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  • Will we get the support to help us expand?

    Posted on March 22nd, 2010 charlotte No comments

    It’s all a bit nerve-racking.  We’ll hear soon whether we’re going to get funding to help widen our activities.

    A Lottery Food Fund assessor came for a site visit on Sunday.  Kate Harris needed to see for herself exactly who we are and what we get up to.  She asked our core group members lots of leading questions and met the volunteer growing team. 

    Kate watched the volunteers prepare vegetable beds, spread compost, plant Jerusalem artichokes, sow parsley seed for germination in the polytunnel and renew their attack on the dockleaves which are sprouting everywhere in the mild weather.

    It’s her job to report back and make a recommendation on our funding bid.  The all-important decision will be made in April.  It’s a highly competitive scheme, so we reckon we’ve got about a 50% chance – at best.

    In May we’ll hear whether we’ve been successful in our application for funding from the East Cornwall Local Action Group.

    Whatever the result, we’ll keep going as a CSA – growing vegetables, working with the seasons and providing our members with a share of the harvest.  It’s just that if our bids are unsuccessful, we’ll have to wait before we can invest in much-needed equipment, set up an education and training programme and provide secure employment. 

    For the first time on Sunday everyone had the chance to meet Daisy, expert grower Jane Mellowship’s five-week-old daughter.  She arrived in a waterproof  “baby trug” – ideal in the circumstances!

    Many thanks to expert grower Mark Norman and volunteers Cath, Charlotte, Danny, Frank, Kitty, Mark M, Mike H, Mike S and Robert.

  • Keeping up the momentum

    Posted on October 3rd, 2009 charlotte No comments

    Our seasonal veg boxes will continue to be available to members throughout the winter months. 

    Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s core group has decided that continuity of supply should be a top priority.  This is despite the fact that we’ve harvested most of the vegetables we’ve grown this year.

    veg-boxes-camel csa  29-09-09

    By the start of next year, we’ll have eaten all our own remaining parsnips, carrots, onions, celeriac, parsley and beetroot.  By then we will have only cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts and (hopefully) some sprouting broccoli to fall back on.  That’s provided the rabbits leave some for us.

    So the proportion of vegetables we buy in from other local growers will continue to increase significantly over the next few weeks.

    Expanding

    Our financial applications to the Lottery’s “Changing spaces” Local Food programme and the East Cornwall Local Action Group are about to be submitted.  Core group members have been furiously working out last-minute cash flow projections.  Then we face several nerve-racking weeks while we wait on tenterhooks to discover whether we’ve been successful. 

    p & p 3 25-09-09We need an injection of capital to realise our dream of expanding and consolidating our growing-our-own-food project. 

    It will fund the purchase of equipment, materials and resources to set up a self-sustaining growing operation on our existing site.  It’ll also support the start-up costs of providing a training and educational programme for volunteers and local groups.

    We want to employ an expert grower to manage cultivation, guide volunteers and oversee group visits to our St Kew Highway plot.

     

    After the three-year funding period elapses, we’re confident we can be totally self-sustaining.  But we need that initial boost to invest in equipment like a small tractor, packing shed, bore hole, poly tunnels, tools and the all-important predator-proof fencing. 

     

    However we’re well aware that there is only a 50% chance (at best) of getting Lottery money.  The competition is stiff: there have been so many applications for a share of the £50m pot of gold.  

     

    Committed

     

    We’ve proved as a group that we can get a community agriculture project off the ground and keep the momentum going, come what may.

     

    p & p 02-10-10None of this would have been possible without such committed volunteer input from a large proportion of our members.  Membership now stands at just under 50 households. 

     

    As well as the three expert growers, we reckon that we now have around 25 regular volunteers working at various administrative tasks during the week, tending the plot and cultivating the vegetables in all weathers on a Sunday, or picking and packing the boxes every Friday morning.

     

    Along with the land so generously made available by the Brown family, our dedicated and loyal volunteers are our most valuable asset.