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News Update Sept 01

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  • webmaster@pfaf.org
    Plants For A Future Blagdon Cross Plant Research and Demonstration Gardens, Ashwater, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5DF Website: http://www.pfaf.org/ email:
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2001
      Plants For A Future
      Blagdon Cross Plant Research and Demonstration Gardens,
      Ashwater, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5DF
      Website: http://www.pfaf.org/
      email: webmaster@...
      Tel: 0845 458 4719

      News update August 2001

      Well its been a very exciting year at Plants For A Future with the
      Blagdon site beginning to show its true potential and the St Veep site
      receiving a much needed boost of energy. There have been a lot of
      successful events and we've also received a major grant for £25,000.


      Since winning our planning appeal in June last year work has been
      at full pace to develop the site. This has mainly focused around
      constructing basic facilities for volunteers and workers and preparing
      the site for the next stage of construction. Among the activities
      have been carried out are:

      · The front hedge cleared of sycamores.

      · Coppicing in the existing woodland area.

      · Three tree bogs constructed.

      · Basic facilities for volunteers installed.

      · Area for car park excavated and a large quantity of hardcore
      donated for use as surfacing.

      · A wind turbine installed.

      · Three PFAF-style kitchen garden beds established which are
      providing an abundance of tasty salads for volunteers.

      · A large number of willows planted with the intention of
      harvesting them after a year to sell for basket weaving.

      · The children's garden has been marked out with a boundary of
      named varieties of willow.

      The native woodland first planted three years ago is doing really well
      with some of the alders reaching over 20 foot. Wildlife is being
      attracted to the site with a good bird population and sightings of
      and grass snakes.


      If that was not enough there has also been an active event program, in
      the three months from March to June we had over 500 people visiting

      · The Southwest Permaculture convergence, which ran for two days
      and had a wide range of workshops.

      · The Buddhafield Buddhist festival catering group have held a
      number of retreats on the site including a two-week permaculture
      and retreat. We are working along with them to establish a meditation
      garden on the site.

      · The Small School in Hartland had a weeklong camping trip and
      minor riot! They constructed a musical instrument with coppiced
      in the children's garden.

      We also had another successful show at the BBC Gardeners World show at
      the NEC in June. This year we were a show feature and attracted a
      of £2,000, which allowed us to present a slideshow of PFAF plants. We
      also were invited to give a daily talks on one of the main stages. We
      brought along some unusual edible plants people were asked to identify
      these from other non-edible plants brought along by other gardeners.
      Unsurprisingly many of the plants they brought turned out to be edible
      after all!

      There has also been a number of successful benefit gigs in Cornwall
      have raised money for the St Veep site and helped establish a Robert
      Hart memorial garden.

      St Veep

      The arrival of Frank a long-term volunteer from Holland has provided a
      much-needed boost to the Cornwall site. He has done a lot of work
      clearing a network of paths through the arboretum and has discovered
      some great finds, such as the Japanese Walnut that is bearing nuts
      only eight years. The site is now ready for the second stage of the
      woodland garden: many of the trees and shrubs are now well established
      and it is time to plant the understory; all that is needed is the
      manpower to clear the plots of brambles and maintain the plants.

      There are also plans afoot to re-establish the catalogue and work has
      started sorting the plant sales area. The catalogue will probably
      on the Internet with online ordering.

      We still have space in our property in Lerryn near the field and we
      looking for people who would like to live there and work at the field.
      If you are interested drop us a line.


      We recently heard that we have been awarded a 25 thousand pound grant
      from the Devon and West Somerset Key Fund. This will go to
      the infrastructure for the Blagdon site and includes money for
      constructing the car-park and access road, water supply and power
      supply, equipment for a restroom, an agricultural shed, a computer and
      projector for doing presentations and lots of tools. There are quite a
      few conditions that need to be met to fulfil the grant which include
      training of 500 people and a short time scale to achieve it all.

      We have also just submitted another bid to the Charities Aid
      This is for a part-time fundraiser who will help to raise the
      much-needed funds to cover the cost of the Blagdon site, to employ
      workers and also many of the other things we need.

      Website and database

      The website continues to be one of the best plant information sites
      about, attracting thousands of visitors a week. A reader's comments
      section has been established which allows people world wide to add
      own comments about individual plants. We are also planning to
      an electronic mailing list for people interested in the project.

      Work is also progressing on developing a new user-friendly version of
      database on a CD-ROM. This will include a comprehensive set of photos
      and a much easier to use interface. We already have 100 high quality
      photos from a Canadian photographer and are working on scanning Ken's
      large collection of photos, however we are on the lookout for as many
      plant photos as we can get our hands on. So if you have a good
      collection we would love to hear from you.

      We have also produced 400 fact sheets on medicinal plants that go into
      much greater details of the medicinal uses than is currently in the
      plant database.

      Its not all a bed of Rosa Rugosa

      Despite all the good things happening there are still many things to
      sorted out and a lot more work to be done. The stress of the last
      years and the explosion of potential in the spring has taken its toll
      and Jim and Elaine are both trying to take much needed holidays. Hence
      the Blagdon site is currently closed for August.

      Our principal needs at the moment are volunteers and money. To fully
      develop Blagdon will take a lot more work and we are planning a number
      of work parties. We also need long term volunteers to help run the
      develop the plant catalogue and visitors centre and establish the
      demonstration gardens.

      Perhaps the greatest challenge the project faces is financial.
      the charity owes a hundred thousand pounds and much of this needs to
      repaid in March next year. Hence, we are embarking on a major
      fundraising scheme that will focus on attracting more long term loans.
      Such loans will enable us to get through our short term financial
      problems and proceed to the next stage of the project when the Blagdon
      site can start generating its own income. If we cannot raise the money
      the future security of the Blagdon site is in serious jeopardy. It
      be a great tragedy to lose this site, especially as its true potential
      is shining through at last.

      Renewing your subscription will greatly help the project, and there
      many other ways you can help us:

      · Interest free loans, this is the most helpful for us. A
      long-term loan to the charity will help secure the long-term future of
      the Blagdon site.

      · Gift Aid donations, if you a UK taxpayer then we can get the
      back on any donations you make to the charity.

      · Regular donations through the Charities Aid Foundation. A
      of people have opened accounts with the Charities Aid Foundation money
      deposited in such an account plus the tax will be paid direct to the

      · The Phone Co-op - a phone service company which offers good
      discounts on calls and also gives 5% of the value of your calls to

      · Care4Free are free Internet access provider that donates money
      to PFAF.

      · Tree sponsorship we have a list of trees we would like to
      at Blagdon

      · Donation of Interest here you deposit some money in our high
      interest account, the money remains safe and the interest is
      into our current account.

      If you would like any information about any of these schemes then get
      touch and we will send you our funding pack.

      The Continuing Soil Association Saga

      As some of you will know in March last year we applied for Soil
      Association certification. After much deliberation over the pros and
      cons we paid our £467 annual license fee. We eventually received
      certification in conversion in August/September 2000. One would assume
      that this was when the annual license fee would start from. We then
      received an invoice in December requesting a further license fee to be
      paid from March 2001-2002. We telephoned and queried this and were
      the fee runs from the date of application. We expressed our shock that
      they could justify charging us this fee for just half a years
      certification and stated that we did now want to renew. We then
      receiving further invoices, threatening letters and finally a court
      summons for the 2001-2002 fee. The bill has now risen to £680 and for

      Future Plans

      We have quite a few plans in the pipeline. We hope to offer a wide
      of courses and workshops throughout the winter months. We are also
      thinking of having a big party for all our friends, which may well
      happen at the Winter Solstice. We are meeting with the planning
      department to discuss the steps needed to fulfil the conditions for
      further planning consent. Plans are also afoot to construct and edible
      maze featuring all our favourite edible plants plus musical
      a viewing tower and a children's play area. We are on the lookout for
      any wood/stone carvings to help decorate the maze.

      Humble Apologies

      You have probably noticed that the newsletter is very out of date for
      which we can only apologies. I'm sure you can appreciate that due to
      the work carried out over the last year that some tasks, such as the
      newsletter and general admin have been neglected. We will try to
      that you won't have as long to wait for the next newsletter.


      A big thank you to all the people who have helped the project over the
      last year: Frank, Phil, Leslie, Linda, Pearce, Ken, Addy, Buddhafield,
      Matt, Mike and Frog, Nick and Helen, Jay and Clara our departing
      trustees David and Guy and new trustees Julia, Simon and Paul, all
      who have helped us financially and everyone else who has given love
      support. But most of all to the two superstars Elaine and Jim.

      Name: ................................................................
      Address: .............................................................
      Post Code ...............
      Tel .....................................................
      email .................................................

      Please renew my subscription I enclose:
      (please ignore if you have already renewed this year)
      £10 wages c £6 unwaged c £150.00 (Life Membership) c

      Please send my newsletters via: - Email (easier for us) c Snail mail

      I enclose a donation of £5 c £10 c £20 c £50 c
      other amount £............. c
      I am a UK tax payer and would like my donation to count as Gift Aid c

      Please send me a copy of the fundraising pack c
      I am interested in taking out a long term loan c
      Please send me details of work parties c
      Please send me details of courses and workshops c

      Dates I may be able to attend: ......................................

      Signed ......................... Date .....................

      Please make cheques payable to Plants For A Future and send them to
      Plants For A Future,
      Blagdon Cross,
      EX21 5DF

      Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee,
      registered in England and Wales.
      Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
      Reg. office 131 Spencer Place, Leeds, LS7 4DU, England.
      Trustees: Dr R. J. Morris, J. Darby, P. B. Gauntlet, S. H. Money

      Supported by Devon and West Somerset Key Fund and the Naturesave
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