Grow Your Own with the Greengrow co-op

The GreenGrow co-op have spent the last few years developing an orchard and market garden on land rented from the Common Ground co-op at Ilketshall St. Andrew. It has become something of a tradition for members of Sustainable Bungay to spend Valentines day helping members of the co-op plant the orchard – this year will be no different.

In 2010 GreenGrow secured some money from the Local Food Fund to develop a project called Grow Your Own – increasing vegetable production on the site and offering opportunities for volunteers to lean more about growing. Becky Taylor, a member of Greengrow, has sent over an update (below), if you’d like to get involved have a look at their Facebook page: Grow your Own Or just turn up on one of the volunteer days.

Dear all,

Just a quick update to let you know how things are going with us up in Ilketshall St Andrew. We’ve had a successful first year running the community vegetable growing project, with 48 different volunteers at different points over the year, which is fantastic. Everyone’s hard work meant that not only did we have lots of produce to share among those taking part in the project, but also we were able to start selling veg
boxes as well as to some outlets in Bungay. We also had two small community supported agriculture stock projects – four pigs and ten geese – and aim to continue doing this in the coming year.

So those of you wanting to get involved, currently we are open to the public every Friday, 10am-3pm. Anyone can come up and get involved in growing, in exchange for in-season veg. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience, we have a worker on site guiding people in the day’s activities. We also have a training budget for volunteers wanting to improve their horticultural skills, so we can pay for people to go on courses. If you would like to come and volunteer but can’t make Fridays, get in touch, and we should be able to arrange something, as people are generally out on the land most days in the growing season.

Once again this year we will have a mass orchard planting, which we have moved to the first two weekends in February, in the hope of avoiding the snow we’ve had for the last two years. In the past we’ve had lots of local people (including a fantastic presence from Sustainable Bungay and Beccles) as well as from further afield, which has enabled us to plant over 300 apple trees. This year we have around 150 to put in (this will be the last year of mass apple planting – next year it will be pears), all trees we grafted ourselves last spring. In total we have thirty varieties of apple, a mix of local heritage varieties and ones chosen for organic growing. We provide the tools, hot food and cake, and shelter (for those who have been in the past you will be pleased to know that we have a tea making shed for shelter and an area in the big polytunnel for small children to play in and keep warm). Despite working hard we generally have a great time, meet new people, catch up with friends and it would be lovely if you were able to make it.

We’re hoping this year to start selling veg boxes in the Bungay area (rather than just in the village), so do get in touch if you would like one, or know someone who would. We aim to sell from late May through to December, will sell different size boxes, allow you to opt-out of your dislikes and will offer discounts for people willing to act as a collection point for three or more boxes.

We are also hosting an increasing number of visits by school and nursery groups and gardening clubs – some come just for a tour, others get involved in activities. If you know of a group which would like a visit, then get in touch.

That’s it for now – if you happen to be passing (we’re on Clarke’s Lane, off Blacksmith’s Common) do drop in for a chat and a look round, good luck and happy growing for the coming year.

All the best, Greengrow Co-operative