Greetings plotters and welcome to this month's edition of the Newsletter. Thanks to Paul Rooney for sharing this magical pic of the Cannon Hill Park entrance one morning last week. During this hectic month of planting, weeding, watering, tieing up stuff that the thunderstorms have blown over - it's good to remember that we're somewhere very special.
Shindig, Big Dig, Long Job
That pretty well sums up the major events of the month on site . Let's start with the Summer Shindig on the 8th July. Big success despite the downpours (or maybe because of) . The Clubhouse filled up whenever the skies opened. There was the usual mighty team of volunteers there early to get everything ready..
Then it fills up with people ...
Meanwhile many more enjoy the great outdoors (and the rain)...
And team Pizza (Oscar and Jonathan) and team Burger (Carol) feed the punters
And as if all that wasn't enough we have another frenzied evening with the Frenzies...
Events like this are at the heart of our fund-raising efforts. We don't yet know how much money was raised on the day but it would be in the high hundreds/low thousands and without this the investment in the clubhouse refurbishment and the projects below would simply be impossible. Thanks for coming!
Big Dig - What's that Trench?
The Committee escape route - for members to slip undetected back to their plots during meetings? Of course not - our meetings are known for their high levels of excitement and fun. It's a trench for the electricity cable linking the new solar panel array on top of those containers in the background and the seedstore to the clubhouse. This means bucketloads ( this may not be the usual measure of quantity for electricity ) of off grid power to the Clubhouse and another contribution to tackling climate change from our little community. Have a closer look at the seedstore roof too.
Its new! No point in putting new panels on a knackered roof so we bit the bullet and replaced it. This will future-proof the seedstore, which has been protected by nothing more than a big tarpaulin for the last couple of years.
Security is an ongoing job on the site. You could probably have an item about gates, locks, fences and intruders in every issue of this Newsletter. We reported shed fires in the last two editions and it gives us no pleasure to report that there has been another deliberately caused fire in a shed . Mercifully on this occasion the shed didn't burn down but it has a massive hole in the floor and tools and other items have been stolen. The matter has of course been reported (again) to the police and we will be raising it (again) in a meeting with the Allotments Officer and local councillors next week.
It would be easy to give up on this problem. We have 300+ metres of boundary fence with a big, popular, largely unmonitored public space on the other side and a Council that doesn't have any money to spend on what it sees as someone else's problem. But your tireless committee of heroic volunteers (see all previous editions) have taken action over the past month including:
pressing the police for a point of liaison/contact that we can get in touch with quickly and chase for information on progress, rather than an anonymous helpline which takes anything up to an hour to get through on followed by the gift of an official crime number. RESULT! we now have a named officer with a phone number and will shortly be meeting the local police to work out how best to make the new arrangements work
cameras. We now have cameras in three locations across the site to monitor known points of entry. We don't think most intruders come through the gates. NB this is not a reason to leave any gate unlocked - that's basic security housekeeping. RESULT! We now have a couple of pics of at least one intruder. This will obviously be shared with the police
fence strengthening. Eight volunteers took an afternoon this week to install some hefty pieces of heras fencing at various weak points in the boundary fence with Cannon Hill Park. Thanks Jon, Glyn, Deb, Duncan, Alf, Sushin, Paul and David. RESULT! 25 metres of serious deterrence.
making a fuss. We now have regular meetings with local councillors and their consistent badgering as well as ours has led to the progress with local police and - RESULT! a meeting next week with the Allotment Office. We are hopeful that the Director of the department, Darren Share may put in a guest appearance.
We keep going on this. Lock the gate. Keep an eye out for unfamilar visitors or disturbance on nearby plots. Look out for neighbours. Harry the Council and Police. Bid for more replacement new fencing (likely to be the Winter Big Lottery Fund project).
BDAC Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Show
The BDAC will be holding its Fruit, flower and vegetable competition again this year at Bordesley
Green Allotments. The number of classes in the Schedule remains the same as 2022 and includes several classes for novice growers. A good time to start your showing journey. There are many individual classes to enter including ones for children.
Entries close at the end of July so don’t delay ! To enter download the schedule from the BDAC website where you will also find the entry form and instructions on where to send your entries.
Alternatively, contact the Show Secretary Dave Hubball 72 Longstone Road Birmingham B42 2DP, phone 07528 521304 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Important update for August 2023 for Vegetable Competition Exhibitors.
a) Access to Show benches for exhibitors will be between 9.00 am and 8.00pm Friday 18th
August 2023 and Saturday 19th August 2023 between 8.00 am and 8.45am.
b) Show Bench Arena will be closed for judging from 9.00am until judging is complete.
c) Only those persons officially appointed shall be present during the judging of
d) No exhibit is to be removed before 5.00pm on Saturday 19th August 2023
e) The Show Area will open to the public at approx. 12.00pm, closing to the public at
f) Presentation will be at 4.30pm on the day of the show.
If you haven’t entered before have a try, it’s fun to take part. And please note we will have our own Produce Show on the second weekend in September . More on that in the August Newsletter.
Annual General Meeting
Well it all went reasonably well on 8th July - thanks for asking. 26 people turned up for which much thanks. That's about 10% of all plotholders. 30% would be better - puts us on a par with the number of people voting in local elections You can get the draft notes of the meeting by clicking on the button below.
Research Project -Making the Case for Birmingham Allotments.
Every one of the thousands of plotholders in Birmingham understands the benefits of allotments. They produce food, reducing the need for sourcing produce from further afield or overseas. Some of the food goes directly or indirectly to the poorest people in our city. They improve well-being, both physical and mental, thus probably saving money in terms of NHS and caring services costs. And they sustain the environment – these are green and biodiverse spaces. So why doesn’t Birmingham City Council give us more priority? Partly because we don’t have the evidence to prove those benefits. Moor Green Allotments has contacted the University of Birmingham Centre for Urban Well Being (we’ve never heard of it either) and they might be up for a detailed research project to
1. To examine and quantify the benefits of the allotment estate to the city’s residents and to Birmingham City Council (BCC) as the landlord.
2. Benefits defined in terms of
a. Food production especially benefits to the wider community including links to food banks and other charities
b. Environment – biodiversity, carbon capture, reduced carbon footprint/water footprint
c. Mental and Physical Well-being.
It’s likely the research will mainly be through questionnaires to individual plotholders. At the moment we're just trying to establish through BDAC whether other sites are interested in participating. If there is a good response we’ll organise a meeting at Moor Green with free tea and biscuits for all interested parties! If you would like to help in any way/get in on the ground floor, just drop an email to email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
See you next month! Back to the plot....