Current Projects

Plotgate CSA:

 

A lease on the bottom field (9.5 acres) has now been agreed for the founding of Plotgate CSA, which is being established by two of our members, Amy Willoughby and Dan Britton who are hoping to do their bit in meeting the challenges of climate change, food security and health:

 

“We have mapped the contours, observed the water distribution, identified frost pockets, got to know our environment, our soil and the ecology, planted trees, dug swales, mulched beds... we are ready to grow more vital food for more people.”

 

 

Plotgate CSA is in its second year, supplying 40 weekly vegetable boxes to local folk; Shetland lamb, mutton and hogget and outdoor reared pork to local, ethical meat eaters (and some part-time vegetarians).  They have also hosted some “pop-up kitchen” events to feed their lovely food to people, and promote the project. 

 

“We believe we can provide good food, for everyone, forever!”

 

 The CSA model  planned for Plotgate actively seeks the cooperation of volunteers and part-time growers to get involved and eventually take on responsibilities and find employment within the project, as it grows in scale and diversity.

 

Plotgate livestock, willow garden and grain garden will all be incorporated into the CSA.

If you'd like information about veg boxes, Plotgate CSA meat or the project in general, please email: plotgate.csa@gmail.com or check out our wordpress site: http://plotgatecsa.wordpress.com/

                       

  


The Willow Garden

This area was first mapped out in the winter of 2011-12 with beds established along the contours, and a willow circle planted on a small hillock. Being tucked away on Plotgate’s northern fringes, the area became a little neglected and sheep nibbled, but in Spring 2014 it was given some TLC and got back into shape, with the beds being extended and replanted, swailes were dug above the rows and the earth, compost, grass cuttings and compost were all used to mulch the willow in the hope that it will get away ahead of the weeds and retain all the moisture it needs for the drier months.

The first cutting of Pete’s willow in the field next door and an introduction to basketry reminded me of what an amazingly versatile material willow is and thus inspired the revitalisation of the willow coppice area. We have planted basketry and coloured basket varieties, and more vigorous kinds to use in living fences and sculptures. The first Plotgate baskets were made in spring 2014 from Pete’s harvest, and we’re hoping for plenty more in winters to come when Pete’s willow is fully utilised in heating his glasshouse.


Livestock

                 

 

Chickens arrived at Plotgate in the summer of 2013- banished from Butleigh and destined to ensure early starts on all work weekends! The arrival of the chucks meant members being at Plotgate every day and were the test, to find out if we were really ready for more animals. And so the sheep arrived in August 2013 – a small flock of Shetland sheep of all colours and ages. We have embraced the flock and the trials of sheep care with great joy, and had our first lambs in April 2014 with very few complications; it appears that Nev the ram was quickly accepted into the flock and has produced buoyant offspring of all colours- let’s get knitting!

    

The sheep are grazed on a rotation of 5 paddocks in the summer, and are then brought into the top field for winter grazing, with fresh grass opened up every week. We would like to develop a successional grazing strategy in 2014 with the introduction of Dexter cows and more poultry. We would also like to incorporate pigs into our system, using them to prepare the ground for the planting of fodder crops.


The Live/Work Field

The Vegetable Garden

Planning Permission & The Dwellings

Workshops & Events


Pete's Greenhouse Project

Above: the greenhouse in its old home 

The Greenhouse will be sited to the west of the Common Land, the land allocated to it and related uses extending to approximately 6.7 acres. This is a largely independent project being financially and managerially separate from other elements of the Plotgate Venture. Pete will hold a long term lease from the Plotgate Venture for the use of the site.

Pete intends to establish an agricultural business, centred on a large (1560 m2) greenhouse. Organic salads and season extended vegetables will be produced for local markets. All power and heat for the greenhouse and associated buildings will be provided from on-site renewable energy sources. A high degree of energy efficiency will be employed to reduce electricity and fuel consumption to a minimum.

Low environmental impact or recycled materials will be used wherever possible in the construction of the greenhouse and associated infrastructure. The greenhouse was reclaimed from another site where it was due to be demolished.

It is anticipated that the business will provide some part-time employment for local people in addition to a full time livelihood for Pete.

Planning permission for the greenhouse and other structures was granted at appeal in October 2013. Construction of buildings will take place through 2014 and 2015. It is hoped the greenhouse will come into production at some point in 2016. The willow coppice, for fuel wood to heat the greenhouse, has been planted as has an ash coppice and fruit and nut trees.

 

 

This page is currently being updated, please visit again soon for more information.