Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

January 12, 2019

M32 Park & Ride update

An update on the status of the M32 Park and Ride proposals – January 12th 2019.

The consultation on the proposal closed on Monday 7th Jan.

How did the consultation go?

In sum: You made it happen. We had an email from Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol on 2nd January saying “Clearly the land at Sims Hill is of real significance as evidenced by the number of emails I have received” – and the campaign was only 10 days old at that point!

We had over 3,000 people reading our call-out for action on the website, over 150 shares of the action on Facebook, and media coverage in Bristol Post, BBC News, a radio interview on BBC Radio Bristol and a news story in local newsletter The Week In. We don’t have the data from the consultation to know exactly how many responses they had yet, but we are trying to find that out too.

Both Kerry McCarthy MP and Darren Jones MP gave full support to get the P&R proposal site relocated. You can read their responses to the consultation here: (Kerry) (Darren) and the letters they received from Marvin Rees in response to their further conversations with Bristol City Council in support of our project (Darren) (Kerry).

We also had enormous public and background support from Bristol Food Network, Green Bristol City Councillors and the Blue Finger Alliance. Their efforts were invaluable to help us understand the situation and mobilise all you lovely people to respond. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

Has our collective action made a difference?

At this stage of course we can’t be 100% sure – new plans have not yet been published so we can’t count our chickens (or leeks) just yet. However, we are confident that the actions everyone has taken has shifted the debate and influenced some of the politicians who will be making this decision. The Mayor’s response so far has stopped short of making promises, but he has expressed publicly his “clear preference… for a site further north, nearer the M4 junction.” He goes on to say:

“we have a responsibility to preserve important green space for local food production and for public and environmental good… I would be interested to explore how our publicly owned land can connect with aspirations for peri-urban farms… I would support any opportunity to develop this on Bristol City Council owned land.”

The whole spatial plan is a negotiation between the four local councils (Bristol, S Glos, N Somerset & BANES) so having the Mayor in favour of changing the proposed site, strong support from local MPs, and a vocal public on our side is a really good place to be at this point.

What happens next?

There are two parts to this.

What will the council and West of England authorities do next?

The West of England spatial plan will be negotiated between the councils over the next few months and the consultation responses will inform this. We expect a second stage of public discussion around May, when there will be an inspection of the whole plan, considering what has been proposed and the consultation responses. We or other organisations on our behalf should hopefully get the chance to feed into this inspection, so we await that stage.

Beyond this, if the current proposal doesn’t get changed there will be several more stages to the negotiations and there will have to be local consultations on more specific plans. None of this is going to happen overnight, or even in 2019. That means we can keep fighting, and in the meantime we can definitely keep growing and eating.

What will you do next?

We are massively grateful for the incredible outpouring of support in a crisis – it has meant a huge amount and we think it will really pay off. Our ‘real’ work and fun continues though, and we would love to share more of the everyday love with you all as well.

1.Keep in touch. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, and we will keep updating the website as the situation develops.

2. You can join our next volunteer day on Sunday 20th January (or the third Sunday of any month) if you want to get your hands stuck in to some practical solidarity. It’s always a fun day, and it makes a huge difference having some extra helpers to get work done. See here for more details.

3. Eat our delicious vegetables. We are feeding over 110 homes (we were too modest in our campaign!) across Bristol but we have space for a few more. It’s £7/week for a half share, or £12/week for a full share. Be the vegetable revolution.

4. Become a “vegetable champion” supporter. If you can’t manage the vegetables but could put some money towards the cause, we gladly accept donations to help us strengthen our project and do more work with the community. Donations can be as little as £2/month but it really does help. Join our network.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us via the contact page.

Stay warm, share the love and eat your greens x

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May 1, 2018

Spring 2018 update

Work around the farm and in the busy hours of our many helpers, Board members and staff has been keeping everything shipshape and Bristol fashion for Sims Hill.

On the land

The Spring planting has been going well and the new polytunnel looking an absolute delight with its leafy greens and delicious compost. We are on schedule with all of our planting so far, aiming to get all the onions out in the first week of May and the beetroot soon after. The only crop that the strange weather this year managed to spoil was the celeriac. Unexpectedly, it wasn’t the snow or the late cold snap that caused a problem, but those sudden hot days at the start of April that crisped the seedlings and overheated the crop. A shame! But nature takes as it gives, and other than that we are in good form for the summer and autumn to come.

In the shares at the moment we are managing to provide our own greens and salad leaves, but are buying in other vegetables until the “hungry gap” of April – June is over and we have our own crops ready with summer growth. We used an excellent farm near Swindon for much of our bought in veg over the winter, but they too have run out of stocks so we have had to go further afield until our own provision increases. We do our best to balance our aims of sourcing as locally as possible, from other farms who share our ethos and within a price range that means we can continue to provide members with seven vegetables each week. This gets harder as the hungry gap reduces local stocks and raises prices, but summer is around the corner so the growers are working hard on the land to make sure we can provide as much as possible ourselves as soon as the weather allows.

Partnerships

We are extremely proud to announce that we have reached our highest ever number of members, which is brilliant. We are providing veg for over 90 households around the city at the moment. There is always some flux and flow in member numbers as people move away or change their habits, but we hope to keep member numbers up and even grow a little bit more. Our strongest “social network” is our membership, so tell a friend about us (thumbs up sign optional) and help us strengthen our roots across the city.

Feedback from members’ meetings and ongoing discussions have raised the idea of keeping bees on the land several times over the last couple of years. Over the last few months the idea was explored in more depth, and the Board have confirmed that we will not be putting this into action. Discussions with Avon Wildlife Trust (who manage Feed Bristol) have taught us that they would rather the site encouraged solitary bees, as when honey bees are brought in they out-compete the solitary bees. You can find out more about the difference and why solitary bees are important here. On the big field, which is not shared with Feed Bristol, our lease from Bristol City Council would make sub-contracting to a beekeeper complicated, so this is also not a sensible idea. All in all, it has been useful to investigate the topic in more depth – did you know there are 267 species of bee in the UK? – so for the time being we will stay as we are, welcoming and admiring the bees that choose to buzz with us of their own accord.

Upcoming events

Our community worker Laurie has moved away from Bristol, so her role has been taken on by Sian, who was already closely involved in the Community Food Centre which has made for a smooth hand-over. With Sian’s support we will be running a “lunchtime conversation” in June as part of Bristol Food Connections. Watch out for news and details on our Facebook page and here on the website. We are also part of the Get Growing Trail this summer which opens up community gardens and growing spaces around the city for visitors. Along with our usual volunteer work days on the 3rd Sunday of every month, it’s a busy, sociable time ahead.

Happy May day to all, let us unite as workers, eaters, producers and vegetable lovers.

 

December 1, 2017

Mandy’s stuffed pattypan recipe

Our incredible pumpkin crop this year has given members plenty of pumpkin to experiment with new recipes. ‘Pattypan’ pumpkins – the white ones that look like space ships – can be harvested small and eaten raw, or left to grow larger for a dramatic looking pumpkin. However, their looks are more impressive than their personality, so recipes need to get creative and add interesting flavourings to make the most of this surprising vegetable.

In France, pattypan are known as “pâtisson” and often served stuffed. If your French is up to scratch, take a look at recipes for “pâtisson farci”. Our friend Mandy checked out a few options and came up with this translated approach.

Mandy’s stuffed pattypan

Some recipes say boil the pumpkin first, but the problem is it makes the outside soft while the inside is still relatively hard, and makes it much harder to handle.

1. Cut the top off, scoop out the seed and some of the flesh.

2. Boil a small potato, then chop it up. You could use breadcrumbs instead, but a potato makes it a gluten-free dish.

3. Fry together onion, bacon, mushroom, swiss chard, garlic, chopped up scooped out patty pan, seasoning.

4. Chop up Gruyere cheese.

5. Mix all the veg, potato and cheese together and stuff the pattypan shell. Grate some more Gruyere on top. Bake without the top to get a tasty cheese crust, or put the top back on for a proper pumpkin look.

6. Bake at 180C for an hour.

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November 1, 2017

Lunchtime conversation: Property is theft? Property is freedom?

Property is theft_

What have the English Revolution, the Irish potato famine and the gentrification of Easton all have in common?
Find out at a fascinating discussion on the transformative role of land ownership patters through British history.
The event will include a talk from Humprey Lloyd, a grower and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance, as well as a Q and A and general discussion from all present.
Lunch will be ready at 12:30 for everyone to share, cooked by the volunteers at Sims Hill Community Food Centre – we would appreciate a small donation. The discussion will then take place from 1-2pm. Please sign up on eventbrite so we know how many to cook for 🙂

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/property-is-theft-property-is-freedom-tickets-39475596572


Everyone welcome!

 

October 4, 2017

What are men eating & what’s eating men? Lunchtime Conversation

We are pleased to announce our next lunchtime conversation at Sims Hill Community Food Centre will be on the 26th October from 12:30 – 2pm.

What choices do men make about the food that they (/we) eat? Do they (/we) have any specific attitudes around animal- or plant-based protein? And what links do and can men make between what happens on the plate and what happens in the wider environment?

Dr Emma Roe and Dr Paul Hurley are researchers at the University of Southampton, and have been leading a project in Bristol in partnership with Windmill Hill City Farm and The Matthew Tree Project. They’re trying to understand more about men’s relationships to the ‘more-than-human world’, interrogating what it means to be an ethical consumer, and seeking to find new opportunities for men to become ecological citizens. The Man Food project has involved workshops with groups of men, an artists’ residency (And All the Men We Saw Today<http://bristolgreencapital.org/events/men-saw-today-sensory-audio-walk/>), pop up discussions and the development of a toolkit, for organisations wanting to work with groups around food and ecology. It has been funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council Connected Communities Programme.

At Sims Hill, Emma and Paul join us for an interactive discussion about some of the themes of Man Food, and seeing how we can get past some of the stereotypes and misconceptions around food and gender, to affect real social and ecological change.

Lunch will be served at 12:30 and the discussion will begin at around 1pm. Lunch is free though please bring your pennies to make a donation for ingredients. Lunch is vegetarian and will be cooked by the members of the Sims Hill Community Food Centre on an open fire for all to enjoy. Everyone welcome!

Please RSVP so we know how many to cook for…https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/what-are-men-eating-and-whats-eating-men-lunchtime-conversation-tickets-38584603588

Any questions? Get in touch with Laurie on laurie@realeconomy.co.uk

September 13, 2017

Re-imagining the city – what do you want to discuss?

cristina

Join the Sims Hill Community Food Centre for lunch and help us decide on topics for our upcoming monthly discussions- we want to re-imagine our future and our city in a more sustainable and ethical way – so what big ideas and practical steps do we want to have and to take? During this event we will creating a list of topics that we want to explore over the coming year. Chris Sunderland, director of Sims Hill and the Real Economy will be facilitating.

The Sims Hill Community Food Centre group will be cooking a deicious vegan lunch for us to share. Please sign up for a ticket so we know how many to cater for. Donations for food costs would be appreciated.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/re-imagining-the-city-what-do-you-want-to-discuss-tickets-37869514738

Thursday 21st September, 12:30-14:00 @ Feed Bristol

Everyone welcome!

July 26, 2017

Sustaining the land: the diet question – lunchtime conversation

Easton pick up point

The next in our series of monthly conversations – let’s discuss what a sustainable diet really looks like. Hannah Steenbergen from the Sustainable Food Trust will be facilitating a conversation about this topic – drawing from her work at SFT, which will bring in important topics such as fats and livestock, soil and sustainability. Food for thought – and you will get fed as well! The members of our Community Food Centre will be cooking up some fresh, homegrown veggies so we don’t get hungry while we talk about food!

Thursday 10th August, 12:30-14:00.

Feed Bristol, 158 Frenchay Park Road, Bristol, BS16 1HB

Please RSVP on eventbrite so we know how many people to cater for: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sustaining-the-land-the-diet-question-lunchtime-conversation-tickets-36538457510

 

Everyone welcome.

The event is free but donations for ingredients would be welcomed.

March 12, 2017

Sims Hill is looking for a Volunteer Finance Manager

Hello all! Sims Hill needs a volunteer Finance Manager who will also act as our Board Treasurer. The job description is below. If you are interested, please send a cover letter to simshillsharedharvest@gmail.com.

Role

This role will involve working closely with the Farm Manager and Chair of the Board to manage the overall finances of the business, including the grant funded projects.

This will include:

  • Developing budgets and business plans
  • Regular monitoring of income and spend compared to business plans
  • Reporting to the Board on the financial position.
  • Advising the bookkeeper where necessary on how to account for projects within the accounting package.
  • Liaising with the external accountant for the year end accounts.

Skills needed:

  • Financial and Business experience
  • Good Communication
  • Experience of financial accounting packages and Excel

Desirable:

  • Accounting experience
  • Experience of Quick Books
  • Knowledge of vegetable growing projects and challenges of this sector.

The book keeping and financial administration is not part of this role.

November 11, 2016

Sims Hill Supporter Member offer

workday Love what Sims Hill does but don’t need a veg share because you have an allotment or garden? Why not join us as a support member. For a monthly donation of any amount from as little as £3 and up, you can become part of the project. We’ll keep you informed of what’s going on and you will be welcome to take part in our membership meetings. You are also very welcome to volunteer at the site and come and join in our monthly workdays. At the same time you’ll know that you’re supporting local food growing in Bristol and our work with vulnerable communities and schools. To sign up contact us or fill in our membership form and send it to simshillmembership@gmail.com.

November 10, 2016

Community Food Centre launch

The Sims Hill Community Food Centre is now open for referrals!

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This is an exciting new project that aims to create a community around food growing, cooking and sharing. Taking inspiration from a progressive movement in Canada, the project supports individuals that require emergency food provisions to have access to good quality, healthy and local food.

The Community Food Centre which will take place at Sims Hill’s site at Feed Bristol every Thursday, involves a gardening session followed by a big meal prepared and cooked by the group. The group members have access to a free veg bag from by Sims Hill growers for nine weeks and will receive £45 of vouchers for the Real Economy Coop, as well as a free lunch at the site. The Real Economy Coop sources good quality, local and organic food from local producers and delivers to food clubs around Bristol.

We are currently looking for volunteers who would be available on Thursdays to help with running the session and helping to prepare the lunch. Please spread the word or get in touch to find out more.

Thanks!

laurie@realeconomy.co.uk.