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New newsletter and autumn events

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  • Richard Morris
    Dear Friend, The latest plants for a future newsletter is now out. If you are a current friend you should hopefully receive one in the post, otherwise you can
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 8, 2002
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      Dear Friend,
      The latest plants for a future newsletter is now out.
      If you are a current friend you should hopefully receive one in the
      post, otherwise you can drop me a line and I'll send you
      an attached word document (500kB).

      · Winter Report from the Field, by Frank, which describes a plant
      based life at the field during the winter months.
      · Plants For A Future and the Eden Project, Rich's comparison and
      critique of the two projects.
      · Previously "Blagdon Cross Plant Research and Demonstration
      Gardens" hence forth to be known as "Plants For A Future Education
      Centre", by Elaine, details of the future plans for the Blagdon site.
      · The Woodland Garden Edge, part 1 of Ken's latest article about
      the plants suitable for grow around the edge of a woodland, or other
      similar habitats like an urban garden.
      · Tree Bog Rules, Matt's tale of encounters with a talking
      treebog.
      · The Plants For A Future Quiz, try you hand at the Plants For A
      Future quiz with some challenging questions about useful plants.

      We would like to invite you to three events happening this Autumn (for
      more details see the back cover):

      The Plants For A Future Autumn Equinox Gathering, following on from the
      success of the last two gatherings at Blagdon we will be holding another
      gathering this September, which will be a little longer, covering a long
      weekend 20th-23rd September, there will lots of opportunities to see the
      site and learn a bit more about PFAF as well as lots of practical
      activities and plenty of time for tea, chat, music and fun.

      Woodland Gardening with Stephen Nutt, 5th/6th Oct and 26th/27th Oct. Two
      weekend courses inspired by Robert Hart and Ken Fern looking at design
      and implementation of a woodland garden within an existing woodland:
      "The Garden of Love" which is dedicated to the memory of Robert Hart
      (the pioneer off temperate 'forest gardening').

      Green Woodworking With Anthony Waters, 19th/20th Oct. A ideal time to
      learn woodworking skills using green wood and create your own chairs,
      stools, benches, coffee tables etc.

      Please, please ring in advance (0845 458 4719/01208 872 963) before
      coming to any event or visiting, especially for the courses, where
      advanced notice is very important.

      With Love All at PFAF

      Latest news from Plants For A Future
      ------------------------------------

      The last year has been one of the most challenging for Plants For A
      Future. This time last year the task looked almost impossible: we needed
      to get 700 people through the Blagdon site to meet funding targets; we
      had a large debt which needed paying and we were getting very little
      income; we needed to recruit more volunteers for both sites and the work
      needed to develop both sites was vast, especially at Blagdon where there
      were a lot of planning permission conditions to meet. On top of this
      both Elaine and Jim our key people at Blagdon were completely exhausted
      after four years working at full pelt.

      The situation now looks a lot brighter and there is a much more positive
      attitude. We have been amazed by the generosity of many of our loanstock
      holders, many of whom extended their loans or converted them to
      donations. This took much of the financial pressure off the charity and
      the future of Blagdon now looks financially more secure. It has also
      allowed us to buy a much need nature friendly grass cutter for the Field
      in Cornwall.

      One of problems has been that the Blagdon project is so vast that its
      difficult to know where to start. To help overcome this problem a set of
      project files have been developed. These identify many of the smaller
      projects which make up the whole with the idea that someone might want
      to become involved in one of these. There is a big range of exciting
      projects including: an Edible Maze, a Children's Garden, a Sensory
      Garden, a Permaculture Research Garden, Container Garden, woodland
      management, regional agents, and creation of our visitors centre.

      Jim giving a talk to visitors from the vegan gathering Aug last year.

      There has been a number of successful events at Blagdon. The Shaping the
      Future event held at the beginning of April was a great success and
      attracted 45 people from around the region. It featured a site tour with
      a wheelbarrow picnic. A number of trees were donated and planted,
      including; Walnut, Fig, Dogwood and Plum. A large stretch of long
      overdue fencing maintenance was carried out - just a few miles to go.
      Volunteers also helped reclaim a kitchen garden and built a rustic
      retreat shower facility. Quite a few new faces with ideas and enthusiasm
      are becoming involved with the project including Mat who's especially
      interested in researching medicinal plants.

      We look forward to our next Shaping the Future event, 20-23 September,
      with anticipation. All friends are invited to attend this meeting.

      The other major event was the South West Permaculture Convergence held
      at the end of June. This attracted people from all round the region many
      of whom also have their own interesting projects and a lot of time was
      spent exchanging experiences over cups of tea. Sunday morning saw the
      arrival of three special visitors: three cows from a neighbouring field.
      Gaile, our local Permaculture Association representative was woken by
      the cows bringing back memories of India as a white cow strolled by. A
      few of us then had the task of herding the cows away from all the
      delicious plants in the demonstration gardens and back to their own
      field of grass, luckily the cows seemed to know the way home. One major
      achievement was that we managed to obtain water self sufficiency for the
      Convergence: all the water used at the convergence was collected from
      the roof of a mobile home, filtered through a British Berkfield ceramic
      water filter (give us a ring if your interested in getting one) and
      stored. We managed to filter and store enough water to last the whole
      gathering.

      We have also had two permaculture groups (from Bristol and Exeter) come
      to visit who where both given the full site tour and were the first to
      fill out our visitor record sheets, needed for recording the information
      to meet our Key Fund targets, and also doing the new Plants For A Future
      Quiz, which you'll find below.

      At the Field in Cornwall the focus is now shifting to the research side
      and there are plans to concentrate on a one acre patch of woodland
      garden where medicinal plants and super foods like Elaeagnus x ebbingei
      and Hippophae salicifolia will be grown. The focus of this project, code
      named Crataegus, will be on the Economic aspects of Plants For A Future
      style gardening, trying to identify plants which could be grown
      commercially in a woodland gardening situation and assessing the yields
      and commercial viability of such crops.

      As already mentioned a Benassi Horizontal Sythe mower was bought for the
      Field. We think this is a lot more friendly to little critters than
      rotary mowers as the horizontal action makes a clean cut and allows the
      creatures to jump free rather than being spun about inside a rotary
      mower. Its also a much better tool for cutting through long undergrowth
      and can easily cut through anything up to waist height, the only time it
      has failed was on a large patch of brambles. On the first day we managed
      to clear all the very overgrown paths on site using the mower at walking
      pace. The only thing to watch is that all the nuts are good and tight,
      trying to find a lost nut in a 20 acre site is not an activity to be
      recommended!

      The field has also seen a few first flowering of several plants
      including Walnuts, Japanese Dogwood, Bladdernut and Japanese Persimmons
      and we are looking forward to many tasty treats.

      The website continues to do well attracting 30,000 hits and 7,000
      visitors each week and several very good contacts have come out of this.
      A much needed major redesign is underway (when I get the time!)

      A Plants For A Future Electronic Mailing List has now been set up, which
      can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf. This has nearly a
      hundred members and has seen several interesting discussions. The
      mailing list is probably the best way to keep in touch with the goings
      on at Plants For A Future as it's the first place that news and events
      get posted.

      Our database being used by the American Association for the Advancement
      of Science's Traditional Ecological Knowledge Prior Art Database
      (TEK*PAD) which is collecting public domain plant lore so that such
      knowledge can not be patented which would remove it from the public
      domain.

      We also had our first academic publication, a paper entitled "World Wide
      Web as an Aid to Search and Explore New Plants of Global Importance"
      published in the proceeding of the "Symposium on Perspectives in
      Medicinal & Aromatic Crop Plants: Research and Development," held in
      India, the paper was written by Ashok K. Chhabra with Ken and Rich as
      co-authors.

      Theres been a number of successful stall. At the Celebration of Cornish
      Gardens at Trelissick Gardens near Truro our portable potted garden of
      unusual edible plants was displayed. We also had stalls at the Halwill
      Junction Mind Body and Spirit Fair, Wadebrigde Green Fair, Falmouth
      Green Fair and The Natural Heath and Healing Show at RHS Rosemore. We've
      been focusing this year on local events trying to build our local
      contacts but we've also been able to display leaflets at the Buddafield
      festival and the Big Green Gathering.

      On the whole it has been an eventful year. There is still a lot we need
      to do: we have to meet our Key Fund targets of training 500 people by
      October and a lot of work is needed to meet planning permission
      conditions, our temporary permission runs out in June next year and we
      are starting to prepare a revised application, which will reflect on our
      needs and experiences of the last 2 years.

      Autumn Events 2002

      "Shaping The Future 2" The Plants For A Future Autumn Equinox Gathering

      20th-23rd September 2002

      4 days activities and space with many possibilities including: ·
      Creation and maintenance of Gardens · Developing wetland ecosystems ·
      And other infrastructure development · hold your own workshops! ·
      Exchanging skills, knowledge and ideas There is no fee but Contributions
      in money or in kind most welcome

      The Garden of Love Woodland Gardening Courses

      5th/6th Oct and 26th/27th Oct 2002 With Stephen Nutt And Plants For A
      Future

      Two weekend courses inspired by Robert Hart and Ken Fern looking at
      design and implementation of a woodland garden within an existing
      woodland: "The Garden of Love" which is dedicated to the memory of
      Robert Hart (the pioneer off temperate 'forest gardening') and will form
      a central component at Plants For A Future's Education Centre.

      Cost £50 per weekend (a limited number of concessions are available)

      Green Woodworking

      19th /20th October 2002 (date tbc)

      With Anthony Waters of West Country Woodsmen.

      Harvest wood from Plants For A Future's 15 acre woodland, and then…
      Create chairs, stools, benches, coffee tables etc. using pole lathe

      Cost £75 a limited number of concessions are available

      --
      Plants for a Future: 7000 useful plants
      Web: http://www.pfaf.org/ := http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/
      Snail: Blagdon Cross, Ashwater, Beaworthy, Devon, EX21 5DF
      Tel: 01208 872 963 / 0845 458 4719
      Email: webmaster@...
      PFAF electronic mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pfaf
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