Welcoming Visitors

Cooking and filming at LEAF
Cooking and filming at LEAF

Last  week at LEAF we were visited by a film crew who were making a documentary all about local food production and community approaches to food. It was a good opportunity to show why I in particular enjoy being at LEAF so much when I get the opportunity to be there – it’s not just about the food growing, important though that is, it’s also about being community.

Now being a community, just like being a family isn’t always easy, and there are times when people fall out – sometimes over little things that are easily patched up, and sometimes over things that are much harder to heal and move on from, but the mark of any community (and family) is in how much it is able to forgive each other and move on. Now forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, and it doesn’t mean the hurts will always disappear but it does mean that we learn to understand each others faults and failings and therefore try to find ways of moving on beyond them. In the bible it says “…love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins.” (1 Peter 4.8 ) – obviously this isn’t the slushy romantic love of cinema screens and soaps operas, this is a deep unreserved love for our fellow human beings that has almost limitless powerful opportunities to heal and build.

But back to the film – the crew we there all day doing interviews with people and filming as Kadeja cooked a wonderful Iranian style omlette all made with ingredients from the plots including the eggs from Garys chickens – all in all its about as local as you can get, and delicious too!

You can read more about the film project at: https://www.facebook.com/LocalFoodRoots?fref=ts

In addition to the film crew, PXI also welcomed visitors from the Anglican Diocese of Manchester last week who are currently travelling the country to gather stories about how the governments “austerity” politics is adding to the effects of poverty in communities up and down the nation. They paid a visit first to the “food bank” we run at Mount Tabor and then in turn came to visit LEAF before spending time at St Leonards church in Longley.

Runner Beans on offer at LEAF
Runner Beans on offer at LEAF

This week as the sun continued to bear down on us we opened up two new beds to plant some Yacon and Okra – but before we did it was time to harvest a decent yield of runner beans and offer them to the public. We’d had at least one taker before I left at lunchtime – I do hope they enjoyed them.

After the morning at LEAF, I moved on to the quiet garden at Cross at Yew Lane, where the raspberries this year have done really well. Another two pounds almost today to add to the full tub we’d already picked and shared on Sunday with visitors to “The Gathering” which is a small christian group that meets regularly there.

There were more Raspberries on Plot107 when Angela was up there today – lots of weeds still to cut down but as the site for our main fruit crops its been doing well this year at least as far as the raspberries and gooseberries are concerned. For some reason the rhubarb has not done as well, and the strawberries have largely failed due to us allowing them to get shaded out by other stuff – a new plan will be needed next year for them.

Mustard, Mizuna and more …

With all the sunshine we’ve been having it really does feel like “Spring has sprung” from all the signs of work in the Parson cross allotments, there’ve been quite a few of us taking advantage of the weather to get out there and start the new season in earnest.

On Plot107 that’s meant further work on improving the existing beds with compost and the like, weeding and planting. The first of this years potatoes (Casablanca) have gone in (Fay tells me it may be a tad early – Good Friday being traditionally the date this far north!) but the packet said from late February to early march and the “chitting” had gone well so now they’re in and we’ll hope and pray they do well.

I’ve also planted some Mustard and Mizuna that Fay had started off in the polytunnel – now for those who (like me until this week) haven’t heard of Mizuna, here’s a link that will tell you more- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizuna it describes Mizuna as; “A vigorous grower producing numerous stalks bearing dark green, deeply cut and fringed leaves. They have a fresh, crisp taste and can be used on their own or cooked with meat….Not only is it good to eat, it’s also quite decorative, with glossy, serrated, dark green leaves and narrow white stalks, looking good in flower beds and as edging.” All that sounds good to me so we’ll just see how it goes, and having just added some to my cheese and chutney sandwich this lunchtime, I must say it was quiet a nice addition.

Mustard & Mizuna on Plot107

The other “exotic” addition I’m working on at home for the plot is Yacon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yacon a plant traditionally grown in the Northern and Central Andes from Ecuador to Argentina for its crisp, sweet tasting, tuberous roots.

We are apparently due a mini heatwave this week – lets hope it lasts through to Mothers Day on Sunday – lots of opportunities to get out onto the plots and enjoy the warmth and sunshine …. but lets not complain when it starts to rain, after all there’s already warnings of the possibility of droughts and hosepipe bans in part of UK.