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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.

2020: November news – Heart Beets

by General Administrator

It was the final big seasonal workday of 2020, my final one as head grower here, and hopefully the last one we’ll ever have to do under lockdown, fingers crossed… and it was wonderful, with eager beet-pickers of all ages defying the wet weather forecast and ripping red roots from the earth from sunrise (well, it was 10am and there wasn’t any sun, but I’m pleading artistic licence). All in all we picked 990 kilos of which about a quarter is the golden variety. They are all tucked away clamped in sand at the back of the barn – huge thanks to the clamping team, the unsung heroes of the day. Beets store well in this way until June, so there’ll be lots to look forward to in 2021!

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 – October news: Rat Attack

October 15, 2020 by General Administrator

Here at Canalside we live in harmony with all of nature’s fauna and flora. However, some animals are getting a bit too harmonious for my liking: someone, or something, has discovered our squashes (which are seasoning in tunnel 3 just now) and invited all its friends and family for a squash party! We suspect the rat, so have set up live traps which so far have failed to entice the offender. Luckily not too many fruits have been lost so far.

Dom van Marsh

2020 – September news: Skinned

September 17, 2020 by General Administrator

‘To skin’ is one of those unusual verbs with two meanings that are the complete opposite of one another. The skin a rabbit is to remove the skin, but to skin a polytunnel is to put it on – as the land team (finally!) did to tunnel 1 on Monday. The main reason to replace the polythene cover is about opacity more than anything else – you can ‘clearly’ see this by comparing the transluscent new cover of tunnel 1 with its 13 year old, virtually opaque neighbour. This will give much better crop growth, particularly in winter. Canalside member Eleanor made a fantastic short video of the work, which you can view on vimeo.

2020 – August news: Roasting

August 14, 2020 by General Administrator

Regular readers of Canalside news will know I love a weather stat, and this week has delivered a few – England has recorded temperatures upwards of 34 degrees for 6 successive days in a sequence that included the third hottest August day for 17 years.

At the farm it has been challenging to say the least for land workers, not to mention the plants – thankfully thunderstorms have brought much-needed rain to quench their thirst. The downpours have helped arguably the most important crop on the farm to germinate nicely: the grass-clover green manure leys that are the biological powerhouse behind our soil fertility. Green manure replenishes soil nutrients and regenerates soil health as well as providing habitat for insects, and it is always a huge relief to see it germinating well!

Dom van Marsh, head grower

2020 – July news: Fine Young Cabbages

July 17, 2020 by General Administrator

I’ve seen cabbages, and I’ve seen cabbages, but I’ve never seen cabbages like this before – not in July, at any rate. Planted just 6 weeks ago these plants have exploded in size and are glowing with health. The work morning teams have been going through clearing out any remaining weeds but the great thing about massive brassicas like these is that the canopies close up to shade out any weeds underneath – meaning we won’t need to go near them again until harvest. Right now you’re experiencing the benefits of this brassica boom with the kale that’s been in the share lately; I wouldn’t normally expect the first pick so early but somehow this year the soil, weather conditions and help in the fields from our marvellous volunteers have combined to give a bountiful early crop.

Cabbage magnificence

2020 – June news: Rain at Last

June 19, 2020 by General Administrator

We’ve tried prayer, raindances and even some of the spells out of Harry Potter and finally it has worked as at last some decent rain arrived for our crops this week. This is particularly timely as we have been very busy getting some important crops in the ground: cabbages, kale and over 5000 leeks have all been planted in the last fortnight. Also, with the maincrop carrots and parsnips just emerging and getting established, the downpours are particularly welcome. The only question is: after 3 months of moaning about how dry it all is, how long before the growers start moaning that it’s too wet?

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