatively about what we can actually do that is and will be meaningful in the long term. Economic and politics have warped our values and understanding of what it is that we can do but let us not forget that the underpinning reality of the climate and ecological crisis is biological. Removing forests, ploughing up soils, eroding heavily into the planet’s biodiversity has greatly reduced the planet’s ability to deal with the 40 billion tones of carbon we pump into the atmosphere each year.

Remember this, the only new energy entering the global system comes from the sun and like plants we have to build a better relationship with this never ending energy source rather than investing all our future hopes in the remaining fossil reserve in the earth’s crust. Can we make the switch for fossil power to solar power? Of course we can, we have the collective brain power and determination to solve anything, anyway our ancestors had no problem doing this previously and we have all sorts of new materials, technologies and insights to bring to bare they did not have.

There is no single solution, no winning technology other than a re-evaluation and application of our relationship with this living planet, rather a combination of millions of responses and innovations is what is required. The only way we can restore hope is to unleash a maelstrom of creativity, especially aimed at those younger members of our society. Kids need to be allowed to innovate, to put in place their own ideas and to develop and experiment with them. Furthermore we must remove all barriers to this creativity.. need investment in your idea, the answer must be yes. Need time off school to action your idea, yes, need to visit an expert somewhere to develop your ideas, but of course. This response is the best way we who did not act can vindicate ourselves.

Join us in Llanrhaeadr at the community hall on October 11th and help us launch this positive, packed full of ideas publication that is designed to give hope ad the possibility of an abundant future.

Environment Wales Act 2016

Here is the link the act that the Llanfyllin Town Council will be discussing the implications of at their next meeting.