Friday, 3 April 2015

The Plain Truth - Come and Join Us

In this Election Season, plain unvarnished truth is in short supply. So I thought I'd buck the trend and give you an outline of what's really going on here, and why we want you to join in.

We are a very small project. We are self funded, and we do things very, very slowly, because we never have the money to move far.

I work two days a week off site, and Neil works all the hours God sends, and in between all this, we fit in the growing, and the animals, and the paperwork, and the blogging, and … you get the picture. I work in a Care Home, and Neil is a Painter and Decorator. We are not the landed gentry, trust me.

We don’t own our home, we rent from the Crown Estate, as we also rent the land. It’s expensive, I can’t lie! We keep a few sheep on there, and some chickens, and we will eventually have other livestock on there as well. Like these princesses ...

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...but the primary purpose for this plot of land is to create a community around growing wonderful, healthy food, for people who live  nearby.

The situation at the moment is that I am going to need to take on more work, in order for us to survive. I say this not to get your sympathy – this is our idea and it’s down to us to make it work! – but to explain to you how very, very small and hands on we are.

We passionately believe in the CSA model. We really, really want a bunch of people from the local area to be part of this and to feel some sense of ownership. So we will carry on.  We will grow food, and we will try to find the people who ought to be benefitting from fresh, organic, locally grown food, bursting with nutrients, warm from the soil.

We’re registered as a Community Interest Company, which means even if it were possible to make an exorbitant profit from growing veg on chalk downland, we wouldn't be able to. We would like to make a living wage, by sharing the possibilities with others.

If you've wondered about it, and thought it might be too expensive, or too posh, or not really for you because you live in town, or don’t know one end of a carrot from the other, please reconsider.

With all we have to do as well, we can’t be open to the public all the time. We can only open up certain sessions. But we want to meet you. If you come down now you’ll see a big wet square with nothing at all growing in it. But that will change in the next few weeks. It won’t look like a big, professional market garden, because I’ll be doing two other jobs, and the girls have exams coming up, and it’s *hard* surviving.

But I'm planting seeds at home, and nurturing them in trays and cells, and there will be planting out, and you can just join to receive a share, or you can join, receive a share and come to help make it happen.

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With your help, we can do this.

If you live in Calne, or Devizes (or obviously Bishops Cannings! Or Horton, or Coate) you can be part of this.  Find out how to join by clicking here and if you have an issue with anything you see talk to us.

This is such a huge chance. We can't mess it up now. Come and join us.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Spring Forward

I've been gone a while, for which I apologise.

The tail end of winter is never a good time, and we have fought some battles I'd better not detail right here.

Spring's now round the corner, and if you are on our waiting list of WWOOFers, I promise we will be back to you soon. The caravan is being refurbished, the garden is tilled and there will soon be enough dry land to work on!

Seeds have been planted (though nowhere near enough) and sit in trays and cells, awaiting the perfect moment of dry-out on the field for us to move in and PLANT!

It's many years since we've been this excited, and ready to take on the world in the name of local food!

Come and join us. We're open for business.

 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Pulling the Threads Together

I've been working for a few weeks now on school programmes, which we will begin to deliver in Spring.

I'm happy to say I've now completed the outlines, and we're ready to offer the courses and sessions to local schools  who want to come and learn about food and farming.

Pre-School play space is next on the list.

The admin has taken longer than the inspiration! I'm still tying up insurance and dbs loose ends, but the spade work is done.

We feel passionately about children and youngsters getting to know a bit more about the land they live in and the food they eat - new CSA members who have children might like to help us to develop activities for them as well?

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Soaking up some winter time inspiration

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Monday, 2 February 2015

We are officially a Community Interest Company!

Brief update from the very cold, very wet trenches.

We are officially now a registered company - Chestnuts Farm Community Interest Company! Hurrah!

And we have a grant application in for fencing off the area for school and preschool access.

None of this is making my feet any warmer :)