Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
barrels and so on. Hazel sticks are coppiced from a National Trust site two miles away. The
compost toilet has been such a good demonstration of the art that the City Council now re-
commends compost toilets for other allotment sites.
There are regular volunteer days every Thursday, with some 10 to 20 people attending
each week, and courses in organic gardening are held there. The allotments are split into
small plots and different community groups have taken them on, including Asian women,
children's Wildlife Watch and adults with learning difficulties. Youth volunteer groups and
probation teams are also involved, and school groups come as part of their GCSE citizen-
ship course. The site is also a popular venue for outdoor parties. All Sarah's work involves
links with and ideas from the permaculture group.
The Permaculture Group's fruit tree project demonstrates just how much can be
achieved by simply raising awareness and providing a bit of organisation. They wanted to
plant an orchard but didn't have any land, so they decided to get fruit trees established by
making it easy for people to plant them in their own gardens.
First they placed an article in the green newsletter which the Community Centre pub-
lished at the time, saying why it's a good thing to plant fruit trees. Alongside it was an order
form for trees at wholesale prices. All the ordering and other work was done by volunteers
and a small grant of £100 covered out of pocket expenses. The permaculture people put on
a planting and pruning demonstration on pick-up day, and aftercare information was giv-
en in the newsletter over the next two years. “It was a lovely day in Easton,” says Sarah.
“Everywhere you looked there were people carrying trees.” In the first year it was mainly
green types who bought trees, but in subsequent years it has been a wider mix of people.
One of the hands-on activities which the Bristol Permaculture Group does together is
preparing the permaculture demonstration garden at Glastonbury Festival. Each year from
March to June they have stay-over weekends on the festival site, tending the garden, mak-
ing interpretation boards and constructing things like earth ovens and turf roofs. It is a good
way for members who have not got their own project to get involved and learn more about
permaculture, and of course a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate permaculture to the
hundreds of thousands of people who come to the festival.
The Lampeter Permaculture Group also grew out of a permaculture course, but it has
evolved very differently. In this sparsely populated rural area most of the permaculturists
have smallholdings or at least large gardens, and one of the things they need is help with
tasks which are too big for them individually.
They meet once a month on rotation at different people's plots. In the morning they work
together, and after a shared lunch they have an informal chat, perhaps sharing ideas or ex-
changing surplus produce.
“The most important thing for me is the element of support,” says smallholder Richard
Bambrey, one of the members. “I sometimes feel quite lonely and I know other people do.
The group allows ideas to germinate and then be nurtured in a supportive environment.”
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