As part of the road to carbon neutrality, TVEG’s ultimate goal, looking at local food was one of the main strands. Supporting local growers and encouraging more local growing was considered the first step.
In 2007, at a meeting of the Food Group, the link was made between growers and land and Hill Cottage Market Garden was born and an allotment group was formed. The Allotment Group took on the allotment on Knighton Town Field in the Autumn of 2007. The plot had not been cultivated for many years so, to start, we covered half the allotment with carpet, cardboard, and plastic and built a compost bin.
Early in the following year we started the cultivation process and harvested from over half the plot in our first year. We had some sociable work parties with refreshments on set evenings and some weekends. Some members enjoyed the sociability of working together whilst other members like to visit at other times and work alone. We communicate with a log book kept in the shed. People harvested vegetables as and when they wanted and no-one fell out!
In 2009 we had cultivated the whole site and had a brilliant harvest and planted fruit bushes and an apple tree.
The group is open to anyone, while following the rules of the allotments dictates that children have to be accompanied by an adult.
The aims of the group are as follows:
1. To promote local organic food growing
2. To link with other growers and groups
3. Growing vegetables for local people
4. Education for growing
5. To generate income to fund development of this project and contribute to TVEG
It was decided that the allotmenteers would have first call on the vegetables and surplus would be sold on a market stall. The first summer Hill Cottage Market sold some on the stalls held at an occasional market at the Clock Tower.
We have had a lot of support from HCMG in the way of advice, seed and plants. We also started The Zero Miles Stall at the Farmer’s Market to sell surplus vegetables from the allotment and any other gardener who wished.
Come and grow fresh vegetables and get fit with us. You can give as much or as little time as you wish!
Changes in 2011
At a meeting of the allotment group we made the hard decision to change the way we manage the allotment. There have not been enough members able to commit themselves to running and harvesting the communal allotment throughout this year. Rather than just give it up we have agreed to try a different approach which some people have said they would be more interested in.
Decision: To divide part of the allotment into strips for individual members to manage for themselves and grow what they wish.
The communal, permanently planted areas, (Fruit trees and bushes, strawberries, raspberries, asparagus and herbs) will continue to be managed and harvested by all allotment members.
Conditions for having an individual strip:
· Renewable annually
· All plots must be managed organically
· Annual allotment rent to be divided equally between plot holders (rent is currently £20pa)
· Every plot holder must undertake a minimum of 4 sessions per year to manage and maintain the communal parts of the allotment and can of course harvest their share of the produce.
· The shed and tools are all communal.
Phone Anne Mary 01547 528833or email her.