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Good progress towards getting a stockfree organic agriculture, education, research and development centre has been reported in previous issues, and a site had been found in the North West. Unfortunately, the site that VOT had found turned out to have unusable soil quality, and also, negotiations with the site owners encountered difficulties, so VOT have decided to pull out. They are now looking elsewhere for a more suitable site.
Their video project, where videos of stock-free farming are being produced, is progressing well. The plan is to film throughout 2004 to capture a whole growing season, and then to edit the material into semi-professionally produced videos which they will sell. Most of the filming will be at Tolhurst Organic Produce, a vegan organic farm near Reading, although they hope to do some filming elsewhere too. VOT are also writing a Vegan Organic Growers' Manual, and further chapters have been written since we last reported on this.
In 2004, VOT plan to launch the Vegan Organic Standards in conjunction with the Soil Association. This will be an enhanced version of the Soil Association's current standards, and will guarantee stock-free farming, without the use of animal by-products such as manure, and fertilisers based on fish, blood, bone, hoof, horn, etc. They also forbid hunting and shooting on the land of farmers who have the vegan organic standards. Considerable hard work has gone into organising these standards over the last few years.
Their 40-page A4 sized magazine Growing Green International which their supporters receive is full of information on growing, and includes articles written by professional growers. It's another good reason to become a VOT supporter.
VOT plan to put more information on their website at www.veganorganic.net, including many articles from previous Growing Green International magazines. One area where they lack a little skill is in their website. If anyone can help them with this, then that would be a great boost to them.
Louisa, who owns this 29-acre site near Scarborough, has had problems with theft of tools and equipment. She is therefore hoping to get planning permission to put up a building on the site to store things. Following the successful volunteer week last September, she hopes to have volunteer weekends (rather than full weeks) this Spring/Summer.
She plans to plant around trees rather than chopping them down. Since the trees cause shade to the surrounding areas which can inhibit growth, she needs help and advice on this.
She still hasn't had any volunteers to help improve the website at www.woodlandproject.org.uk. She needs someone to gather useful information on woodlands to be added to their website. Plants for a Future (www.pfaf.org) have lots of information on their website, whereas Louisa's is very basic, but needs more (e.g. on sustainable forestry, hedge-laying, coppicing, permaculture, bio-dynamics, forest gardening, tree-planting, green woodworking and organic gardening) so that it attracts more visitors to the website, and might help her to get funding and volunteers in the future. Perhaps two different people could do this – someone finding the information, who doesn't need to know about website design, and someone else to put this information on the website. You also don't need to live in the Scarborough area. If you can help with this, please contact Louisa on 07748 101117. Email: Ancientwoodlands@aol.com. Web: www.woodlandproject.org.uk.
One of PFAF's two sites, The Field in Cornwall, is going to be put into a new collaborative structure called a "land club" to protect its long term future. The land will be held by the club under a restrictive covenant which ensures that the land will be worked in a way that is in keeping with PFAF's vegan organic values. Club members will be able to lease a part of the land in order to practice vegan, organic woodland gardening and to promote education and research in this area.
After they have got the club up and running, they will in the near future appeal for new members. For more information, contact Phil James, 24 Lerryn View, Lerryn, Near Lostwithiel, Cornwall PL22 0QL. Email: email@example.com. Web: www.pfaf.org.
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Cross-reference: Growing Fruit & Veg
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