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Number of visitors/volunteers can accommodate: groups of 30 depending on season.
Connections & webs - Housing Co-op links to farm based enterprises and the production of food by co-p members. These link together in an informal web of mutual support providing labour and inputs from one to another supporting a micro economy within the farm. This links in turn to the wider local community by a number of business partnerships, through sales of produce and through the involvement of other local people and growers contributing to the activities on site and utilising the resources. The interconnected nature of this has provided resilience to the overall project when members come and go. Despite cycles of success and failure on different levels this has empowered individuals, over time, to take self responsibility for their activities within an overall framework and maintained democratic management. Other webs cycle nutrients around the site and provide raw materials for onsite processes.
Growing techniques – Members have their own plots, some managed for commercial production, and others not, leading to a variety of different growing styles and attitudes. We are registered organic with The Soil Association.
Appropriate resource use – We no longer have a tractor. Food production is small scale, by rotorvator and hand tools. Woodland management is also small scale, mainly for firewood for ourselves. We have spring water that is pumped 300m in distance and 30m in height by a hydraulic ram pump, using water pressure alone (no fuel). There are some compost toilets.
Exploiting niches - Specific niches have been exploited; for example mushrooms and micro salads being produced in various places where few other crops could be produced, such as crumbling buildings and spare sections of the propagation system at different times/seasons. Imaginative marketing of wild plants within salads etc utilised to increase yields and minimise inputs. Edible flowers have been successfully marketed. Hedgerows are managed and yields taken from them (wild foods, weaving materials, etc).
Zone & Sector - The site falls readily into zones with the most intensive production concentrated towards the farm buildings. Growing plots are located in sectors of the site that balance greatest shelter from prevailing winds with aspects that allow maximised sunlight (S & SE facing). Windbreaks have been established to facilitate this. Woodland covers about half the land, mainly on steeper, more exposed and north facing slopes.
Cycling - Resources on site are cycled through a variety of enterprises with the by products being utilise elsewhere. Woodlands support mushroom, fruit and timber production. By-products from these provide nutrients to other growing and build organic content in soils. Timber products are utilised by crafts people on site. Small scale poultry production utilises food/farm wastes and assist in IPM. Waste vegetable oil is recycled to power some farm vehicles. The original design allowed for 2/3 of the site to be providing the nutrition to be composted and applied to the growing plots. This has only been a partial success with hay from site exchanged with a neighbour in return for FYM proving an easier option for most growers. Scale and design of onsite composting could and needs to be improved.
Additional yields - The resources are shared by recreational and educational visitors who also provide markets for site produce, increasing overall yield from the site. Visitors participate in both formal and informal information exchange with the community, creating inspiration and providing critical feedback.