Saturday, November 27, 2021

New chicken lock-down announced

Due to outbreaks of bird flu in the UK, DEFRA have announced that all poultry must be kept indoors, or in enclosed runs, starting on Monday 29th November. Having had no cases of bird flu in the UK previously, there were cases and a subsequent lock-down in winter 2016, then again in winter 2020, and now in winter 2021. Because of this we are no longer allowed to have people visiting our chicken sheds or field, except those of us on official chicken-care duties (feeding, collecting eggs, mucking out etc...). We expect this situation to last for 16 weeks. On Tuesday 30th we will be constructing enclosed runs for each of our three chicken sheds, to allow them access to the outside, but in a safe place where wild birds cannot enter.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

More winter skies


These were the skies as we cleaned out the chicken sheds yesterday afternoon, and soon afterwards we saw a barn owl hunting the fields for the third time in the past ten days.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Coppicing the market garden copse

Just inside the gateway of our market garden we have a small copse of about 30 willow, to help prevent westerly winds from whipping across the field, and northerly gales from damaging our polytunnels. The copse had become overgrown with brambles, was harbouring rabbits, and many of the willows had become too large and had fallen over, hampering tractor access into the field. So over the past week we have cleared all the undergrowth, and coppiced all the willow, except for one line at the back, which will continue as a windbreak this winter while the coppiced stumps grow back during next spring and summer. The cleared wood has been sorted into logs for cutting for next winter's firewood, whips for planting as windbreaks around the chicken/maincrop fields, small twigs for composting, and large rotting pieces for leaving in a field corner as wildlife habitat.

Many thanks to everyone who helped with this warming winter project.


Yesterday's sky

As well as seeing a kestrel and a buzzard yesterday (the latter catching a small bird in its talons), the skies over the farm in the late afternoon and early evening were gorgeous:-





Saturday, November 20, 2021

Food sovereignty

Heather, who WWOOFed with us for 3 months in the spring, has written an article about Food Sovereignty, which has been published on the WWOOF UK website - https://wwoof.org.uk/news/taste-food-sovereignty - and is well worth a read.

Clara

It is Clara's last day volunteering on the farm tomorrow, then she moves on to her next WWOOF placement, before heading home to Belgium for Christmas. Many thanks Clara!!



Veg boxes 19/11/21

We had 23 people working on the farm yesterday, most of them involved at some point with picking and packing for the veg boxes, so we were all finished by 4pm.

Work Experience and Training participants picking beetroot in the maincrop field.

One of our WWOOF volunteers, Ophelia, picking spring greens in the market garden.

Yesterday's 94 veg boxes contained:-

  • small boxes (£7) - potatoes, leeks, red beetroot, salad, rainbow chard, and a rocoto chilli;
  • standard boxes (£11) - potatoes, leeks, red beetroot, salad, rainbow chard, a crown prince squash, spring greens, and parsnips.

To request a joining form for our veg box scheme please email vegbox.bcf@bcents.org.uk.


New pop-hole door

Repairing a pop-hole door on one of our chicken sheds is not usually a newsworthy event, but one of our wwoofers, Warren, has created an incredible work of art on this one, so it is probably the most beautiful chicken pop-hole door in West Cornwall if not beyond...


Thank you Warren!


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Community Group Award Cornishman article


Printed in The Cornishman 11/11/21.


Early winter on the farm

Oddly, this is one of my favourite times of year on the farm, as the season starts to wind down and become more mellow, light draws in at both ends of the day, and we can turn our attention to all those jobs that have needed doing all year and we've had to put off till winter.

Dawn seen through the work experience polytunnel, on the way to let our chickens out for the day.

Clearing ivy, weeds and soil, from the packing shed roof to stop it leaking.

Repairing the gateway into our Market Garden.

A view of the coast whilst out delivering veg boxes one afternoon.

Winter skies over our polytunnels.

Sunset seen from the farmyard.

One of our polytunnels bursting with winter crops (mooli radishes, carrots, rocket, and Chinese cabbage).


Veg box harvesting

It's been a much nicer day for harvesting fresh veg from the fields this Thursday than it was last week! We finished earlier, didn't get wet, and the veg is less muddy (except for yesterday's potatoes which we dug up during a heavy shower).

Digging up leeks in the market garden.

Collecting pumpkins from the Propagation Station.

The 85 veg boxes we have put together this week contain:-

small box (£7) - potatoes, kale, pumpkin portion, onions, leeks, and mixed salad leaves;

standard box (£11) - potatoes, kale, pumpkin portion, onions, leeks, mixed salad leaves, cucumber, rainbow chard, and beetroot.

Phone us on 01736 788454 or email vegbox.bcf@bcents.org to enquire or join our scheme.


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Squash harvest 2021

Last week, before the weather was forecast to turn (which it has done!), we got out into our squash patch to harvest them all and lay them out in the Propagation Station for their skins to cure ready for storing and selling. This year we grew 900kg, our second-best year ever, and they are now available in the farm shop (and veg boxes and Sennen Market) priced at £2 per kilo, no matter what variety they are. This year we have Crown Prince, Blue Ballet, Jack-Be-Little, Jack-O-Lantern, Turk's Turban, and Uchiki Kuri squash, all of them are good eaters rather than empty carvers.



Thank you to all our harvesters!!


New hens

Yesterday we introduced 100 new point-of-lay Colombian Blacktail hens into our flock, and they are settling in well, even laying a handful of eggs already.



Community Group Award

Bosavern Community Farm is delighted to have been chosen by St. Just Town Council to receive this year's Community Group Award:-

"in recognition of your work in the community, for your achievements in working with local people with health issues, and helping people get into work, and for their [your] stepping up during the early stages of the pandemic to deliver fresh food to local people".

We would like to dedicate this award to all the people who have made positive contributions to the farm over the past twelve years, whose help and support have laid the foundations to make our work possible, and to all the people who are currently helping us to do everything we do for the community.

Many thanks to the council for voting for the farm, and we look forward to receiving this award on Feast Sunday (31st October).

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

St. Just Ordinalia 2021

Many congratulations to the Ordinalia team this year who put on an extraordinary show for two weeks in September, and performed come rain or shine, mist or fog. Bosavern Community Farm was proud to help by allowing a group of set builders to camp for free in one of the fields, for several weeks, and provide them with power, water, and their own compost toilet. Many thanks for allowing us to come and see the shows, they were unforgettable.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Ten years plus one birthday celebration

Our eagerly anticipated 10th birthday celebration had to be postponed due to Covid, and was eventually held more than one year later, on 10th October 2021. It was the best and busiest open day we've ever had, with hundreds of people enjoying the sunshine and having a magical day out on the farm, whilst showing their support for the project and appreciation for all the vital work we have carried out during the pandemic and subequent lockdowns.

Participants on the Bosavern Training and Work Experience course serving food in the Cow Shed Cafe.

Lawrence the Newmill potter with his wares for sale in the farmyard.

Kate with one of the children's craft projects, a pop-up mini-garden.

Lawrence demonstrating how to throw a pot on his wheel.

Two spoon carvers in the farmyard.

Will and Holly pressing and bobbing apples.

The Shindig Cloggers playing and dancing in the yard, as one of three of the musical performances.

The Raffidy Dumitz band.

And the Penzance Guizers morris-dancing side.

As well as all the above there were trips to collect eggs from the chickens led by Warren, a talk about regenerative agriculture from Holly, the screening our latest film by Florence, two raffles, welly wanging, a tug-of-war, and a tour of the polytunnels and market garden by Hugh - it was a very busy day!

Many many thanks to everybody who put time and effort into organising the day, for performing on the day, bringing their stalls along, providing or serving food, and for coming along to support your farm.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Recent veg boxes

We are now moving from summer crops (tomatoes etc...) to winter crops (leeks etc...) and the contents of our veg boxes reflect that. Yesterday's 90 boxes contained a selection from - Swiss chard, peppers, leeks, beetroot, kohl rabi (from a local organic farm), lemon verbena, red onions, potatoes, cucumber, and spring greens. Recent boxes have also contained brown onions, tomatoes, courgettes, runner beans, French beans, rainbow chard, kale, carrots and ring-of-fire chillies.

Rainbow chard in the market garden.

Participants of the Work Experience and Training scheme dressing leeks in the farmyard.

Veg boxes packed and ready to go.
Our veg boxes cost £7 for a small box (6 or 7 items), £11 for a standard box (9 to 11 items), £2 for half a dozen free-range non-GM-feed eggs, £1.50 home delivery, with optional breads, milk and yoghurt.


James, Jack, Belem and Angie

Since the last blog entry one month ago (busy times!) another four WWOOF volunteers have come to the ends of their residences here on the community farm, and as always we are very grateful for their help, and wish them well as they move on.

Angie, Jack and Belem, sowing winter salads in the Propagation Station, surrounded by onions in storage.

Belem and James mucking out one of the chicken sheds, a weekly Wednesday task (volunteers always welcome!).

Jack picking runner beans in the market garden.


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Friday morning plant stall

 

We host a plant stall every Friday morning here in the farmyard from 10am till 1pm, please call in to buy some plants and bring some cash with you - our farm shop is also open of course, and we accept cards.

Creating wildlife scrapes

On Tuesday 31st August we created a small area of wildlife scrapes in the corner of the allotment field, funded by the Penwith Landscape Partnership, in the expectation that over the next few years wildlife will colonise this area to form a thriving wetland habitat. 

The area beforehand, a field corner that is usually swampy in the winter.

Digging a series of small shallow scrapes.



Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Autumn 2021 newsletter

 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

BCF ALLOTMENTS

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.  Dont 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

BEES

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

Contact: training@bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk or phone Katie on 01736 272367 https://www.bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk

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: training@bosaverncommunityfarm.org.uk #bosavernfarm or call her now to find out more: 

01736 272367 This project is funded by the EU and Cornwall Council.

COB HOUSE

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.

SENNEN MARKET

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.

VOLUNTEERS’ SURVEY

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 johnsonyoung305@btinternet.com or Terry 07972901946 tezsut@hotmail.com 

DATES FOR THE DIARY

September

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 

October

SUN 10th October BCF Celebration. Noon – 4 pm

AGM

The date for the 2021 AGM is to be determined