Hello and happy Spring from everyone at Oakbrook. Read on for our first newsletter of the new year including news of our upcoming AGM, amazing progress from our volunteers and changes happening for the ZeroDig project plus snaps of the farms cutest new arrivals. First here's a summary of upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Our January volunteer day was a great success. The next volunteer days have been scheduled for:
There are lots of jobs to get involved with, whatever your age or your experience. This Spring we will be focusing on some more construction work and processing lots of Oak wood ready for mushroom propagation! For more information, get in touch via email@example.com
We are also excited to announce the date for our upcoming Annual General Meeting which will be held on Zoom on Thursday 31st March from 7 – 9 pm.
Log-in details to follow in next months newsletter. We are excited to share our progress from the last year. We will also be looking for more volunteers to join our Board of Directors who oversee the general management of the farm.
If you're curious about any of the above, please get in touch – and check out the pics from our Jan volunteer day below…
David's update from the OCBS Board of Directors
Biodynamically speaking the soil is at it's most active right now, processing all the nutrients from the Microdairy cows, and ZeroDig's woodchip and compost. We've sprayed the Three Kings preparation and wassailed the new apple trees.
A note on the state of the parking area: We had hoped to have gotten the area levelled before the wet weather, but getting hold of contractors at this time is proving hard. The landscaping work is linked to the barn construction and Dairy expansion, and there is no easy fix for the potholes as the slope means any temporary fill would quickly wash into the lane. We thank you for your patience while we are working on this.
By the time you read this, we will have submitted a grant application to the AONBs new Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme. We're applying for help with the barn construction and fit out costs, landscaping of the car park and home zone, new permissive footpaths from Uplands and repair of the clapper bridge over the brook.
We've got the AGM coming up in March and we're keen to recruit a couple more directors. For someone with some time on their hands, or looking to gain some experience, or just looking to re-set their work/life balance, it's a wonderful opportunity to get involved in developing the farm. Carbon-capture, regenerative farming, local food production, education, connecting community and countryside… come and join us!
Sadly the farm has had to proceed with work to remove many Ash trees from along our Brook as a safety precaution. Removing these diseased trees will be carried out over the next few months, in addition to some maintenance work which will extend the life of our 4 huge veteran trees in the Haven field. The wood will be processed by volunteers and used across the farm, and once all the sick trees are removed we will explore options for replanting.
"For the time being our harvest has finished although we are continuing to donate vegetables to the Long Table project in Stroud. At the moment we are working hard to improve our processing area, and are busy adding compost and wood-chip to the beds and paths ready for the new growing season – with the help of some hard working volunteers! We were sorry to say goodbye to Athene who has been working for the project for the last year, but we are looking forward to a new grow joining the team soon. This year we are looking to move towards lots of salad production so we will be starting to sow seeds this month."
The Dairy was joined by no less than 4 exquisitely beautiful new calves over the winter who are surely enjoying the recent clear days. As they are half Hereford, the young calves will not join the milking herd, but will be raised on the farm for the next 6-9 months.
Lastly we will leave you with a book recommendation from permaculture expert Marina O'Connell, who helped design the Oakbrook Farm Land Use Plan. 'Designing Regenerative Food Systems: And why we need them now features a stunning case study from our tenants Christopher and Mario at the ZeroDig project and promises to be an extremely useful toolkit and guide for anyone interested in producing food in a regenerative, organic and biodynamic way.
With thanks from everyone at Oakbrook we wish you a peaceful February,
Leigh & David, on behalf of OCBS