In the garden we’re…

SAVE OUR SEEDS – an inspiring gathering of growers

Last weekend Embercombe hosted an event organised by The Soil Association and The Landworkers’ Alliance, as part of The Great Seed Festival.  The event brought together food producers to be informed about the realities of the crisis we face regarding seeds, and to empower each other with skills, inspiration and knowledge to take strong and committed action to reclaim seeds into the hands of people, not industry.

The vast majority of the crop varieties that existed 100 years ago are no longer grown.  The biodiversity of our fields and of our diets has been reduced starkly.  Seeds are increasingly in the hands of – even owned by – large companies, no longer the free, unownable part of our world that they always were.  And the skills of seed saving – once, one of the most important practices of every farmer and grower – are now largely lost in our society.  This is where we are.

This weekend it was evident that there is a strong fire that burns inside people to reclaim control of our seeds, reskill in the art and science of seed saving, and stand up for the biodiversity of our land and of the future.

Seeds are full of wonder – they hold the potential of life within them in all its myriad forms.  They are our inheritance from the countless generations who have gone before and shaped our world.  They are what we will leave for our children.

This weekend we launched a network of seed savers who commit to standing up for our seeds and reclaiming some of what has been lost – who commit to learn the ways of saving and breeding seeds, of recreating locally adapted varieties, of exchanging seeds and knowledge and stories and rebuilding a strong land-based community.

Whether you are a grower or an eater (or both!) the choices that we make about our food are political, environmental and spiritual.  If you wish to learn about open pollinated seeds, about the politics of our seed industry, about the practice of seed saving, about the seed savers’ network or much else besides, then perhaps the following links will prove useful.

www.open-pollinated-seeds.org.uk

www.landworkersalliance.org.uk

www.soilassociation.org

A conversation with… Keira

Kiera McNicholas – a left handed student of life (metaphorically and physically), a wanderer, passionate learner, food lover, farmer, water lover, 3 month volunteer…

 kiera photo

What inspires you?

Lately I have felt extremely inspired by people around me who live their truth. This feels so raw and so simple. In acting on this inspiration and diving deep into my truth I have deepened my sense of gaining inspiration. It is a vicious cycle I am so glad to be caught up in.

How did you come accross  Embercombe?

I was looking for an residential environmental education center to volunteer at last summer and wanted to try and be near family in England (who I hadn’t seen in over 3 years), so I google searched environmental education centres in South Devon. There were a few but I knew in my gut that there was something special about Embercombe. (My gut was right and led me to a special, beauty filled, reality of the life I have been reaching for and dreaming for for years.)

What is the hardest thing about being a volunteer at Embercombe?

Arriving and needing to be comfortable in myself and confident enough to ask questions. I felt extremely overwhelmed with new things when I first arrived. This is part of why I feel like I love and grow from Embercombe so much. When I am passionately taking responsibility for making my life what it is, when I get thrown in the deep end I find the muscles I need to swim pretty quickly. In this way I really shape my reality rather than feeling like I need to fit into the box of expectations outside of myself so even though it was the hardest part I am also extremely grateful for how the reality unfolded.  

What has been the most surprising thing you have experienced at embercombe?

Hm, the most surprising. Probably how much personal growth I have noticed in a small amount of time, say 3 months, 2 weeks, 1 conversation… It seems constant.

What will you take with you from your time here?

So much. Life feels so real at Embercombe that it is hard to single out or separate… Beautiful memories, unforgettable relationships… Most importantly a deeper level of self respect and inner strength than I had tasted before my time at Embercombe. Really and honestly feeling as though when I priority self respect all will fall into place beautifully, and in a way that can be hard to see though I believe is true, in doing this I will show and share real love with those in my life.

 What would be the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking of volunteering at Embercombe?

Volunteering at Embercombe, as is the case for life, is what you make it. Take responsibility for that and be proud. Do what is best for you while testing your comfort zone to learn what inner strength is developing and waiting to be called for.

What are you going on to do with your life…life after Embercombe?

I am going to be the person Embercombe provided the space for me to see I am now and allow that to grow, strengthen, evolve, and adjust appropriately to my environment and my hearts changes. Holding onto the realisation that my opinion matters and is valid and right as well as the strength and beautiful raw reality that comes with living my truth. I never want to forget to live with those thoughts and reality close by my side. Specifically, where my feet will be or what my hands and heart will do I am not sure but characteristically I plan and dream of staying beautiful, passionate about learning, and most importantly true to myself.

 What was the most memorable meal you had at Emberocmbe?

There is SO much quality food at Embercombe. Goodness! Everyday I feel so nourished, lucky, and healthy. A specific meal did pop into my head the instant I read the question. I do not remember the specific foods I put in my body but I remember the sounds of pleasure mixed in with comfortable silence of those eating. It was a meal that involved lots of dishes all on the table at the same time (savoury, sweet, and bitter) and an intimate exchange. Everyone ate with their hands with deepened the connection to the food even more! It was so beautiful and such a special night. The quiet  pride of the chefs, the glowing eyes of the receivers, and the deep gratitude of hearts and stomachs of all.

What is really exciting you as you leave Embercombe…

So much. The potential. The people. The change that is alive in the air.   

What is worrying you?

The amount of people that do not have a direct connection or relationship with soil. Children growing up surrounded by concrete fills me with sadness and fear.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

The potential of the day. The potential learning, conversations, enjoyment, growth, hard work.  

What song always makes you get up and dance?

Hey Brother by Avicii. The lyrics are beautiful and it has an up beat lively rhythm that I find it hard not to move to.

 You were unschooled as a child, how do you think this has influenced your life?

I strongly believe my education shaped me to be the person I am today. Having the responsibility and freedom to structure my own learning and focus on what I was and am excited about and motivated to learn makes life so exciting and hopeful. I also believe I have a strong sense of self and independence because of this.

 What do you think about Embercombe’s education offering ?

I love the trust and feel like that is such an important element in education at embercombe and everywhere else. Having facilitators-educators who are not only willing but eager to expand their learning, it is amazing how this can support learning. (I say that from the privilege of direct experience with mentors who have that mindset and live that reality.) The reality of rolling around in the mud and the flexibility to follow the natural flow of the group as well as the surroundings (like the bee swarm!)

Embercombe Veg Box Scheme (and salad too!)

Embercombe Garden – Harvest Share Scheme

 

Receive fresh, local, ecologically-produced fruit and vegetables from £10 a week.

We are starting a new subscription farming scheme based on the idea of Community Supported Agriculture. We produce fruit and vegetables for our own kitchens, but are now able to grow a surplus and will be offering members of the scheme their share of the harvest in the form of a weekly veg box through the year. This is a relatively new approach to farming where consumers become members of the farm and commit to buy a share of the farm’s harvest for 12-months at a time.

 

In this way we have a secure market and are able to tailor our production to meet our customer’s demand.  We farm in an ecological and low-input way and offer to our members the opportunity to take an active interest in where their food is coming from and how it is produced.

 

Here is how the Embercombe Harvest Share Scheme works:

  • The season runs for 9 months (40 weeks) of the year, from the beginning of July to the beginning of April. This is the period when we aim to provide you with a veg box of delicious, fresh, local and ecologically produced fruit and vegetables.

  • In summer, a share may be 10 different items including high value produce such as ecologically produced tomatoes.

  • In autumn, a share will likely be more than 10 different items including a wide range of fruit and veg, staples and higher value produce.

  • In winter and into early spring, your weekly share will again be approximately 10 items, including winter squash, a variety of root vegetables, various greens, mixed salad leaves and apples.

  • For the remaining 12 weeks of the year, we do not aim to provide members with a veg box, as this time includes the hungry gap when not so much is available from the garden. This is why the membership price is calculated based on 40 weeks – at £10 per week (for a small box) and £15 per week (for a large box). It is possible, in a good year, that we will be able to provide some produce to our members during these 12 weeks, but we do not guarantee it.

  • We do not buy in any produce and so we only supply what we grow. This means that if there is a shortage or crop failure, the members carry the risk in order to support the farm through lean times. The reward is that in a good season the members will enjoy shares that are full to over-brimming with wonderful produce that is ecologically produced, delivered as fresh as it could be, and supporting the local community.

  • As members you will also be welcome to attend our monthly friends’ working weekends as day guests, and we will keep you informed about all other events.

  • Your membership helps us to continue to produce high quality, organic fruit and vegetables right here, on the edge of the Teign Valley, and to continue offering valuable educational opportunities for many people – including many local school children – to come and experience how their food is grown.

  • If you chose to pay by standing order your payment will be spread over the whole year in monthly payments but there will be some weeks when you will not receive any produce (in April, May and June). The model of Community Supported Agriculture works best when members pay up-front at the beginning of the season but we understand that this is not possible for everyone.

 

Embercombe Garden – Salad Share Scheme

If you don’t want all that veg, you can also become a member of the salad share scheme. Members will get a bag of seasonal and delicious, freshly picked salad leaves every week of the year.  Bags will always have a seasonal selection of leaves, and will often have a mix of over 10 different leaves.

Again, we will take on members for the whole year, paying upfront or monthly. Membership costs £78 for the year (£1.50 a week) for a medium bag, and £130 for the year (about £2.50) for a very large bag.

 

Veg boxes and salad bags will be available for pick up from Embercombe or a local drop-off point on Thursday late afternoons/early evenings.

To become a member of either scheme, contact Dan at daniel@embercombe.co.uk or on 01647 252 983 and we will send you a membership form.

On the land we’re…

veg garden and rainbow (4)

This week we are sowing our maincrop carrots, parsnips and beetroot in the field.  The last of the onions will be transplanted out that we started from seed in modules in late January.  As long as the weather looks like it is lasting, we will be sowing a few hundred squash seeds into pots in the polytunnel, and optimistically some French Beans too.  We have lettuces to plant out, and red cabbages to pot on, peasticks to gather together and a scythe to sharpen in excited anticipation of the first mow of the year for hay.

We had to pull out our very early crop of potatoes from the polytunnel yesterday, as they had  succumbed to a worrying early attack of blight, and we have been out in the garden some nights collecting an unusually high population of slugs – something we have never seen before.  So, the new spring is full of promise and challenges.

Away from the garden, many small and ecological producers from around the country are going to London on April 17th to protest outside the offices of DEFRA, calling upon Owen Patterson and the government to recognise the importance of this sort of agriculture in the future of feeding Britain – a far cry from current agribusiness-focused policy but well worth fighting for.  There are so many economic and political shifts that could be made to support small-scale ecological agriculture, and new entrants to farming – it is only the will in government that is lacking.

 By Dan Burston, Garden Manager

A conversation with Dan Burston, Garden Manager

A conversation with ….

Dan Burston, Gardener at Embercombe

Dan

Dan has been working at Embercombe for 2 years as the Garden Manager….

What inspires you?

All of the dreams of what could be possible in this life, and the longing inside me that calls me to each of them. So thank you to all of the people who remind me of that longing and broaden my dreaming of what is possible.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

A goat, a bear, an owl, a deer, a salmon and pompom the donkey. And Leonard Cohen.

What would you cook?

Fresh mackerel with salt and a squeeze of lemon, bit of bread and butter and a glass of (Embercombe) cider.

Gnocchi with a white wine and cream sauce full of fresh parsley, thyme and nettles (and more cold white wine).

What is your favourite thing to do with a friend?

Cycle to the horizon and beyond all the way to the sea, and when we get there, strip off and run in, fish for supper, have a camp fire and sleep under the stars.

What is your greatest fear?

Of not living life wholeheartedly while I am alive.

How do you relax?

I might cook a meal, or curl up with a great book – something like that. Depends why I need to relax!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I am most proud of the learnings that I have undergone in my adult life – all the land based skills that I consider so important, the deepening sense of feeling at home on our Earth, the capacity to live a simple and sacred life.

What song always makes you get up and dance?

This one – check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ9umueZYyo

Guiltiest pleasure …

Being quite a gastronome! And eating more than I need to. Guilty and delicious.

What is the best thing about Embercombe?

The journeys that people go on whilst they’re here.  I truly feel that Embercombe is an incredible environment for learning and growth, and I am repeatedly and deeply moved by the huge landscape of what being human can contain.

What got you out of bed this morning?

Knowing that the chickens would be increasingly discontented stuck in their house for every extra minute I enjoyed in bed before going to let them out.

Embercombe Veg Box Scheme

Dan and his team are starting a veg box scheme in July, along the lines of Community Supported Agriculture.  Members of the scheme will receive a share of the harvest from the Embercombe gardens through the year.  This will be in the form of a weekly veg box that will be available for pick up from Embercombe or one of our drop-off points every week.  Boxes will reflect the season and what is available.  In summer there will be high value produce like freshly picked tomatoes and soft fruit, and in autumn and winter there will be the greatest variety – up to 16 different items.  The scheme will run for 40 weeks of the year, from July until the beginning of April.  The gap is to account for the hungry gap and times when we will not be able to provide to provide a full box.

Membership is £400 for the year, working out at £10 per week for 40 weeks.

Members of the scheme are also welcome to attend for the day on friends’ working weekends whenever they would like and get an experience of the gardens where all the fruit and veg are produced.

If you would like to receive a membership form and sign up to the scheme, please contact Dan on 01647 252 983 or at Daniel@embercombe.co.uk

What’s in your box this week….

A typical early spring box may contain:

A squash, parsnips, beetroot, potatoes, rainbow chard, a salad bag, leeks, spring onions and a bunch of parsley

EAT DEVON BEGINS

Naomi and Dan’s adventure

The first day of our new food adventure starts today the 23rd June on the mid summer full moon. For one month we will endeavor to eat from Devon. How will it change and challenge the landscape of our diet? How in a predominantly vegan community will it make us re address how we eat and what we consume? How will this work in one of the busiest month’s of Embercombe’s calendar?

Our intent is to deepen our experience of the food that we are eating. To make this an exciting inquiry into how it feels, how challenging and how rewarding it is to eat from our county. This is about relationship and making sense of the world, by making sense of the food that we eat. Connecting more with land, growers, producers, distributors and ourselves.

This is a good time to be starting. The hungry gap (late this year because of the long hard winter) is drying up, and a season of abundance is knocking on the door. We’re digging up potatoes and carrots in our poly tunnel. We have a field of broad beans, and far too many early bolted onions to make any grower happy. We have some peas in the garden, some chard and plenty of red Russian kale from early spring sowings. The courgettes under cover are starting to produce, and the strawberries are giving their first – quite late – fruit. A lot is available from just this piece of land, and a lot is still to come. Following the strawberries will be the gooseberries (not long!), the cherries, jostaberries, currants, loganberries, summer raspberries…. Carrots, beetroot, parsnips, fennel, celeriac, Swede, potatoes – all these hearty belly fillers and energy givers are in the ground, some growing a lot faster than others. The first spuds won’t be too long now – perhaps a month – whilst those old parsnips will be many a month still. We grow fruit and vegetables for a community and educate around the principals of growing and sustainability. The prospect of eating fruit and vegetables just from the garden and the local area, feels possible if slightly challenging, exciting and something to be proud of.

We’ve just had breakfast – boiled eggs, from our chickens, toast and butter. Toast – wheat from UK growers, water, and salt. Sourdough yeast cultures from the grain and the air. Butter – milk from YeoValley cows across the border to Dorset and salt again. We also had a milky coffee and used up the last of yesterdays pancake batter, with strawberries from the field, kefir and a little of our precious Embercombe honey.  Coffee!? Tea?! Salt, pepper and olive oil ….Yes, we have allowed ourselves a couple of exceptions – notably these – for now at least. An adventure none the less!

Sugar? Home made wine? Honey? The honey in the Embercombe kitchen comes from Bulgaria, the pumpkin seeds from china…..How much harder will this be in Embercombe’s kitchen than a our own?

This morning we found ourselves at a pre breakfast car boot sale. We where met by a stark reminder about how much society unconsciously consumes. Time to bring consciousness and questioning to our plates and to our stomachs.

Here we go!

 

Food Growing on the National Curriculum

As spring is rapidly arriving and new shoots are popping up all around Embercombe it feels poignant to read that horticulture looks like it may be set to find a place on the key stage 1-3 national curriculum from September 2014.

Myles Bremner, Chief Executive of Garden Organic, said that horticulture on the curriculum “… will give pupils an opportunity to grow their own fruit and vegetables, which is a vital part of their wider food education and brings so many other benefits in terms of health, wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours.”

It seems so vital to be connecting our young people to the land and to what they eat so that they can grow up knowing more about food based on hands on experience. We need to learn about what is in our back garden before we can possibly comprehend a global system.

Last week we worked with Hereford Steiner School and watched the film Food Inc. alongside gardening, cooking and visiting a local beef farm. It sparked many interesting conversations about where our food comes from and a curiosity to continue learning.

To find out more about the addition to the curriculum you can look at the Gardening Organic website:

www.gardenorganic.org.uk/news/news_topic.php?id=876

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s happening in the garden?

So as we swiftly pass through autumn and winter appears to be just around the corner there is much going on in Embercombe’s garden!

Over the past few weeks we have been busy in the field garden planting up crops that will “over-winter” (i.e. stay in the ground over winter) and will be ready for us to harvest in the spring and help to close the dreaded “hungry gap” (the period between vegetables planted and/or stored from the year before running out, and the new vegetables of the current year being ready to harvest). A field of plants from the Allium family consisting of leeks, garlic, and onions, as well as the addition of spring cabbages to the current Brassica patch have been our main focus lately.

In the poly-tunnels meanwhile it has been all change in keeping with the seasons. Out have come all the deliciously scented basil and tomato plants which lined each side over summer and provided us with many a tasty morsel, and in their place have gone winter salads, carrots, and spuds; an important food source over the winter.

Due to the recent rain, the garden is suffering slightly as the ground is difficult to work and the race is on to “put to bed” as many beds as possible for the winter. As many gardeners may know (particularly those permaculturists out there), bare soil is bad news, and as our beds become clear and winter sets in it is important that we do all we can to make life easier for ourselves when the ground thaws out next year. This means weeding, feeding, and mulching the beds, and making sure they are well covered to reduce perennial weeds and recharge the soil. If you have cardboard lying around that hasn’t made it out to the recycling bin yet, get it down on any bare beds and mulch over the top for an effective weed killer.

Celeriac and leek are our winter staples this year after a distinct lack of sun led to a dismal squash harvest. If anyone has any innovative recipes for either please let us know!

Bye for now,

The Embercombe gardening team

Jo Clark unveils Embercombe’s new Land Management Plan

Embercombe Land Management Plan

Most of our work at Embercombe includes a land based element. We are blessed with a diverse landscape that provides numerous opportunities to match an activity to any of the wide range of programmes that we offer. As we develop this fantastic resource more choices become available, a richer habitat is created for the wildlife and a greater selection of food and other useful raw materials are provided as well as an ever improving aesthetic.

Eleven years ago there was woodland, one large and two very small fields, a lake ,two hangers and a runway and Embercombe was unfenced and open to the deer. Now forty acres of land has been fenced enabling us to carry out coppicing cycles and the planting of new trees in the woods. More woodland areas have also been created, new hedgerows, field scale cropping, a forest garden and two orchards. Clearly then, since Embercombe took over the management of this land huge improvements have taken place and due to conscious intervention and non intervention more wildlife habitats have been created.

The grassland

Often the terms natural or unnatural are used when describing the outdoor environment, so this requires clarification. The land outside the deer fence is severely overgrazed by the fallow deer and there is degradation of the broad leaf woodland where no natural regeneration is taking place. In what we may call a natural environment there would be sufficient predation of the wild grazing animals so the flora of the forest would not be under threat. The last wolves were killed by humans in the mid sixteenth century, we are now the only predator and we are not keeping pace with what appears to be an exponential increase in their population. Inside our deer fence on the other hand we have examples of grassland amongst the new tree plantations where a small number of wild plants dominate because they are not grazed. In our new tree plantations where strimming and scything have been used to control the undergrowth a wider range of wild plants exist. The above examples expose two extremes; overgrazing and zero grazing. In a natural environment where wild grazing animals are hunted by carnivores there could very well exist a natural balance where herbivores do not denude the woodlands and glades, trees naturally regenerate and annual and perennial plants can complete their life cycles without being continually nibbled off.

This assessment of what we mean by natural leads to an explanation of how we manage our meadows. Until September 2009 Embercombe had an arrangement with our neighbouring beef farmer. This management involved the harvesting of a crop of hay annually for feeding his cattle, applying a small amount of animal manure and his cattle grazing the meadows in the autumn. The grassland became a little malnourished as more was being taken from the land than returned. This was apparent through observing relatively slow spring growth and small yields of hay. This did not however effect the diversity of plant species as hay was always made in July or August so wild flowers had the opportunity to reseed. The example exists where there was no grazing or hay making around the stone circle where natural regeneration of mysteriously planted oak trees has been allowed to take place, an area that has now been fenced for its protection from grazing animals. In this area and in the areas that have been planted with new trees there has been created through being protected an environment in which trees will develop into new woodland. They are an example of what would happen if no grazing or cultivation took place.

Since Embercombe took control of the grassland it has been grazed by heavy horses that we no longer have and a neighbours’ sheep and horses.

The grassland has now been divided into five paddocks where grazing can be rotated. The oak grove meadow and cedar hill are managed as wild flower meadows where grazing or haymaking takes place in late summer. Last year three north Ronaldsey rams and eleven Shetland ewes were purchased for the purpose of managing the pasture and the provision of wool and meat with all the obvious educational benefits. The ewes have now sixteen lambs, the ewe lambs will be reared and added to the flock and the ram lambs will be reared until the age of eighteen months and then slaughtered for meat. Some of this will be used at Embercombe and the rest will be sold.

At Embercombe we are exploring many forms of land use; vegetables, fruit, polytunnels, orchards, forest garden, coppice, high forest, hedgerows, grazing meadows and areas of non intervention. Our forest garden simulates woodland condition whilst providing food from many varieties of perennial, biannual and annual plants. In the home field we have field scale crops ensuring sufficient produce for all visitors and residents. The new orchard is a traditional plantation with 55 trees including fifty varieties of apple which will provide a staple for generations to come with their many and varied uses. This area also houses the chickens. Over the last few years they have fulfilled a vital role in food production. All the non compostable kitchen food waste is fed to these omnivores who occupy a large area with ample greenery. Until now the point of lay birds have been bought from an organic supplier. We now have a cockerel and we will begin a breeding programme which will inevitably produce male offspring that will be reared for meat.

Meat, eggs, carbon, protein and buildings

The main headings at the centre of our “land based curriculum” are food and shelter. What we choose to eat and how we resource or produce it will be the subject of many “ courageous conversations” here at Embercombe and we hope far beyond. If there came a day where this was not the case it would certainly be a cause for concern.

Part of fulfilling our mission statement is to offer visitors an opportunity to connect with processes and phenomena that assist them in reconnecting with themselves. The garden is a fantastic and accessible resource that offers an uncontroversial connection with the earth that feeds us.

Few people have a close up experience of all that is involved in the production of meat,milk and eggs. At present we buy cows milk and butter and are therefore actively participating in the dairy and meat industry and yet we are unable to offer an experience that helps to connect our visitors with these processes. There are of course many discussions relating to a “need” for specific types of protein and the human, environmental and ethical implications in sourcing it. For example a comparison between the sourcing and consumption of a carton of cows milk compared to that of soya milk may lead to some surprising findings in relation to the impact that our choices have on the planet and its inhabitants.

Organic, well managed grazed grassland is very good for carbon sequestration and for the biodiversity of flora and fauna, whilst offering us the meat, milk, eggs, leather and other animal products that the majority of the population utilise

At Embercombe we are very keen to explore the wild of both our inner and the outer landscape and this outer landscape on our fifty acre site is very rich in wild plants that we can utilise for food, medicine, dyeing, tools, building and more. I am under no illusion however that on the whole this is a managed landscape and much as we underestimate what there is to learn from hunter gatherers both past and present our survival depends on managing the land. What we have already demonstrated here is that through conscious and sensitive relationship with the land, with responsible and respectful husbandry and with an understanding of both the long term needs of human beings and of other species we can, and have created a richer and more diverse environment.

Diversity on all levels is at the centre of Embercombe’s work. We work with individuals and organisations from all walks of life and we do not adhere to or advocate any one spiritual or philosophical path. Our investigation towards finding a sustainable way of managing and caring for our land and producing the food we need also demonstrates an openness to a range of approaches, whilst reflecting the range of views held and lifestyle choices made by the wider community. However the overarching policy for our land management is that of organic practice (we have soil association certification) as it is without doubt that the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides is contrary to any sustainable system.

Future plans

When I am sure that we have sufficient experienced people we will introduce small ponies that will help us convey materials around the site without the use of fossil fuels, which will provide yet another opportunity for children and adults to connect with animals in a positive way. Likewise the introduction of goats for grazing the marginal land and producing milk is being considered.

Future documents

I will be working this forthcoming winter on a revised woodland management plan that will project ahead until some of the oak trees that have recently been planted will be ready for harvesting for building and fuel (150-200 years). There has been some work done and there is much more to do on a full permaculture design for the whole of the site both retrospective and well into the future.

My wish is that this overview will inspire discussion and feedback.