Monday, 13 November 2017

Harvest Monday and Norwich Farmshare Crowdfunder

I made up a new game today, it's called 'Find the borlotti beans'. The premise is simple - balance a tray of beans to dry precariously on top of a hifi speaker, then (whilst opening the curtains), knock them all over the place. Enjoy the next fifteen minutes searching under chairs, a wardrobe, chest of drawers, bed and so on (scenario changes depending on your furniture). Have a go, it'll keep you entertained for ages. I'm pretty sure I didn't find them all either, so more fun to be had later.

I've failed to take any harvest photos this week, but have picked chard, kale and corn salad from the allotment. Jan made a lovely big hotpot with loads of wintery goodies, including the kale and some blauhilde beans from the freezer. In the lean-to greenhouse at home I have several tubs of lush winter purslane / claytonia, so we've been adding tasty leaves to our lunchtime sandwiches.

Same goes for sweet rocket (variety Esmee).

So onto Norwich FarmShare.....
This is a fantastic community farming project, providing fresh, chemical-free veggies to people from the Norwich area. Members sign up for weekly shares (of different sizes) and can either collect from The Hub (meeting up with other members) or have them delivered by bike. Also, members spend some time helping out, which could be 'behind the scenes' type activities, helping at The Hub, or getting your hands in the dirt, actually helping to farm the food (with the two official Growers). What's not to like about that?

Since spring 2016 FarmShare has been in a transition period - the land they were farming on the edge of Norwich wasn't going to be available any longer, so the hunt began for a new site / sites. After lots of hard work and research, a couple of great opportunities have arisen. The first site is a block of several unused allotment plots to the north west of Norwich (Valpy Avenue site), which together form quite a bit of land. The focus here will be on community and educational activities (as well as growing food). The site is really lovely too, overlooking Sloughbottom Park and the River Wensum Valley. Work has begun to prepare the site (I helped a little at the first volunteer workday a while back but there's been lots more happening since then), with plans to establish infrastructure like a volunteer shelter and compost loo. That's where the crowdfunding campaign comes in, taking place over the next few weeks.

There are some great rewards for pledges, including fun ones like having your name written into a squash as it grows, and useful ones like bike maintenance sessions. I gather a whole load of new rewards are being released soon too, which I'll be keeping an eye out for. If you don't fancy any of the rewards but would still like to support the project you can simply make a donation, even a fiver would help towards achieving the goals of a fairer, healthier food system, buidling soil and building communities.

If you're interested in finding out more have a look at their Crowdfunder page and also watch the excellent video
Norwich Farmshare - crowd funding campaign from Matthew Robinson on Vimeo.

Another cool thing happening in Norwich at the moment is the film festival Conversations About Food organised by the East Anglian Landworkers' Alliance (with Norwich FarmShare). The festival presents a series of five inspirational films relating to sustainable agriculture, showcasing examples from around the world. We've had the first two (which were excellent, I particularly enjoyed Gracie's Backyard about a Swedish farm being run following permaculture principles. The second film Sustainable, centred on US examples, was good too - I think you can find this one for free online). Next up is In Our Hands, focussing on the UK, I'm looking forward to this.

Also coming up, next week at the monthly Norfolk Organic Group we'll be treated to a talk by well-known gardener Bob Flowerdew. It's all happening in Norwich eh. Thank you to all the people who are giving up their time to organise these amazing events.

That's me for the week, thanks for reading. I'm linking in with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.


  1. I confess to having played the 'find the bean' game myself, though not with borlotti beans. Does the claytonia taste like purslane? I've not taste it before, though we do have purslane popping up all the time.

  2. Your plans for the new community growing scheme sound amazing! And the Hunt the Bean Game takes place in our kitchen too, from time to time lol

  3. It’s strange how often potatoes grow into a heart shape.