Spring News - we're back!
Updated: Apr 17
We made it! Spring has finally sprung, we’re back at our plots at last, and gradually (very gradually) things starting to return to normal.
Of course we've been lucky enough to enjoy our own mindful nature-loving brand of normal throughout lockdown, but spending more time outdoors, and food-growing with like-minded people is what many of us have really missed.
For others it'll be a bigger step venturing out after being so careful for so long, but we'll be with you every step of the way.
Our Covid Safety plans are still very much in place: with 2m distancing, masking up in closer quarters, hand-sanitiser on tap and an abundance of fresh air surrounding us, we feel we're in a good position to welcome MindFooders back. And we're pleased to confirm that all of our Food & Wellbeing Growers have now been vaccinated and take a lateral flow test before hosting sessions - so we hope you'll be reassured you're in safe hands.
Looking back Over the last couple of months we've expanded our MindFood at Home programme to offer a connection to nature to more people than ever. Our whatsapp group - the MindFood Massive’ - has been one of the highlights, with a steady mindful stream of photos from keen foragers, Spring watchers, Hanami enthusiasts (blossom fest!), avid growers and sunset capturers.
Browse just a taster of all this activity in our gallery at the bottom of the page.
Our next newsletter's photo theme will be 'nature's place in the city' - keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of plants that are thriving despite their urban surroundings.
An example in the gallery would be the primroses bursting through the paving slabs at Horsenden. This can be your mindful exercise for the month!
Funding from the Lottery and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport allowed us to reach out to other community groups with our Grow Social online programme. Here’s Lucy preparing seed packs for growing kits in the polytunnel, and a group of Neighbourly Care members showing off their gorgeous house plants.
MindFood through Lockdown and beyond... We’d really like your help with feedback on how MindFood has helped you since the beginning of the year - it will illustrate to funders how their grants have benefitted our local community, and perhaps more importantly it will help shape our plans for the coming year.
Follow this link to feed back today!
And in fact, if you’d like to get involved in a MindFood focus group on 29th April from 11-12 on zoom, please do let Lucy know. The aim of the co-production group will be to see how we can improve what we’re already doing, look at how we might reach a wider audience, and also explore new ideas and opportunities for the future. If you’re keen to get involved, but can’t get to the focus group session, just shout and we’ll send you a questionnaire that will cover the same topics as we’ll discuss on the day.
Looking Forward - Art in Nature
We're also making plans to bring back our Naturally Creative sessions again. So if you'd like to explore your arty side using nature as a theme, then look out for sessions in the next few months. We're shaping the programme now, so if you'd like to feed into this, please follow the link below. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ArtInNature What’s happening right now First up, we’d like to share our new timetable. There have been quite a few changes since before Christmas, due to funding considerations, so please do have a careful read and get in touch if you’re planning to join us.
Course dates for new starters are:
Friday 23rd April - 1 to 3.30 at Cleveley Crescent W5 1DZ
Wednesday 5th May - 10.30 to 12.30, also at Cleveley
Tuesday 18th May - 12 to 2.30pm at Horsenden Farm UB6 7PB
Makeover Mondays Through April and May, we’re finally able to resume our Cleveley makeover plans, which began with the building of our fancy mini eden project dome back in September. Generally the sessions will be to tidy and transform the site: we'll build new raised beds (ideal if you want to try your hand at carpentry!), work on projects like improving accessibility, and even start a new drought garden.
Our first project will be to build a new pergola for the grape vines - they’re starting to bud up already, so it’s a bit of a race against time! As such, preparation will begin on 19th April and we’ll aim to complete the build on 26th April.
This will be quite a skilled job, so please do let us now if you’re a keen DIY-er with a Monday (26th) to spare.
If you’re new to woodwork, please do come along anyway - there will be plenty to learn and do!
We’re well underway with our Summer sowings now, and we’re developing a goodly stock of tomato plants, chillis, aubergines and salads for growing at our two sites, or sharing with local primary schools.
At Horsenden we’ve been harvesting the last of our cavolo nero, luscious green spinach leaves, the first stalks of rhubarb and plenty of herbs. And we’ve grown enough lettuce in the polytunnel to be able to share it with a local Food Bank.
At Cleveley, the broad beans we sowed back in November are in flower, and we’ve been pinching the tips to make them less attractive to black fly. And our companion planting with garlic seems to be paying off too.
Crop of the month
It's broccoli again - check out this beautiful purple-sprouting broccoli to round off this month's post. We sowed it in March of last year, as we were entering lockdown - it's been absolutely worth the wait.
Take care out there, and do stay in touch.
Lucy and the MindFood Team 🌱🌿😀
Tel: 07720 092954
We'll leave you with these gorgeous Spring photos ...