Meeting 25th June 2015

Welsh Grain Forum Meeting

25 June 2015, Felin Ganol, Llanrhystud

Present

  • Anne (Chair) & Andrew Parry, Felin Ganol

  • John Savage, Da Mhile Distillery

  • Gary Whitely, Maesyfin Mushrooms

  • Rupert Dunn, Torth y Tir

  • Nicky Mason & Steven Jacobs, Organic Farmers & Growers

  • Andrew Broad & Daphne Field

  • Lucy Watson & Ben Pratt, The Organic Fresh Food Company

  • Naomi Salmon

  • Tony Little (Notes)

Apologies from: Andy & Leanne Wright, Gez Richards, Alex Gooch, Rick Coldman

Updates from Welsh Grain Forum members

Activities since the last meeting included:

  • Felin Ganol: Attended the Spring Festival (see below for details); Milling Tybalt from IBERS, April Bearded and Granary from Andrew Broad and testing a mix of heritage varieties from Graham Morris; Building links with Bara Menyn in Cardigan

  • Da Mhile: Producing a single malt from Brewers wort supplied from Brecon Brewery (?)

OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers): Organisers of the National Organic Combinable Crops event (formerly National Organic Cereals); Very interested in heritage varieties; Links with the Totnes oats project, who are looking to mill a small quantity of oats supplied from within in a thirty mile radius of the town; Supportive of Transition Town Shrewsbury and wider Transition Network and sharing knowledge. Offering support to the Welsh Grain Forum.

The support OF&G are offering to take a form yet to be decided but to some extent this is up to the forum to say what is needed. If I can reiterate as I said at the meeting this can be us helping generally, besides with office support if required also that we would be very happy to promote the forum and its members and ideals as and when appropriate. Again depending on what the forum requires. For instance if we can take up some of the duties with administrating meetings or something similar we’d be happy to help.

Steven says: I realise forum members will be in the throes of harvesting, threshing and so forth and I hope all is well. Does seem to be a rather bitty harvest this year with many reporting having to dive in and out of the weather and that some crops being fully ripe while others still green. I’d be very interested to learn how your heritage varieties are faring on this.

  • Torth y Tir: Generally crops are doing well, particularly the Rye. For wheat, growing Aragon 03 and Hen Gymro, though the latter is a bit behind. Bakery is developing with support from Growing Livelihoods; Festival in May went well; new oven worked well and pizza were great; Successfully applied for a grant from Growing Livelihoods to set up the bakery; Looking to move on site & start milling there next year

  • Fronlas: Mixed season. Attlee (red wheat), is looking good, but Maris Widgeon and spelt have failed. Bough a grain cleaner and drier.

  • Organic Fresh Food Company; Producing 650 loaves/ week now; Started growing; Land ploughed and sowed with forage brassicas. Spelt, rye and wheat to be sown in the Autumn. Battling weeds! Some difficulties with seed, possibly because it originates from East of England and therefore not suited to Welsh conditions. Could try sourcing from West of England, Northumberland, Scotland or Brittany?

  • Naomi Salmon: Obtained planning permission to build bakery at home in Borth. Up to now, have been using a domestic oven, but it’s not up to scratch. Looking for advice on commercial oven, and will visit Lucy and Ben at Organic Fresh food company. Will market through shops and looking at a community supported bakery – good potential in Abersytwyth. Vic North runs excellent Bakery courses http://vicnorth.co.uk/       

Spring Festival

The Spring Festival went very well. We had many of the Welsh Grain Forum members present, and Tom Bean estimates that 200 people participated in the pizza making workshop which provided ample opportunity to talk about Welsh Grain. Anne Parry gave a presentation on the Forum as part of the ’10 Minute Talk Shops’ on the OCW stand.

All the promotional materials were well received – our thanks to Leanne

We agreed that this is the kind of thing we would want to do again, but it is quite expensive and would require external funding

Activities for next year

The following were suggested

  • Members attending food festivals etc could also promote the Forum

  • A harvest event

  • A visit to Andy Forbes

  • A visit to John Letts

  • A screening of the Grain Divide when it eventually comes out!

Website

The new improved website is now operational. Changes include:

  • A new ‘Wordpress’ theme

  • Application of new branding

  • Updated contacts

  • Expansion of expand links/contacts to similar organisations in Europe/worldwide (good for search engines)

  • Integration of the Facebook account

  • Expansion of the about page

  • Compatibility on smartphones/tablet

  • Search engine optimisation

  • Improvement to the Forum/corn exchange

Our thanks to Andy Wright for his work on this and to Gary for his continued input. Our Facebook Likes have already increased as result of the new site.

Admin

With the end of the BOBL project and Tony leaving OCW, we need to make new arrangements for managing the group. OF&G offered to pick up the secretarial support, make strategic links with other organisations and co-ordinate some of the Forum’s activities.

Constitution

The constitution was agreed. The Committee will include:

  • Anne Parry, Felin Ganol

  • Rupert Dunn, Torth o’r Tir

  • Daphne Fields, Fronlas Farm

  • Ben Pratt, Organic Fresh Food Company

  • Naomi Salmon

Gary Whitely will support the committee on an ad hoc basis

The Forum will Bank with Triodos.

Next meeting

  • To be agreed via ‘Doodle’

AOB

  • The ‘Just Growth’ programme is providing some grants from the Fund for Enlightened Agriculture, which may of interest to some members. See here for details

  • Tony to work on a MOU between the University and the Welsh Grain Forum for use of the Dehuller

  • Tony to pass the popup banner on to Anne

  • The Gaia Foundation has received funding from the A Team Foundation to progress the development of local seed seeds systems as outlined in the last meeting. If you are interested in participating contact Helen Strong

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