All posts by lesleyrwillis

See How It Grows:Gardening, Cooking and Eating with Children

This year ALFI is setting out to interest children in the joys of gardening, cooking with fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit  – and eating the results.

We are already supporting local schools gardening clubs and this year we are  giving each primary school an apple tree.

We will have recipes, and articles in our newsletters to encourage children, parents and grandparents to find new ways of enjoying fresh seasonal and local food. Children love getting dirty hands, planting seeds and seeing the seedlings grow. and they love cooking so this can be a good way to get them to try some foods which they might otherwise reject. We also plan to have some children’s activities at our regular events – ideas and recipes gratefully received!

First Working Party of the Year

On Sunday February 28, on a cold but sunny morning, a team of volunteers joined Ann at the Vicarage Plot and spent a most satisfying two hours planting and putting up supports. We soon warmed up as we dug holes to plant 6 stepover apple trees along the edges of the raised beds, and blueberry plants along the front. These all came from Southern Fruit Trees nursery in Blackmoor where Mike is always ready to advise on the most suitable trees and varieties.

Sheila had donated three healthy-looking apple trees in large pots which  were planted behind the beds. And at the west side of the plot James put up a trellis for 2 fan-trained red currants to be tied up. Liz brought some welcome coffee over from St Lawrence Parish Hall, and Councillor Robert Saunders joined us for a photograph. ALFI is most grateful to him for a grant which has enabled us to buy the plants and materials for this additional planting.

On the following day, we also pruned the apple and pear trees at the Jubilee Field, where we hope to get a good crop of fruit this year – weather permitting!

On Monday July 11th we will start our AGM at 7.00pm at the Vicarage Plot to see how it is progressing, (and maybe to sample some produce?) before going on to the Railway Arms for our meeting, refreshments and socialising.



Seedy Saturday

Lovely to see so many people taking seeds away on Seedy Saturday. We hope everyone will get satisfaction from sowing and growing these. Don’t forget that any spare seedlings will be welcome at our Seedling Swap on Saturday May 7th, (10.00am -3.00pm) as part of the Craft Market in Cross and Pillory Lane. You can bring seedlings to swap and take others away. A good way to try new varieties!

Midsummer update

Lots of ALFI activity at the moment.

The children’s competition entries are in and being judged this week. Look out for results on our front page.

The plots are all looking good and being most productive. Lettuces, broad beans, radish, rocket, carrots, peas, and bunches of sweet peas have already been harvested. There will soon be potatoes, French beans, beetroot and other crops coming along.

From the new Vicarage plot there have been some strawberries, redcurrants and gooseberries.

Herbs are growing in lots of beds and planters and we hope people will snips bunches for their own use.

Up at the Jubilee field, the apple trees have a promising number of apples coming along, though the plum tree is having a rest this year.

And we have two supporters now looking after the Sensory garden at the Limes, a new venture for us.

The circular concrete planters opposite the Railway Arms are looking both decorative and productive now with a mixture of flowers and vegetables.

Charities Fete at the Allen Gallery

A lovely sunny day in the beautiful Allen Gallery garden brought lots of people to see the stalls set up by a number of charities.

ALFI had a tombola with a lot of garden-linked prizes and a fun activity for children to sow cress seed on an egg shell head, so that when the cress grew they could give it a ‘hair cut’.

Thanks to  all who helped – we raised about £70 to help fund our plots and planters. Visitors were able to admire the ALFI raised beds there, planted with herbs and flowers which attract bees and butterflies.


Our AGM on July 20th was a lovely gathering of committee, volunteers and supporters.

The formal meeting was quite short, with a most encouraging annual report from our Chair, Clare Allen. This served to remind us all that we have had a busy and successful year in terms of Sowing, Sharing and Supporting local food. We now have 11 different plots and planters around the town, and 3 regular events each year. Our children’s poster competition was the most successful yet, with over 300 entries.

The committee was re-elected as it stands, except for our treasurer Deborah, who is moving away. Clare thanked her and she was presented with a card and present.  Ellis Pritchard was elected treasurer in her place.

After the meeting everyone had a chance to exchange ideas over a drink and refreshments. There were photographs of our plots and events, on a lap top, and some of the winning posters of the competition were on display.