Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Farm factoids

For our AGM on Thursday 20th November we wrote a set of facts about the community farm, one for each attendee to read out at the end of the meeting, and here they are:-

Your farm was established in 2010 making us the second-longest-running CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project in Cornwall (Camel CSA was established in 2008).

Your farm has produced veg boxes without a break every week since our first box in June 2011.

Your farm ran courses for local unemployed adults from 2020 to 2022, for which we won St. Just Council’s Community Group of the Year trophy in 2021, and the Plunkett Foundation’s “Rural Community Business Award” for Employment and Training in 2023.

Your farm has achieved “Level 5 – Outstanding” in the RHS South West In Bloom “It’s Your Neighbourhood” section for the past nine years, and in 2023 was adjudged to be the second best community growing project in the South West of England.

Wildlife seen on the farm includes heron, barn owl, kestrel, red kite, buzzard, fox, weasel, pole cat, grey squirrel, hedgehog, roe deer, adder, Cornish chough, and slow worm (and two goldfish living in an old cattle trough).

In the 2023 season your farm grew over 700kg of tomatoes, with a value of over £4000.

Your farm has engaged with several thousand volunteers since it began in 2010, some of whom have gone on to work in the organic farming sector, including setting up their own market gardens, and even starting vegetable gardens in Rohingya refugee camps on the Myanmar border.

In a recent price check, our organic cauliflowers (bought locally with zero packaging) were selling at exactly the same price as Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

In the first Covid lockdown our veg box numbers hit a record 156 per week. Since then they have gradually reduced to just under half that amount.

In the 2022 growing season your farm produced over £58,000 of vegetables.

In 2022 in response to the cost of living crisis we set up our Community Veg Box Fund, which has so far raised £2500 from private donors, allowing us to deliver veg boxes to local people who would otherwise struggle to access fresh local healthy food.

Your farm has hosted WWOOF volunteers from all over the world, including Brazil, Argentina, Tajikistan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Senegal, Israel, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Russia, Finland, New Zealand and Australia.

Our polytunnels all have names – The Mothership, The Propagation Station, The Sausage, Valentine, Nigel, Imogen, and Castle Dracula.

Our first “farm shop” was Hugh’s Grandad’s old bathroom cabinet balanced on the concrete plinth at the roadside, selling salad bags and eggs, with a margarine tub for payments (in 2010).

We used to fill a wheelbarrow full of boxes of eggs and push it into St. Just to sell eggs round the doors.

Probably the best archaeological find to date is a carved stone spindle whorl used for hand-spinning wool several thousand years ago, found when preparing potato beds on the market garden in 2011, similar to the ones on display in Penlee Museum. We have also found knapped flints, a musket ball, a Salvation Army cap badge, and half a Spanish silver coin, as well as hundreds of clay pipe stems.

We once took a soil sample up to Duchy College to be assessed, and they told us we couldn’t grow vegetables here!

Your farm used to be a cattle farm, and for fifty years the farmer was Penrose Harvey – he died in 2021, and his niece now has an allotment on the farm.

“Bosavern” means the settlement of Afern, who is believed to have been a Danish viking.

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