Announcing SoilHack 2017

So my inner soil geek is having kittens right now. I’m SO excited about this gathering…

Soil Hack Gathering Poster Centre

SoilHack Gathering 2017

What: A weekend to share our passion, knowledge, and skills for building healthy soils

When: 27 – 28th May 2017 (arrivals welcome Friday evening)

Where: Brook End LAND Centre, Compton Dundon – near Street and Glastonbury in Somerset

How to book your place: Please email eat@feedavalon.org.uk
About: SoilHack is a knowledge sharing network focused on soil. It is part of the FarmHack movement and has been born out of the need to save what soils we have with the best information possible.
The first national SoilHack Gathering is taking place this summer at Brook End LAND Centre just outside Street (near Glastonbury) in Somerset. We invite you to come to contribute your experiences, share good ideas and learn about soil regeneration. This is a DIY movement where we collectively learn about soils and apply our learning in our own gardens and farms. We try to bring the best research to life and share it horizontally.
The Gathering will involve workshops led by participants with practical experience in soil biology, biochar, agroforestry, cover cropping and more. We will also create a space to explore how to build the SoilHack movement in an effort to defend, repair and build soils that are essential to life. It is a not-for-profit event with financial support to enable access and participation. Contributions are sliding scale between £25 – £125 for the weekend including meals and camping.
To book your place and offer a workshop please email eat@feedavalon.org.uk

EAT 2017: A whole bunch of exciting courses happening this year

I am proud to be the Education and Training Coordinator at my worker’s co-operative Feed Avalon. We do our best to organise accessible community learning in food system skills.

Check out our amazing array of courses and workshops happening this year:

  • FermentationWorkshop1Cooking with Nuts and Seeds – Learn about how to cook with nuts and seeds in this one-day course! We will be sharing wholesome, plant-based recipes with seeds and nuts being the principle ingredients. The course will cover seeds and nuts culinary uses from nutrition to flavour. | Saturday 18th February 2017 | http://www.feedavalon.org.uk/nutsandseeds/

 

  • Grow Your Own Garden – A series of workshops about how to get started in growing your own food. The course will cover how to build raised beds, compost making, seed saving and sowing, fruit tree grafting and other forms of propagation, as well as basic design and planning to make the most of your garden. | February & March 2017 | http://www.feedavalon.org.uk/grow-your-own-garden-course/

 

  • Introduction to Fermentation – In the workshop, you’ll be rediscovering the old methods of preserving food. We’ll be preparing, making and tasting fermented foods from all over the globe; a variety of sauerkrauts, kimchi, sourdough bread and more. | Saturday 11th March 2017 | http://www.feedavalon.org.uk/fermentationcourse/

 

  • apple vegHealth at Every Size – This 5-week course offers a new and compassionate approach to weight and well-being, shifting the focus away from the frustrating pursuit of weight loss in favour of self-care and developing long-term healthy habits. Over 5 sessions, we will explore nutrition, and building a positive relationship with ourselves and with food, in a friendly and supportive group. | 1st March – 29th March 2017. Every Wednesday 10am – 12pm | http://www.feedavalon.org.uk/healthateverysize/

 

  • Nutrition Day School – This day school will explore the links between food, health and well-being, demystifying nutritional concepts and science, and emphasising a sustainable and pleasurable approach to feeding ourselves. | Thursday 30th March 2017 | http://www.feedavalon.org.uk/nutritiondayschool/

 

  • Polytunnel Growing – A hands-on practical course covering all aspects of polytunnel growing- crop choices, crop rotation timing and planning, fertility, watering/irrigation, disease and pest control (including slugs!), propagation, planting sowing, harvesting, and use of space around the outside of the tunnel. | Wednesday 3rd May 2017 | Full details coming soon.

 

  • IMG_6182An Introduction to Herbalism – A two-day place introducing herbalism and plant-based medicines. | Dates TBC | Full details coming soon.

 

  • Weekend Foraging Course – A weekend course introducing the art of wild food foraging. This course will cover foraging safety, plant identification, habitat-care and responsible foraging, as well as an introduction to multiple wild edibles. | Dates TBC | Full details coming soon.

 

  • Vegan Permaculture Design Course – A 10-day course delivered in 2 x 5-day blocks, taking place outside Glastonbury at Feed Avalon’s Education Centre, Brook End. A comprehensive course introducing permaculture ethics, principles and design methods. With Graham Burnett and Nicole Vosper from Feed Avalon. | Sat July 1 – Weds 5th July 2017 & 5 Aug – Weds 9th Aug 2017 | http://www.feedavalon.org.uk/dates-announced-for-full-permaculture-design-course/

Inspiring day learning about Pond Design and Construction

Members of my workers’ co-op Feed Avalon and interested local people spent the day learning about pond design and construction with local horticulturist Philip Knight. The one-day course was designed to support people to learn the basics of how to design and build ponds. We learned how to create pond habitats that support wildlife to thrive.

As part of the day, we had the pleasure of visiting Glastonbury Abbey to look at their two contrasting ponds. We saw the medieval fish pond, as well as a larger wildlife pond.

Thank you so much to Philip who taught everyone so much. We hope to use this knowledge to design a series of ponds at Avalon Wildflower Park. The reclaimed BMX track has a fantastic mixture of levels and we hope to create a little wetland paradise for local wildlife. To get involved please email bon@feedavalon.org.uk

IMG_2598 IMG_2627 IMG_2628 IMG_2629 IMG_2634 IMG_2635 IMG_2636 IMG_2638 IMG_2661 IMG_2662 IMG_2666 IMG_2669 IMG_2672 IMG_2675 IMG_2680 IMG_2681 IMG_2689

Learning about Mushrooms at the Red Brick Building Community Garden

Patrick Mallery from the Upcycled Mushroom Company and Feed Bristol taught a one-day mushroom cultivation course this July in Glastonbury. Hosted at the Red Brick Building Community Garden, the course explored the basics of mushroom growing. Folks learned how to inoculate mushroom logs and build mushroom beds. We hope that there can be some mushroom production at the Red Brick Building Community Garden and Avalon Wildflower Park – please join us at our regular gardening clubs to help make this happen!

My workers’ co-op Feed Avalon will be hosting a three-day comprehensive mushroom identification and cultivation in November. If you’re interested please email Nicole at eat@feedavalon.org.uk

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Beginners Plant Identification Course

plantid1How to book: To book please email eat@feedavalon.org.uk
When: Saturday 2nd July 2016, 10am – 4pm

Where: At Brook End LAND Centre, Compton Dundon, Near Street & Glastonbury

Do you want to learn more about wild plants but don’t know where to start? Do you often wonder what plants are, but not know how to identify them?What: This one day course will provide you with an overview of some of the most common families of flowering plants in the UK – once you know these recognising plants will get a lot easier, and you’ll start seeing how unfamiliar plants are related to ones you already know.

Keys are the most frequently used method to identify plants, but they require a bit of prior knowledge. Come along to get that knowledge and learn how to use keys in a friendly, accessible environment. Open to complete beginners but also suitable for improvers.

By the end of the course you will have:
• Basic knowledge of plant taxonomy
• Knowledge of the key features of common families of UK flowering plants
• Familiarity with common species of UK wild plants
• Knowledge of basic plant physiology
• Knowledge of key plant habitats

You will know how to:
• How to use knowledge of families to help identify unfamiliar plants • How to use a key
• How to make a short dichotomous key
• How to use a hand lens

Cost: The course is free for adults in receipt of state benefits, otherwise £10-£50 donation. Bring lunch to share. Booking essential. Please bring a hands len if you have one and any plant ID books you have.

About the Tutor: Ellen Percival is a botanist with a background in sustainable horticulture and ethnobotany. Originally trained at Duchy College and Schumacher College she now specialises in wild plants of the UK. She is a regular contributor to community radio on topics ranging from plants and fungi to the history of witchcraft.

Plant ID course

Forget the summer, it’s all about the SPRING Soil School!

DIY Soil Care Strategies // Composting // Mycorrhizae Green manures // Plant teas // Mulching // Biochar

IMG_3835Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th March 2016, near Glastonbury

The course will cover:

• Identifying different soils, and understanding their
structures, strengths & weaknesses
• The soil food web & the billions of microorganisms that live in soil
• No dig gardening & soil health
• The politics of soils – why they are eroding around the world & what we can do about it.

Plus how to:

– use mycorrhizal applications to increase the health of your soil – make amazing compost & explore the different composting techniques
– make and use compost and plant teas
– master mulching
– use green manures & cover crops to build fertility – use and make biochar

The course will involve practical, participatory sessions to make soil science accessible and understandable. It aims to share
agroecological approaches that can support our communities to feed themselves, while minimising inputs and creating systems that build soil health by working with nature.

The course is led by experienced horticulturalists and growers from workers cooperative, Feed Avalon, as well as external tutors who are leaders in their field.

The course includes a home-grown, home-made lunch and salad, as well as refreshments. Camping accommodation is available for £5 per night at Brook End, the LAND Centre that is hosting the course.

Cost: The cost of the course is banded on the basis of income:

  • Up to 14K p/year £60
  • 14K-20K p/year £100
  • 20K upwards £120

There is a limited number of free places for adults in receipt of state benefits in Somerset. Please contact us as soon as possible if you have child care or additional needs, so we can support you to participate.

How to book: To book please email eat@feedavalon.org.uk

This course is supported by Somerset Skills & Learning.

Spring Soil School 2016

Grow Your Own Garden Course this Spring

The Grow Your Own Garden Course is a fabulous free course for local residents in Glastonbury and Street to learn about how to grow food. All of the sessions will take place the Red Brick Building Community Garden. Support with childcare is also available. Please contact eat@feedavalon.org.uk to let us know you’re coming so we can be aware of any needs you have. Please share!

The course is kindly supported by Somerset Skills & Learning CIC.

GYOG 2016

Don’t miss Glastonbury Harvest Show!

Glastonbury Harvest Show 2015

Glastonbury Harvest Show highlights the importance of local food & community, and celebrates the joy & benefits of growing your own produce.

It is in its eighth year and takes place annually at Glastonbury Town Hall.

The date of the next Harvest Show is Saturday 12th September 2015.

What will be taking place?

  • Members of Glastonbury Country Market will provide refreshments all day
  • There will be stalls selling local produce and displaying information about local food projects
  • There will be a whole host of activities going on, click here to find out more.

The event is supported by Glastonbury Town Council, Glastonbury Gardeners’ Group, Feed Avalon, Mendip Community Credit Union, Incredible Edible Somerset, Oaklands & Sweetacre nurseries, Torganics & Somerset Community Food.

Rosettes are sponsored by Glastonbury Spring Water.

Many thanks to all of the organisations that have donated prizes – a full list of their names will be displayed on the day.

Timetable of Events (subject to change)

Show entries to be received: 9:00-10:15 am

Judging: 10:30-12:15 pm

Show open to the public from 12:30 pm

Prize winners collect prize money: 12:30-2:45 pm

Award of prizes and rosettes: 1:30 pm

Raffle drawn: 2:30pm

Afternoon activities: see below

Auction of Produce: 3 pm (any entries not collected by 2.55 pm will be auctioned)

 

Afternoon Activities

  • Children’s activities
  • Opportunity to talk to local food-related groups and organisations
  • In celebration of the ‘International Year of Soils’, members of Feed Avalon will be holding a Soil Surgery 1:00-3:00 pm. in the small hall. Bring a sample of your soil to discover how it could be improved.