Potato Day 2011

THE  FIRST SE ESSEX POTATO DAY! Leigh-on-Sea Allotment & Leisure Garden Association in association with SE Essex Organic Gardeners and kindly hosted by Trust Links Fifteen years ago, as part of the HDRA’s (now Garden Organic) commitment to biodiversity, the first Potato Day was held, the brainchild of Jackie Gear MBE. It has now grown to a major event attracting thousands of visitors to Ryton. Several local organic groups (and latterly allotments, other gardening groups and garden centres) have picked up on the idea. Ours was a joint effort, both financially and otherwise, organised and run entirely by volunteers from the Leigh-on-Sea Allotment & Leisure Garden Association, in conjunction with Julian Turner, organiser of the East Anglia Potato Day, and kindly hosted by Trust Links. Julian warned us straightaway that the first lesson we would learn would be the weight of the stock and that we needed to accept that setting up took time and oomph! We offered over thirty varieties (one third organic), which we sold by the tuber. Well, it rained persistently all day, and the gazebo was challenging at the beginning, but everyone was pleased with the result. On the day, we took £45.00 on Alan Romans’ booklets, £112.00 admission fees (112 people), £320.70 on potato tubers, making a total of £477.70. Anji Stratton, Trust Links’ Training and Employment Co-ordinator, very kindly supplied welcome refreshments during the event. As our ‘residual stock was significant but not intimidating’ we decided to try our luck at the Leigh Farmers’ Market, followed by a few more gallant efforts during the next few weekends at the Leigh clubhouse until Robert Wiseman carted the remaining tubers off to his local car boot sale for us! We say THANK YOU TO everyone who made this happen, especially Audrey, Barbara and Alan and, of course, to Phil Cooper for including our event in his website potatoday.org Carole (Click thumbnails to enlarge)   … [Read more…]

July Website Updates

As well as the new items that are appearing in the News & Events section of the website; there have been a couple of new additions to the ‘static’ pages: The July 2011 Newsletter is available on the Newsletter Archive page; or direct: here Our membership renewal form can now be downloaded from the Join Us page; or direct: here …and there is a new article on Potato Blight, available from the Hints & Tips Page; or direct: here … [Read more…]

Landmark Decision on Peat-Extraction in Salford

Salford City Council today refused compost manufacturer William Sinclair’s application to extend their expired permission, with regard to peat extraction on Chat Moss in Greater Manchester. Prior to the decision being made; Salford City Council’s Lead for Planning, Cllr Derek Antrobus, had said: “As far as we know, this is the first time an application for peat extraction will be considered on grounds of principle rather than the impact on neighbours” and “If permission is refused I expect there to be an appeal which will be an important test case for the Government on the strength of its environmental policies.” – so it all now depends on just how far William Sinclair are prepared to take things. It is of course also the case that the planning refusal only covers the portion of the site within Salford; the other part is in Wigan, where a decision is yet to be reached. Further information is available on the ‘Organic In The Garden’ forum: here Update 6 July 2011: As widely expected; a formal appeal has been lodged against Salford Council’s decision. … [Read more…]

GM Crops – Farmer to Farmer

Michael Hart, a conventional livestock family farmer, has been farming in Cornwall for nearly thirty years and has actively campaigned on behalf of family farmers for over fifteen years. In this short documentary he investigates the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA ten years after their introduction. He travels across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM. More info on the GM Crops – Farmer to Farmer website: here … [Read more…]