May 2017: Full Steam Ahead at Incredible Edible Hooky

Since the last newsletter, our Spring Working Party has taken place. New additions were made to existing sites which are now planted with, amongst other things, rhubarb, chives, garlic, onions, radish, salad leaves, mint, parsley, rosemary, beans and raspberry canes. Please keep an eye out for signs telling you when things are ready to be picked. Remember this food is free for all. We hope that it might inspire some of you to have a go at growing veg and herbs in your own garden. It is incredible satisfying to pick fresh produce and cook up a feast!

After a heroic effort by Chipping Norton Green Gym and our volunteers, the hard landscaping for the new Apothecary Garden at the Health Centre was established. Sadly, within days, our large water butt was stolen. This brought everything to a halt as we realised we needed some ironmongery made to measure in order to secure them in place. Of course, without water, we have not been able to plant up the beds. However, the good news is that having finally managed to find someone to do the work, the plans for the garden are moving forward. Hopefully it will be planted up by early June.

Our next big project is to establish a new garden up at the school. We will be fundraising a significant amount of money to make this happen. Some of you will already be aware that a competition has been running at the school to design the new garden. We will be choosing the winning entry in the next couple of weeks. Budget will be set aside for new beds, a greenhouse, cold frames, pots etc. It will be a fabulous resource for the children to learn how to grow their own food. As ever, to make this work, we need at least two volunteers to run a gardening group once a week during term time. About an hour and a half of your time will be required. There will be support from Incredible Edible and working parties will be organised if larger chunks of work need to be undertaken at the end and beginning of the growing season to tidy up, or prepare for planting. This is a very important part of the project, so if you can give of your time, your generosity will touch many people, perhaps for years to come.

On another note, one of our aims is to spread skills within our village, perhaps reclaiming some of that knowledge which is being lost over time. The subject topic of the half day workshops could be as varied as how to build a cold frame, to how to construct a raised bed, through to how to grow tomatoes, keep bees or forage for food. Anton de Beer who runs Country Farm Eggs (www.countryfarmeggs.co.uk), situated on the edge of the village, has kindly agreed to run our first workshop on keeping chickens. As Anton is also a chef, perhaps there will also be some top tips on making the most of the produce. We are looking out for future topics that are of interest to people. Please talk to us and let us know what you like to learn about. Anything to go with food or drink and growing locally could be on the agenda. Email us on incredibleediblehooky@gmail.com, or comment on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IEHooky/).

Remember, if you want to get involved in any way, no matter how small, you will be welcomed. We will do all that we can to find something that matches your wishes. If you want to meet us, we are also starting to hold regular, informal, social meet ups on the last Thursday of every month, beginning on the 29th June at 7pm at The Sun Inn. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sarah Morris