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Moor Green News - Bleak Midwinter Issue

Well. it is a bit chilly. Only a month ago your editor was grumbling about how mild it was . This is much more seasonal though. And restful: if you were thinking of digging over more of the plot your chance has gone for a couple of weeks - unless you're a masochist with a pickaxe. Of course you could use this opportunity to move to the no-dig method. I don't know what no-diggers do while the rest of us are turning the ground over - collect cardboard I suppose. Anyway when I was young in the late 1920's people said a cold spell was good for killing overwintering pests - and it's true. Try brushing past your brassicas and see if it produces a cloud of whitefly: it certainly would have a month ago. The other upside apart from the beneficial effect of Jack Frost murdering potential enemies of next year's crops is that everybody's plot looks neat and tidy and weed free under even half an inch of snow!

Enjoy it while it lasts - but wrap up warm.

Winter Fair!

No need to wrap up warm if you came to the Winter Fair on the 4th December . Body heat alone sent the temperature in the Clubhouse to summer levels

and drove many to the bar for a cooling drink. Massive thanks to all the volunteers who helped organise the stalls, sell the tea, cakes and honey, staff the bar, manage the tombola, decorate the Clubhouse and clear up afterwards. And all this after organising a children's party the day before. Making a succcess of these events takes alot of work.

We also had a formal reopening of the Clubhouse with its brand spanking new watertight roof by Councillor Majid Mahmood (on the right with the scissors). Big thanks to Councillor Mahmood and our local councillors Izzy Knowles and Kerry Jenkins (also on the right) both for turning up for the occasion and for their continuing support.

Big thanks also to Jonathan Bean for turning up in that jumper and starting the festive season early...

Management Agreement with the City Council

Enough of excitement - where are we with negotiating a new management contract with the Council I hear you ask? Or perhaps it should be I hope you ask. This is the agreement through which tenants on sites across Birmingham pay rent to the Council and in return get a range of world class services in terms of grass cutting, road repair, boundary security, water supply and building maintenance. Or Not. Everyone (including the Council we suspect) knows that the level of human and financial support provided to us is inadequate - which is why your committee of heroic volunteers (have we mentioned them before?) plus the Zone reps end up doing alot of the work to keep the site operational or fundraising to get the work done. To be fair, Moor Green has done amazingly well this year with the Council fully funding the clubhouse roof repair, but that makes us the exception that proves the rule. The new management agreement being negotiated is the best chance we have of re-setting the relationship between the Council and the site associations. A key new clause in the draft - inserted by us - states

“In operating this Agreement both sides will recognise their roles as partners in ensuring the benefits of providing allotment gardens for cultivation in Birmingham. Key principles of this partnership include.

  1. Openness and transparency.

  2. Joint accountability for decision-making wherever possible.

  3. Effective and regular communications between the city council and its managing agents (i.e. the site associations)

  4. Clearly defined outcomes and targets in terms of all key objectives”

Only time will tell whether these are empty words but there were no words at all in the previous agreement. At least this is something we can refer back to if/when the Council doesn’t seem to be acting accordingly.

There's a special meeting to brief everyone on the detail of the draft agreement and to get the views of plotholders at the Clubhouse on 21st January 2023 at 11.00 a.m . There will be tea and biscuits! Please try to get along if you can - it's your chance to hear what's being negotiated on your behalf and to have your say. And the more people that come to these meetings ( there are four of them across the city in January) the more notice the Council is likely to take of our views.

MasterClasses 2023 - Special notice

For those who fill out their New Year Diary on Boxing Day here's a message from the incomparable Oz on next year's Masterclasses. " In 2023 Masterclasses will be on the 3rd Saturday of the month. In the Clubhouse. Commencing 18th. March. For those of you who take longer to get over Christmas/New Year celebrations, this notice will be repeated in January. " That's you told.

New Year's Eve

There will be a disco! It will be great! More details to follow!

And a Merry Christmas to all our readers!

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