We have had regualr problems with our drains at Pen Dinas so the time to replace the existing pipe has come around and it is very interesting to see a proper soil profile across the field. Makes us think we should have done this at the beginning, not only is there only about 2 or 3 inches of topsoil but there is also a huge amount of rubble, bricks etc under the turf of the field. Our choice to build up raised beds and hugl kultur type growing strategies turns out to be a good call as these thin soils would otherwise never produce any decent vegetables.
We kicked off the year with a trip to Jesus College Oxford for the Real Farmers conference, the parallel event that runs along side the mainstream farmers conference for smaller scale growers, organic and more community and environment orientated initiatives. There was lively debate across many topics and if you would like to pick up on any of the threads of discussion there was a lively conference presence on twitter. They also launched a manifesto for new agriculture.
Pic below taken at Pen Dinas in December is of a head of broccoli, and anyone who has studies permaculture or environmental design will recognise the Fibonacci patterns, I found myself gazing into this shape for ages.. fractal mathematics in nature.
Finally I should mention the fantastic trainers and practitioners day we had on Dec 16th which brought together 25 local people from the Mid Wales region who are potentially interested in working with us on developing skills and training provision. An important new venture for Cwm Harry is to be the delivery courses and learning opportunities across the broad range of topic areas we are interested in, from waste management to organic growing, permaculture to green wood craft. There will be lots more on this soon as we are busy working on an extended courses programme for the coming year.
Here is a fundraiser visit from School Farm CSA in Devon, freinds of ours, who we bumped into the Real Farmers Conference who are running a really ambitious Community Supported Agriculture Project near Totnes.
Here is an impassioned speech on the potentials and importance of small scale farming and a relocalised and vibrabt local food economy and culture.