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Welcome to our Spring newsletter!

Now that the Spring Equinox has passed and the clocks are an hour forward the longer days bring a sense of anticipation to everything we do. On the field the changing season is obvious with the sowing and planting of vegetables and the excitement for our young people as they watch the miracle of nature changing a seed into a vegetable to be eaten. 

As restrictions ease we look forward to welcoming more people to the field and to expanding our reach and supporting the most vulnerable in our community.

We thank all who support us and make it possible for our work to continue to thrive.

 
Helen Turner, Secretary and Trustee
Donation from Kent Youth Trust
Following a visit to the field in the autumn Kent Youth Trust made a generous donation to help us purchase more gardening tools. With more participants we needed to replace some tools that were worn, and increase the range of tools to enable all to join in. 
We are most appreciative of the support from Kent Youth Trust and look forward to their next visit.
Meet the team: Donna
We were happy to see that you are enjoying the new series of interviews with staff and volunteers that we started recently. In January, we shared our interview with David, our Horticultural Leader and this month we have the pleasure of introducing Donna, one of our dedicated volunteers.

Originally a chef, the story of where food comes from and the work behind it is of real importance to Donna.

Read the full interview with Donna here
Update from the field
To help us visualise all the growing plans for 2021 we have created the above map of the field, with all of the different beds, vegetables and flowers indicated. We hope you like it as much as we do!

In the last few weeks we have been busy preparing the soil and sowing seeds. Both of our greenhouses are full with trays of small seedlings. We have brassicas (Cauliflower, Kale, Broccoli and Cabbage), Onions, Leeks, Celeriac, Broad Beans, Peas and Tomatoes. The polytunnels are all set, with new beds built, ready for more tender plants. We have also been sowing some flower seeds including Carnations, Gazanias and Sweet Peas. 
A higher resolution version of the map is available to view here.
Communigrow Talk Series
Over the last weeks we have been delivering an online programme for the Communigrow Talk Series, to enable us to reach a wider community and to share our knowledge with more of you.
Previous Talk

Growing Plan, Friday 5th March

David Jeffrey, our Horticultural Leader, shared key highlights about our growing plans and how we transfer knowledge to those who support our growing activities. We had couple of external attendees and we are looking forward to our next talk in the series. 
If you weren't available this time, you can watch the recording here.
Next Talks
 
Companion Planting, Wednesday 7th April at 4pm
David will share some key aspects of Companion Planting and how you can use it to keep pests away from vegetable crops.

You can book your free ticket here.
Gardening, Health & Wellbeing, Thursday 22nd April at 5.30pm
In addition to talks delivered by team members, we are also hosting online events on topics relating to organic food production, health and wellbeing, biodiversity, communities, soil health and more. We are inviting organisations and professionals to share their knowledge with our volunteers, staff and communities.

Our first guest speaker, Professor Alistair Griffiths, Director of Science and Collections at RHS, will share insights on the relationship between gardening and health and wellbeing. You can book your tickets and read more about this talk here.
Veg Box Recipes
The season for rhubarb has begun. Stalks can be picked from March or April onwards for early cultivars, and late April or May onwards for maincrop cultivars. Rhubarb is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, it crops over a long period, is completely hardy and grows in any garden soil. At Communigrow, we have two rhubarb patches and stalks will be available in our Veg Boxes soon.

Our recipe this month is a tasty desert; sharp, tangy roasted rhubarb goes hand in hand with this beautiful baked custard. You'll want second helpings of this. This recipe serves four.


We would love to see you try this recipe so please tag #Communigrow in your posts.
Return of the Veg Boxes!
We are pleased to announce that we are restarting with our Veg Box scheme. All growers and volunteers are working hard, sowing and planting to ensure we will have an abundance of produce in the next few months. In our first Veg Boxes of this season we will be able to offer kale, pak choi, radish, baby carrots, spring onions, chard, spinach, lettuce heads, salad leaves and coriander.
Drop us an email if you are interested.

We are currently exploring different ideas and we would appreciate if you could please fill out this short anonymous survey we have prepared.
Activities at the field 
We have been working hard to expand our programmes and currently have a few additional groups we will be working with. We are very much looking forward to all of the below sessions and wanted to share some outlines with you.
Giving Discarded Materials an Inspiring Second Life
Earth Day, celebrated on 22nd April each year, is the annual event dedicated to awareness about the various environmental challenges that face our planet.

Communigrow is resourceful by nature and with David’s direction, growers and volunteers are actively seeking new opportunities to make the field more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Using locally recycled materials has been an important part of this and we think you might find some of these tips interesting. To kick things off we wanted to share our favourite projects with you.

If you would like to read more about the Earth Day, here are some useful resources
We are hiring!
We are delighted to share with you a new opportunity available at Communigrow: we are currently recruiting for a part time Wellbeing Project leader. The Purpose of the role is to set up and create a range of activities and opportunities that promote health and wellbeing.

The job description is available to view and download here. Please get in touch if you have any questions or are interested.
Birds, Bugs, Bats and a Butterfly Banquet
Our campaign to raise funds for a series of hands-on holiday workshops ‘Birds, Bugs, Bats and a Butterfly Banquet’ is still live. These workshops will be designed for local young people aged 8-16yrs with each session focusing on a different type of wildlife. So far we have managed to raise £100 which is enough to buy a birdhouse, bug hotel and flower seeds, and we are grateful for all donations, however this is only 20% of our overall goal!

A small donation will help us to make it happen and we would appreciate your support, whether by donating any amount you are comfortable with, or by sharing the campaign with your friends. To find out more click the button below.
Birds, Bugs, Bats and a Butterfly Banquet
Other ways to support us
We rely the generosity of our people like you to allow us to continue our vital work. We are committed to promoting and teaching the benefits for people and local communities of growing local, fresh and affordable produce in an organic and sustainable way. Help us transform the lives of more people by donating today.
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Communigrow · Volunteer Coordinator · 1 Wesley Close · Barming, Kent ME16 9HT · United Kingdom

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