Posts tagged ‘Sims Hill’

May 11, 2019

Sims Hill Traineeship news

In Spring 2019 we ran a crowdfunder to start a brand new traineeship at Sims Hill.

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Sustainable agriculture is a vital industry, but it can be hard for new growers to develop their skills and find their feet. The average age of UK farmers is around 58, so we desperately need to make sure we have a new generation of growers who know how to work the land – and crucially, understand the techniques of sustainable land management to protect our soil, reduce our carbon footprint and ensure biodiversity into the future. There are lots of volunteering opportunities in sustainable agriculture, but relatively few entry-level grower positions that allow people to up-skill, learn on the job and get ready to take on bigger responsibilities.

We are delighted to announce that through generous donations from over 95 donors, we raised £4,361 through our crowdfunder. On top of this, we received an extra donation of £1,000 from the employee-owned architectural firm Stride Treglown. This means we achieved our target (hurray!) and have been able to start the Sims Hill Traineeship 2019.

thank you

The money raised is going towards:

  • Paying the wage of our trainee. We believe in paying trainees and interns for their work as an investment in their future and the future of the agricultural sector.
  • Paying for crucial training courses that support the practical experience gained at Sims Hill. Our growing team are a wealth of knowledge, but accredited, specific training (e.g. a First Aid course) to build knowledge and confidence will ensure a strong start in the industry.
  • Investing in the future of the traineeship. The increase in Sims Hill efficiency and productivity in 2019 (in part thanks to having the trainee on board) means that we hope to be able to fund the traineeship from our income in future years. This first year of seed funding means we can develop resilient and long term practices to support the traineeship, looking to 2020 and beyond.

We want to send huge thanks to everybody who shared news of our crowdfunder, supported or donated rewards or money to the traineeship. You have built a legacy that will live on in the land and landworkers.

With our raised funds, we acted quickly to advertise and interview for the 2019 traineeship post. We had an excellent caliber of applicants and are delighted to announce that our new trainee started on 7th May – with a day of planting 7,000 beetroot! We have confidence in their existing skills developed through volunteer roles, and their drive and willingness to learn for a future in sustainable agriculture.

Once again, thanks to everyone for supporting Sims Hill in our mission to make quality, nutritious food accessible – as consumers and growers – building a resilient, connected community in the Bristol area.

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March 19, 2019

Crowdfunder launched today

We started the year with the threat of being turned to tarmac as a new Park & Ride, but with fantastic local support we are making 2019 a year when we grow and flourish instead.

We need your help.

We have launched a crowdfunder to raise money to ‘Grow a Grower’ for this summer.

We want to start a traineeship program at Sims Hill for new entrant growers. We are looking to employ a paid trainee for 2 days a week for the coming season.

We are aiming to raise £5,000 to cover the trainees wages and provide them with training and courses.

grow sims hill even more

Why support new growers?
Sims Hill is committed to sharing skills and knowledge with the community.
We recognise the need to upskill new producers and build a new generation of food growers in Bristol.

Why a paid traineeship?
Sims Hill is committed to supporting its farmers to build sustainable livelihoods. We recognise that for new growers it is difficult to find paid training options, particularly in urban agriculture projects.

We want to work towards a model which can support new growers in a fair way.

More land, more food
This year at Sims Hill we would like to increase the amount of land we are using to grow food and produce more food for our members. With a trainee joining the growing team we hope we can produce more vegetables shares.

We feel this is a vital step to make our CSA more robust and create more viable jobs for our growing team. From 2020 we aim to employ a trainee grower each season from our income and continue to build our CSA.

We would really appreciate your support in raising the £5,000 needed to employ a new trainee.

So, please forward this email, tell your friends and share the link below to our crowdfunding page. All donations of any scale are welcome. As anyone who’s ever done the weeding can tell you; every little really does help.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/grow-a-grower-at-sims-hill

Many thanks

The Sims Hill team

PS. Make sure you check out the adorable video our friends at Black Bark Films made us on the crowdfunder page!

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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.