Agenda item for next meeting

Constitution: We hope the group is ready to agree on our constitution. This will help define the group, allow us to move forward and to apply for funding. The garden group met with PAVO officer George Stroud today who can advise us on how to develop our constitution as we evolve and to help us find support, funding etc to further our ambitions.

George has advised us that a good start would be to appoint a management committee of min 6 and max 12 people, which will be quorate with a minimum of 3 people in attendance at a meeting. This should allow for streamlined decision making whilst ensuring we have an active core team to allow us to move forward. He also suggested we encourage all others keen to be involved to become members and to hold a register of members.

It was suggested we should appoint the roles of chair, secretary and treasurer and perhaps a representative from each key project area, e.g. garden/ compost/ repair cafe/ etc. to enure good communications.

If we start with a simple yet clear structure then that will allow us to progress having built a foundation which can evolve in future as required.

We are not obliged to do any of this, but the garden team would like to propose this as a next step. it would be great if we can consider this at the coming meeting, perhaps as the opening agenda item as this will allow us to pursue an Awards for All lottery application, which again we were advised would be a good next step.

What next for BRACE?

BRACE has been active for one year already, what have we achieved?

———- this is still being compiled please to send in suggestions for anything omitted that needs to be included

  • Held two meetings each month at the Cross Keys community space over the last 1 year
  • Built an active group with over 60 different people attending during the year
  • Played an active role in the One School One Planet project
  • Shared information on climate crisis, community growing and more, launching a community website and contributing to local publications
  • Hosted talks from RENEW Wales, Pont Bren, Montgomery Wildlife Trust and others
  • Launched community compost initiative at the Llanfyllin allotments
  • Worked on a community a transport plan and hosted a talk on electric vehicles
  • Set up Oswestry and Borders Repair Cafe with members of Oswestry XR . 5 successful events so far with over 200 items through the door and an amazing team of volunteers.
  • Began the process of engaging with the farming community and considering strategies for regenerative farming.
  • Began Llanfyllin Horticulture project at the public institute, designing, fundraising and planting a community growing hub
  • Provided information stall at Llanfyllin Show
  • Contributed to the Llanfyllin Christmas fair
This certainly sets the context for BRACE

Every action we do at this moment in time matters. The natural world is under threat from every direction, development, farming, climate change, pollution be it chemical, noise, hormonal, electro-magnetic you name it, we are disrupting nature in every way possible. Our responses cannot just be about personally withdrawing from this destruction but stopping it, reversing the process whilst creating spaces for nature to survive, provide corridors for birds, insects and fungi to move around undisturbed, we all have a stake this in terms of our own survival too.

Have we saved the planet yet?

2020, our first meeting is a chance to review our goals, do we still need regular meetings? Should we be more structured, or perhaps spend more time in topic groups. How about recruiting more members, seeking funding, developing closer ties with Newtown and other cliaimte response groups? Much to think think about

End of empire

What’s going on? Much of what we thought was the bedrock of our society is dissolving before our eyes, the rule of reason and logic is breaking down as nation states fall away and corporate power and oligopoly takes over. A symptom of the rise of the corporate state is that climate denial is rising, social division is expanding, we are being confronted with all the shortcomings and denial from our own history; there is nothing sustainable about this, as the elites retreat into a fantasy world of their own making we must realise this is the end of empire. All our first world privileges are going to be revoked, education, health care, food security, public transport, libraries, they are all up for sale, we have to figure out what comes next.

Our ability to endure will be measured by our capacity to sustain our neighbour

Chris Hedges

This earth-shaking lecture is from 2017 and its message is amplified by the prescience of Hedges’ vision, this really makes you pay attention. What Pulitzer prize winning journalist and public intellectual Chris Hedges outlines here is the wider political reality we are being confronted with and sets a really sharp context for what we should be thinking about within BRACE going forward.

Take notes people we need to talk about this. In this awesome, angry speech Hedges reveals the naked truth of our times, challenging the rise of corporate power and the decline of democracy. Communities will have to stand together as the rich elites retreat into their gated communities as the great western economies unwind and inevitably collapse.

Invest an hour of your life into this lecture, especially the fist 25 minutes if time is short, he is talking about the US mainly, but here in the UK we are umbilically linked to the decay, corruption and hubris of the American empire.

Here is the way forward

Permaculture is the methodology we can use to address these huge and terrifying problems. Resilience from the bottom up, building on the lessons of nature. These are the ideas that have driven me forward for 30 years, permaculture has allowed the creation of so many ideas that are turning into action, all around the globe, these have become the seeds of what comes next.

Happy New Year, lets make 2020 the year for positive social and ecological change!

Guardians not gardeners!

the biggest little farm – 31st jan

On 31st Jan the Llanfyllin Film Club are screening the very recent film–


Rated as a soul feeding environmental documentary, a testament to the immense complexity of nature, this film follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. When the barking of their beloved dog Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny LA apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavouring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work and outsize idealism as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind.

PG (some dead/injured animals),
1hr 31 min +int

Held in the Old New Inn, Llanfyllin. Doors open at 7.30pm, finishes at 9.45pm (includes a short interval). £5 entry

Horticulture project latest


We will formally reconvene at 10.00 am on Tuesday Feb 4th at the Institute.

Ongoing jobs over the Xmas period

Topics for discussion:
Compost plan
Set up systems for managing tools etc
Meet with PAVO for further funding advice

Moving wood chip from the gate by the housing association to the orchard area.
Adding to compost heaps (leaf mold is the woven one, also woody waste pile)

Llanfyllin permaculture garden map
Garden design as of Dec 17th

Garden design plan Dec 17th update

We have submitted a bid to the Community Garden Fund for tools, a shed, timber for raised beds etc. total value £3,800 we will need to raise £600 or more as a match, I suggest this will come form donated plants from us, in kind and a £1 donation each week from those participating.

here is the bid we submitted, we will be able to commence on this end of MArch assuming it is successful.

this is a Radnor Raised bed, made by Sector39
Example of the style of raised beds we are planning to install, made form Welsh larch

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