We've had a busy time on the Farm this summer resulting in another bounty of delicious food – vegetables, herbs, salad leaves, fruit and free-range eggs. In late July, we were delighted to be asked by acclaimed chef Tom Hunt to supply fresh produce for his cooking demonstrations at the weekend Rock Oyster Festival. Congratulations to Hugh and Otta and their invaluable teams of local volunteers and woofers for growing such fantastic and justly admired produce.
Veg box deliveries continue apace and demand from wholesale customers is slowly resuming. We produce +/-90 boxes a week and are currently regularly delivering around West Penwith to St. Just, Pendeen, St. Ives, Carbis Bay, Penzance, Newlyn, Mousehole, St. Buryan, Sennen, and all places in between. The Farm Shop is going from strength to strength.
Making hay when the sun shines. Hugh says: “Last year we were so busy in response to the coronavirus pandemic that we had no time to make hay, but this year we found a bit of time to return to some ‘normality’, if the hecticness of making hay can be called that. The hot dry spell that we endured [in July] was perfect hay-making weather, so we and all the other farmers in the area got busy doing just that. Oliver mended the power steering on our tractor for us, Clive and Kieron cut and turned and baled four fields for us, and teams of volunteers brought it in off the fields and stacked it in the barn for storage and sales. This year we cut Carn, Top, Standing Stone, and Hotel Fields. It was cut on Monday, turned on Tuesday, baled on Wednesday, and all 489 bales in the barn by early evening on Thursday, surely the fastest hay making in Bosavern Community Farm history, and lovely dry light-green hay it is too.”
We held a ‘Meet the Board’ event
in early August and were very pleased to talk to who those of you who came
to see us. It was wonderful to hear how people appreciate the what we are
doing and we had fantastic offers of support. Thank you! It’s definitely
something we'll do again.
It's been over a decade since the Farm was bought from Cornwall Council and there had been plans to hold our 10-year anniversary celebration last year but obviously Lockdown put an end to that. So, next month we're intending to celebrate both this year’s harvest bounty and over a decade of Community ownership. We hope to see you at the Farm. It won’t rain.
Turning our gaze to the future, we held a 'visioning day' last month with the Board directors, advisors and staff (many of whom hadn't met in the flesh due to the pandemic) to check that the Farm's Objectives (to produce and sell local food, to provide community access to land and its produce and to provide opportunities for the local community to come together and learn about growing food, agriculture and sustainable living) are still appropriate in light of the IPCC report, climate crisis, and local needs. Our conclusions were these:
TO FEED: providing better food for more people
TO RESTORE: enabling a more connected and resilient community at and beyond the Farm
TO NURTURE: supporting healthier people within and beyond the Farm
TO RECONNECT: by improving understanding for individuals and community to land, to Nature,
and to the climate & biodiversity crisis
TO INSPIRE: by developing more leadership with shared learning of more skills at and beyond the Farm
Now that we're happily in agreement that the Farm's Objectives remain relevant and true, we have to decide what is the most appropriate way of meeting these objectives over the coming decade. For the next stage of our development we will be in discussions with the National Lottery with the aim of seeking funding support, and will be engaging in business planning to help us to plan for the future. We'll hold consultations in venues across West Cornwall in the coming months (hopefully, including at our Celebration Day on 10th October) with big questions to consider and a map of the Farm for you to offer ideas about how we can better use and manage our land.
This is all exciting stuff. If you'd like to help in a small/large way with the birthday celebration and/or the community consultations then please get in touch. Tom, Chair BCEnts
2021 had been a challenging year so far all around, and the allotment community has had its fair share of difficulties with inclement weather and a multitude of critters intent on eating our produce! The community rallied round and volunteers have worked incredibly hard to resolve all the issues.
Rabbits In the Spring, Katie Kirk and her Training & Work Experience Team enaged a fencing tutor, Chris Lutey, to deliver two fencing workshops to teach their participants how to put up some rabbit fencing (and also some quality wind-break fencing in the Market Garden). A handful of allotmenteers joined the course and, as a result, a special mention must go to Pete Cross and Andy Jewers, who took on the task of safeguarding the allotments from the rabbits by completing most of the remaining rabbit-proof fence. Thank you, guys, for this - you were awesome!
Too much water Another issue was the flooding in the whole field after very wet weather in the spring. On Sunday 15th August, allotmenteers gave generously of their time again to help dig four inspection pits so that Phil Pengelly, drainage specialist at PLP, could help ascertain the best way to deal with the problem. He is arranging for two enclosed drainage ditches to be dug along the north and western borders which will run into a scrape pond in the southwest corner. Don’t worry regular allotment volunteers, Phil has a mechanical digger to do that!
The tree planting team has also been out in force a number of times this year to plant ‘whips’ of willow and mixed hedging to help suck up the water and provide a bit of a windbreak. What a great bunch of people we have at Bosavern Allotments. The communal spirit is growing following a couple of meetings, initially on Zoom and more recently, on-site. Tamsyn has kindly offered to set up a WhatsApp group which is now exchanging ideas and friendly advice regularly.
The next exciting news is that Tom (Jane), our allotments lead on the Board, hot on the heels of his success in obtaining permission for us to have a shed on each plot, is looking into funding for a community polytunnel where we can propagate crops, exchange seeds and grow more tender crops.
Short- and long-term solutions to improving the allotments site and fields elsewhere on the Farm are under discussion. Hugh’s and Board’s input and agreement will be required. The various interested parties involved in planting trees on the Farm (Woodland Group, Allotment Group etc) will be co-ordinating so that duplications don’t occur when it comes to sourcing trees for different areas on the Farm. All the Farm’s allotments are taken and there is now a waiting list. Some plots are yet to be fully used, but everyone agreed that, due to the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, more time should be given to those who still want to keep their plot even if they have so far been unable to get cracking with cultivation.
Subs fall due from January 2022 when a decision will be made on a cut-off date for those who have still been unable to commence cultivation to ask them relinquish their plots so that those on the waiting list can be given the opportunity to have a go.
Caroline Streat, volunteer BCF Allotments Co-ordinator
On the whole it has been a difficult year for bees, given the very poor weather conditions in Spring. However, by sticking to the policy of not feeding the bees sugar water, our colonies were able to delay expansion until the weather improved. Nectar collection was very strong in late June, but hopes of it continuing into July and August were thwarted again by the weather. Late August has seen some heather honey collection.
What a great bunch of people we have at Bosavern Allotments. The communal spirit is growing following a couple of meetings, initially on Zoom and more recently, on-site. Tamsyn has kindly offered to set up a WhatsApp group which is now exchanging ideas and friendly advice regularly.
There have been a number of reports of Foul Brood Disease in West
Cornwall again this year. All colonies at Bosavern are free of disease at
present. Varroa mites however, remain an issue, though certain colonies are
developing strategies to combat this pest.
Breeding of Cornish Black Bee queens and colony expansion have been successful, after the difficult Spring. Queen mating flights improved from 25 per cent success rate to over 90 per cent success rate. Twenty new queens were raised and an additional 12 colonies developed on site. The “native-ness” of the new colonies appears very good. Preparations are now under way to prepare the colonies for winter. Matt Pitt, BCF Beekeeper
BOSAVERN OPEN EVENTS
Two family-friendly, drop-in events where people can find out more about all the activities on offer at the Farm - from egg collecting to tree-planting, work experience and employment support. This is part of the Tin Coast Events Programme with a short film commissioned by the Tin Coast Partnership and Cornwall 365 and additional event support from the EU and Cornwall Council. Come and chat to our team. We’re offering hot and cold drinks, food samples, and plants.
· Wed 8th Sept 2pm-3pm at the Centre of Pendeen
· Thurs 9th Sept 2pm-3pm at Sennen Community Centre
BOSAVERN TRAINING & WORK EXPERIENCE PROJECT Series 3
Katie and her team have joined BCF staff for the life of the project which continues into next year. They started in February with the aim of supporting unemployed local people gain the skills and confidence to help them progress to employment, education or further training. Participants have learned about sowing and harvesting vegetables, collecting eggs from our free-range hens, how to prepare and cook the fresh vegetables which they have grown and harvested themselves on-site, plus useful skills such as constructing fencing and erecting a polytunnel. At the time of writing, of the first series, two trainees are now in employment, one is starting college in this month and two are on placements. Series Two has just ended and Katie is now accepting registrations for the third course which starts on 16th September.
If you know people who might like to apply to join the course, please contact Katie by email: email@example.com #bosavernfarm or call her now to find out more:
01736 272367 This project is funded by the EU and Cornwall Council.
We aim to begin work on repairs sometime this autumn with a view to completion before inclement weather really sets in. The plan is to reinforce the walls, replace the roof and adapt the overall design to be more resilient and multi-purpose – while keeping the original cob feel. A small working party is being formed. Leave a message at the Farm if you wish to help.
It’s great news that this popular market is opening again at Sennen’s Community Hall every Tuesday morning from 10 am to 1pm (note the new times). We are pleased to have been invited to sell our vegetables this year as well as groceries and eggs.
We were delighted by the fantastic interest and very grateful for the level of participation in our survey in spring. We shared it on social media, through our veg box contacts and members and friends, employees, volunteers and woofers. We received over 80 responses (too numerous to list here). Detail will be available at our celebration on Sunday 10th October when we will also announce the winner of the prize.
WOODLAND/TREE PLANTS GROUP
‘Giving Nature a helping hand’
The BCF Tree Care Group is a small friendly bunch which meets on Sundays from 2pm to around 4.30pm at the Farm to help look after the saplings in the Woodland Field, as well as planting new ‘whips’ as hedges around some of the other fields.
Quite frankly... we could do with a bit of help! The Woodland Field has a couple of thousand saplings that were planted around six years ago but are now in need of ongoing TLC (Tree Love and Care!) in the form of weeding and mulching around their bases, removal of tree guards to allow them to breathe, pruning of dead twigs, bramble bashing and bracken trampling (much loved by children). In addition, from November we will be planting more trees...hurrah! To be honest, the trees don’t take all that much work. They arrive from The Woodland Trust as ‘whips’ and only need a small hole, a cane and a tree guard to get them started. The real work is in their maintenance so they get the best possible start over the first couple years. And as you might guess... it turns out that helping the environment and giving Nature a helping hand is good for us as well! Terry Sutcliffe.
If you think you might like to join us for a taster session, we’d be very happy to hear from you. Contact: Ailsa, mob 07881812227 firstname.lastname@example.org or Terry 07972901946 email@example.com
DATES FOR THE DIARY
1st - 14th Sept: Registrations for Bosavern Training & Work Experience
WED 8th Sept BCF Open Event 2pm-3pm at the Centre Of Pendeen
THURS 9th Sept BCF Open Event 2pm-3pm at Sennen Community Centre
THURS 16th Sept Start of Series Three Bosavern Training & Work Experience
SUN 19th Sept Mayor’s Sunday, 2.30pm – 5.30pm, St Just WI Hall,St Just
SUN 10th October BCF Celebration. Noon – 4 pm
The date for the 2021 AGM is to be determined