2021: May news – Sunshine and Showers

May 20, 2021 by General Administrator

This week the steering group finally got to meet for the first time since last June. We enjoyed a farm tour together led by Stephen before our monthly meeting to uphold the vision and development of Canalside – it was great to meet face to face outside after many months on zoom!

May is feeling more like April with sunshine and showers so we’ve been able to make some progress in the fields. And with the increase in warmth we’ve seen some real growth in the plants, especially in the tunnels – even the most raggedy looking tomatoes are now filling out.

But to be honest, the most exciting news of the week is the arrival of our new trolley – after years of keeping homemade equipment going we decided to make small investments around the farm that will make things run smoother. We can now easily transport plants and harvested crops around the site without the wheels falling off!

The new hand trolley

Eleanor, on behalf of the growing team

Photos: Tom Ingall

2021: March news – Cauli Surprise

March 11, 2021 by General Administrator

We decided to split our ploughing this year into two bulk lots to make it easier for the growers; an early and a late plough. Thanks to the recent dry weather we reached a major milestone for the new season this week having ploughed over half of the land, ready to prepare it for planting.

We hope you enjoyed the first of the over wintering cauliflowers this week. Cauli’s are notoriously hard to harvest – there is a very small window to catch them between being under or over ripe so Stephen had a very happy surprise to find 180 plants perfectly ready on Monday.

Words from Work Mornings

February 4, 2021 by General Administrator

Whilst there is much uncertainty in the world, the popularity of CSAs has shown that local food production is an essential, safe and reliable service. We’ve seen a great turnout at our work mornings in the last year, and perhaps due to lockdown are again seeing a boom in people coming to help out. As volunteering work is still allowed, we find jobs where we can space out or work in household bubbles. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get outside and be together in a safe way, working towards a common goal at a time when there is so much separation.

Here’s what our workshares and volunteers have to say:

‘I love the welcome and camaraderie, it’s amazing how much we get done when we work together, this is a unique place’ – Clare (volunteer workshare)

‘It’s the highlight of our week’ – Christine and Dave (veg members and volunteers)

“A workshare at Canalside ticks so many boxes, providing exercise, fresh air, vitamin D and purposeful companionship in a relatively safe, outdoor environment.’ – Zoe (volunteer workshare)

If you’d like to read more from Zoe you can read her blog about joining Canalside here.

2020: December news – Moving forward into 2021

December 17, 2020 by General Administrator

As 2020 comes to a close we arrive in a new phase at Canalside.

There is a lot to celebrate and be proud of here. The COVID era of 2020 has demonstrated the success and value of CSAs and local food production. A huge thank you to everyone involved in our success – our members, volunteers, workshares, steering committee and staff all play an important role. The bee club, flower enterprise and Willows Project also continue to blossom and be an integral part of the farm.

Whilst we continue to advertise for a new main grower, the land team are looking ahead and feeling good about the future – assistant growers Lena and Stephen will be joined by seasonal labourer and long-standing volunteer workshare, Eleanor Brown, and have been working on the growing plan for 2021. Also working alongside the team will be Gareth and Becca from Five Acre, our sister CSA in Coventry, providing weekly support.

The team taking us into 2021 – L-R Eleanor, Lena, Stephen

Moving forward into 2021 we are excited about the potential of the farm and have lots of plans to develop the site; buying new land, planting an orchard, creating more social spaces facilitating more connection for members into the farm both socially and through volunteering. Whilst still adhering to COVID rules we are wanting to welcome you to feel part of the place, celebrating the community aspect of CSAs as much as our focus on the agriculture.

The land team – Lena, Stephen and Eleanor

The team at the pre-Christmas sprout pick

Help us buy more land for our community!

December 7, 2020 by General Administrator

Please donate to Canalside Community Food

Canalside Community Food has always relied on the rent of neighbouring Leasowe Farm’s land for our fruit.

Canalside now has the opportunity to purchase an adjacent field of 2.25 acres (see map below) so that we can plant an orchard on land that we own, and safeguard the availability of our own fresh fruit for the future.

At our most recent AGM, we agreed to put £10,000 of our reserve funds towards this purchase. That still leaves us short by between £15,000-£20,000, so we agreed to appeal for donations from the wonderful community that we serve.

We would therefore appeal to anyone who shares our vision and passion for Canalside Community Food to donate what they can for this investment in the future of Canalside and the diversity we can offer.

Not only will this purchase enable us to plant and maintain an orchard on our own land in perpetuity, but it will also increase the value of the current land, and provide a wonderful new area for the entire community to enjoy.

We need to finalise this wonderful opportunity by Spring 2021, and would be extremely grateful for any donation you can make before then.

For further information, please contact Gareth Davies.

To donate, please complete the donation form and we will be in touch with you about making your payment. And as a thank you for donating, you will get a beautiful poster of images from Canalside.

Some of Magali’s beautiful photos of Canalside (not necessarily these ones!) will be used on the poster.

Still available: Job opportunity at Canalside – main grower

November 20, 2020 by General Administrator

We continue to look for a new grower!

Canalside Community Food, a pioneering CSA based outside Leamington Spa, is looking for a new main grower. We are seeking an experienced grower to join our team producing organic vegetables and fruit throughout the year for our community of nearly 200 members.

The successful candidate will work in collaboration with the assistant growers, administration team and seasonal staff, as well as the steering committee and volunteers. The main grower will take a key role in organising and leading the day-to-day management of the farm which includes organising and leading volunteer work mornings, working from and adapting an established rotation and cropping plan, operating a tractor and various manual tools, and reporting to the steering committee.

We are looking for somebody to commit to this fantastic opportunity for at least three seasons. We currently have 7 acres of field scale vegetables, 7 large polytunnels for protected cropping and a 2 acre orchard of top and soft fruit. This position is full-time (37.5 hours per week March-October, 30 per week Nov-Feb) with basic salary of £20,229, statutory holiday allowance and a pension offered.

More details and full job description here

Applications by CV and covering letter to mail@canalsidecommunityfood.org.uk.

You are strongly encouraged to contact us as soon as possible to express interest in the role, and discuss the position and application timelines (including visit/interview); we are wanting to appoint at the earliest opportunity so that the new grower can start by the beginning of the new season.

Job opportunity at Canalside – main grower

October 19, 2020 by General Administrator

Canalside Community Food, a pioneering CSA based outside Leamington Spa, is looking for a new main grower. We are seeking an experienced grower to join our team producing organic vegetables and fruit throughout the year for our community of nearly 200 members.

The successful candidate will work in collaboration with the assistant growers, administration team and seasonal staff, as well as the steering committee and volunteers. The main grower will take a key role in organising and leading the day-to-day management of the farm which includes organising and leading volunteer work mornings, working from and adapting an established rotation and cropping plan, operating a tractor and various manual tools, and reporting to the steering committee.

We are looking for somebody to commit to this fantastic opportunity for at least three seasons. We currently have 7 acres of field scale vegetables, 7 large polytunnels for protected cropping and a 2 acre orchard of top and soft fruit. This position is full-time (37.5 hours per week March-October, 30 per week Nov-Feb) with basic salary of £20,229, statutory holiday allowance and a pension offered.

More details and full job description here

Applications by CV and covering letter to mail@canalsidecommunityfood.org.uk: deadline – noon on Monday 16th November 2020.

Interviews on 28th November to start early January 2021 or asap thereafter.

2020 – May news: Don’t Mind the Gap

May 29, 2020 by General Administrator

The spell from mid May to mid June is the dreaded ‘hungry gap’: the time when the growers are scratching around down the back of the sofa desperate for anything, anything at all vaguely veg-like to put in the share. Well, don’t know if you’ve noticed but that hasn’t really happened this year!

New projects (e.g. the strawberries) have come good, new varieties have thrived (e.g. overwintering broad beans and onions) and our usual staples are all here a bit earlier (e.g. tunnel carrots and potatoes).

The weather has been outstanding for early production (provided we can get enough water out there), but most of all it is down to our superb volunteers, toiling away – at a social distance – in the baking heat every Wednesday and Saturday. You have kept the crops weed free and got the seeds sown, and kept us well ahead of the game at a crucial time. Enjoy the bumper ‘hungry gap’ share!

Virtual blossom walk

April 19, 2020 by General Administrator

The orchard is looking amazing at the moment – the apple blossom is at its peak and the cherry trees that still have blossom have an abundance of it! Hopefully all the blossom foretells of a bountiful crop of fruit this summer, all being well through the growing season.

Click here to watch:

Credits: Filming, editing and music: Eleanor Brown

2020 – April news: Royal Variety Performance: Grafting Apples

April 17, 2020 by General Administrator

What do you do if you plant an apple tree and, after ten years of care, the variety you’ve gone for just isn’t performing? One of ours, ‘Tydeman’s Late Orange’, has given us this problem, with a decade of low yield, tiny scabby fruit and other misdemeanours.

All is not lost – this week Dom has been grafting a new, favoured variety (‘Edward VII’, hence royal) onto the old TLO trees. This involves cutting the tree right back to a few decent stumps (leaving one as a ‘sap drawer’) and in this case cleaving into the wood and wedging two tiny scions (twigs from the preferred variety, cut in winter and stored in the fridge) into the edges of the cleft.

The wounds are taped up and sealed with wax. The Edward VII scions will grow with the vigour of a ten-year old tree rather than a new sapling and will reach a good size in no time, so this is a much quicker way than replacing the tree entirely – those 10 years were not totally wasted.

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