Wendy Phillips, a valued member and volunteer at the farm describes how the Valley Promotion Group have been working with the farm in their local community and how you can get involved:
If you are already a member of TCF, and have attended the TCF Farmer days or are a regular volunteer at the farm, you will have a good idea about the great things they have been doing since they started. For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to volunteer yet, or are yet to become members of TCF there are many ways you can get involved.
Last year, I and a small band of other TCF volunteers from the local Chew and Yeo Valley areas set up the Valley Promotion Group (VPG) as a group of volunteers who wanted to support the growth of the farm. Our goal was to support the farm to grow its business, and at the same time, pass on the message about healthy eating of locally grown organic produce. Since then, we have promoted the Community Farm through local projects that reflect the ethos of what TCF is all about. VPG volunteers have attended local events to show off the lovely produce; visited local old people’s homes, written pieces for local publications and spread the word about what the farm is doing in our own local areas.
We are also passionate about educating people about the benefits of growing and eating your own produce and passing that passion onto others. This year, we were thinking about ways in which we could really integrate the local community with the farm. This spring saw the start of a fantastic project where VPG volunteers worked with several of the local valley primary schools in a joint Schools Seed Growing Project. The farm supplied the seeds, we put together a project information pack, and the primary and pre-school children and teachers did all the rest. Despite the bad weather we have had over the spring and summer terms, the project was really successful and got lots of young school children growing potatoes, lettuces and peas and more. You can see the pictures of some of Blagdon and Chew Stoke’s collaboration on the Community Farm website!
Now a new year is almost upon us, we are looking to do more great things with TCF volunteers and our local communities. Although as a volunteer group we have started small, our aim is to expand into more of a TCF social group and invite anyone who wants to get involved with a one-off project, or simply wants to join us for social events (our local pubs seem popular meeting points). Whatever your interest and involvement with the Community Farm, come along and meet in an informal way and get to know other people interested in growing and eating organic food. If you have an idea (or skills), we would love to hear from you – the next TCF community project could be yours.
We will be holding an informal meeting at The Stoke Inn (Chew Stoke) at 5.30pm on Monday 17th December. If you’re interested in joining us, please do come along and meet us, hear our plans and share any ideas you have of your own.
Wendy Phillips (previous Valley Promotion Group Chair)