It is always interesting and illuminating to hear from a past PDC graduate to hear what they have been wrestling with and working through since they finished their course. This came today from a participant from 3 years ago, who had an active interesting in food growing and land work talk about the challenges of pursuing these ambitions.
Hi Steve! I’ve been keeping up with the blog and it’s good to see what’s going on in Wales with the projects .
Last time I messaged I was looking to set up a market garden, I’ve been trying to do this for three years and have not succeeded yet! Land was hard to come by where I was living in Stratford (or should I say land that people would let me use) and so I moved to Birmingham thinking that an Urban farm would be better placed for a client base.
I’ve met up with a few food co-ops and local growers who have looked into trying similar things and we have all come across the same problems. In short, peoples attitude in the city towards food is not currently at a level where a urban food farm can thrive.
Peoples attitude needs to change, as you are well aware, indeed we have no option but to change with the coming challenges!
So I’m currently in talks with a few people and have started to work out a new project in order to change the publics relationship with food. The project is less about the amount of food grow at the end of the season but about peoples connection with the years cycle and how that relates to food production, harvest, the soil biology and preparing for next year. In a world of short termism, these are valuable skills to know.
The idea is to turn peoples back yard lawn into a field of grain. Rather than a field in the city, it needs to be personal and apart of the individual’s personal space in order for them to engage regularly. I will be visiting each household at key stages in the cycle to work with the individual about what to do next and to assist with the activity.
In the end the participant will have experienced the life cycle of the grain, from preparing the land (some or indeed a lot of preparation will be needed on ground that was once a compacted lawn) sowing, observing growth, harvesting, threshing, seed saving, milling and baking.
Oh I forgot to mention as well that the project will use regenerative agriculture techniques instead of current agricultural land management practices.
The project will be small to start with, only an handful of people in the first year or so, and then we can see if the project has legs.
I’m currently writing out an expenditure and have come across a problem, I’m struggling to find a place to buy any grain that is an old variety. Places to buy heirloom veg seem more available than heirloom grains.
Would you know of any organisation or individuals saving grain seeds?
Hope you are well!
A reply came back from Emma of www.cultivate.uk.com the horticulture training centre in Newtown..
You can’t buy heritage grain. You can get small amounts from heritage seed libraries, and spend years bulking it up. Otherwise need to get to know growers and get direct from them.
The questioner came up with two links from the USA.
Need t check on the restrictions of sending seeds across international boundaries.