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April news: A Time To Freeze

We are deep in the spring glut, that abundant period when leafy greens in particular grow faster that we can cut them. Leaves are most prolific in spring and autumn, with demand outstripping supply at other times of year! It’s an ideal time for blanching and freezing some ready for use later in the year – we’re heading towards the leaner spell in May and June when some veg in hand will be a bonus. Spinach, chard, spring greens, kale and purple sprouting broccoli are all good contenders for this.

March news: Potatoes Planted

On Thursday the growers took advantage of the sublime spring sunshine and got our 3/4 acre of potatoes planted! This is nearly a month earlier than last year, which highlights the contrast between super-sodden March 2018 and the super-sunny one this time around. We have a large surplus of a red variety called Robinta which will be available for members to take for free, though the tubers are on the small side.

Potato planting underway
Potatoes planted

In other news our onion sets have beaten Brexit: they arrived from Holland despite warnings from the suppliers of Brexit-related delays! So we are all ready for the Onion Planting Day/Members’ Social on April 6th. It’s a great activity to kick-start the growing season for kids and adults alike, with a bring and share lunch to boot!

February’s news: We Own Our Land!

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Canalside Community Food Limited now owns our land!

After a lengthy period of dotting i’s and crossing t’s, the solicitors have finally exchanged contracts, bringing an end to the process that began with our share offer launch and successful fundraising drive last year. This is really a beginning rather that an end, as the purchase safeguards our land in perpetuity and means it will be owned and stewarded by this community from hereon!

January news from the field

Take a walk around Canalside fields and you will notice something unusual for the time of year: freshly ploughed earth. Normally we plough in early spring, but this can be tricky where there is a lot of rainfall – in fact 2 out of the last 3 years we have had to postpone onion planting as it has been too wet to prepare the ground. So the exceptionally dry start to 2019 provided the perfect opportunity to try doing things a little differently, and thus the area earmarked for the earliest plantings – potatoes, onions and early brassicas – were ploughed on Wednesday morning just in time before the rain came.

Early ploughing in Millfield ready for 2019’s early brassicas

Early ploughing in Big Gorse ready for 2019’s maincrop onions

Share collections going ahead despite snow

The current snowy weather and freezing temperatures have caused significant interruption to normal activities this week, but here at Canalside the field team have worked extremely hard to maintain business as usual.

If you are a share member expecting to collect today or  tomorrow (12th & 13th December) please read on.

Collecting shares

Tuesday 12th: Collection will go ahead at the farm between 3 and 6.30pm as usual. However, there will be no access down the drive to the car park or pole barn. Your share will be bagged for you (and labelled S, M or L) and will be on the trailer at the top of the drive. There is turning space there, but please turn with care and to ensure space for others to turn in safely, please do not linger. As space is so limited at the top of the drive, please do not park there and walk down to the social area.

If you do get stuck, or feel some assistance is needed to help people turn, get out of the drive etc, please call the site phone (07758340491).

Sadly we may not be able to put any leaves in today’s share as everything is frozen solid, but we will try. If not, you will get extra squash and root veg to see you through until next week.

If you are unable to collect your Tuesday share as planned, please come any time up until 2pm Wednesday if you can. After that the normal arrangements will apply and you will be welcome to try to make up a share from the ‘extras’ during the Saturday collection (10am-1pm) or from the leftover produce between 1 and 2pm after Saturday’s collection has finished.

Wednesday 13th: If it is safe to do so, we will reopen the drive for the collection. If this isn’t possible, your share will be bagged for collection at the top of the drive. Information above will then apply!

Workshares and the work morning

The Wednesday work morning will go ahead as usual, but if you’re driving here, workshares and volunteers are advised to call the site phone on 07758340491 before setting off.

We hope collections will be back to normal for Saturday 16th.

We hope you’re keeping warm. Go well, Ali

Diverse benefits from farms like Canalside!

(We knew that but now here’s academic proof!)

See the recently published report, ‘A Matter of Scale’, on research into the benefits of small-scale, agroecological* farms here: 
https://landworkersalliance.org.uk/…/small-scale-agroecol…/…

The research was conducted by the Land Workers’ Alliance (LWA) in conjunction with the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University, and Canalside was one of the 69 farms that participated.

* agroecological = an ecological approach to agriculture that views agricultural areas as ecosystems and is concerned with the ecological impact of agricultural practices

Christmas present idea – 4 week trial veg share!

Do you know someone who has everything, and hard to find a Christmas present for? Or perhaps someone who loves food and cooking? Or someone who loves the idea of seasonal produce, grown locally to organic standards?

If they live or work in/near Leamington Spa, why not get them a 4-week trial veg share, to be taken from any start date in January, from Tuesday 7th January onwards. Our vegetable shares are available in 3 sizes, to suit different households, and can be collected from our farm site during one of 3 collection slots each week, or from our collection point in Leamington Spa. More details can be seen on the page for buying a trial share.

Order before Monday 16th December and we can post a gift certificate and information sheet to your address for the intended recipient, for you to give to them on Christmas day.

Short film about Canalside

If you’d like to have a tour of Canalside through the eyes of two local schoolboys who did a film project on Canalside in the summer, as part of a school study topic on farming, press play! They interviewed members and staff, and took part in a construction weekend where interested members worked together to construct an extension for our pole barn. See some footage from around the project site, and from the construction work. If you know the project, you may spot a few familiar faces!

Latest Canalside newsletter now available online

Read all the latest project news in the Autumn issue of our newsletter, available to download from:

https://www.canalsidecommunityfood.org.uk/the-project/canalside-news/

Canalside has a new website

In line with the continuing development and growing popularity of the Canalside, we’ve developed a new website that will, in time, allow us to take advantage of the community aspect of the project with photo sharing, recipe submissions and a pool of Blog contributors.

The new site was developed by one of our own members so has (hopefully!) captured the essence of Canalside and what we stand for.

Please let us know what you think. If you would like to start contributing to the blog, please let us know.

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