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Dear Members, Friends and supporters
Welcome to the Spring Newsletter.  We have lots of news to share with you including:  Lot 3 finds its name; Stirring and Spraying the land; Land Use and Planning workshop; People needed; Nature Survey and other Future events planned.
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Lot 3 finds its name: OAKBROOK FARM
We are delighted to tell you that Lot 3 found its name over the weekend of March 19th and 20th when further work was carried out by 20 people designing and implementing the plan for evolving community farm. 
The strongest elements of the land were felt by everyone concerned to be the brook and the trees, numerous names were discarded, but these elements continued to stand out.  The dominant species of tree is the mighty oak and they have such a presence on the 'woodland pasture' here.  The BDLT logo is also an oak so this cemented the name of Oakbrook Farm.
Stirring and spraying the land:
It felt very special to be stirring and spraying a biodynamic preparation at Oakbrook for the first time.  We spent time reconnecting to the land and each other, walking to find something that caught our eye from the land, then offering back to the land our intentions through the Horn Manure stirring. Sam, the farmer, had kindly set up two barrels and filled them with fresh stream water.

A lot of the stirring we did in quiet reflection, down by the stream, then the spraying was more social and group-focused.  There were some wonderful moments especially when 10 or 15 of us stood along one edge of a field and started spraying together. The group was a mix of people participating in the design workshops and shareholders, some of whom had never stirred a BD preparation before - well done to everyone for their enthusiasm and willingness to engage.

It was a hard job to stir so much water and to walk the land so intensely, but it also felt very good doing it. Both Jeanie's cows and Sam's young cattle were very interested in the people and the activity.
 Land Use and Planning workshop:

The second weekend workshop lead by Marina O'Connell was held over the weekend of March 19th and 20th. This was looking in more detail at the general scheme plan that came out of the first weekend, checking that it still suits and going into specifics for various areas such as veg production, animals and grazing, people and buildings and the potential holding or organisation structure for this farm.

Sam: During the planning weekends I was struck by not only the expertise in the room but the willingness of everyone to work together to achieve something really remarkable.
There seemed to be a perfect range of skills and abilities to bring the varied projects together into a functioning organism that fits this beautiful piece of land.

Evelyn: Although we were working in groups, there was a lot of consultation and 'cross fertilisation' with other groups during the implementation process, showing the growing sense of community and inter-connectedeness of the different activities.   There was always a consciousness of what needed to be done in the future whilst being realistic about what could be done now.

Marina:  "it has been my privilege to join you to facilitate the design for the new farm. We have had two rich and full weekends working on the design for the new Oakbrook farm, with a wonderfully diverse group of people bringing all of their skills into the mix.
Out of this seed will grow the new farm, that will continue to evolve as it comes into reality. I am very excited to see how this will  happen on the land, but also how the process of weaving these techniques together will evolve in the future. I would like to thank the group for all of their hard work and sitting in the creative tension together.". 
Starter Farm start up: Following the workshop Sylvie and Clare have started preparing the land for their Starter Farm supported by the SCA.  They have been muck spreading this week and ploughing will be happening soon on part of the arable field.
They will arrange a volunteer day soon for helping to protect their veg plot from rabbits (of which there are many colonies in Sidelands Field!).

The Community survey was a great success; nearly half of our known community completed it and many of you put in great detail, information and expressed good ideas and offered support. Thank you!

Much of this information has already been fed into our design and planning work so has been really useful. Thank you and do please keep the ideas coming. Stay connected to your farm, our farm, this community farm.

It will take us some time to digest all this information and all the offers of help so do not hesitate to contact us and reiterate your interest and offers, rather than waiting for us to contact you.

NB the prize draw will be done and winner announced - sorry for the delay, we are getting there.

People are needed and people are central

This is a people-based project - farmers, growers, educators, carers, volunteers, neighbours, shareholders, donors ........ It was so great to have about a dozen people for the biodynamic preparation stirring and spreading last week. Making light of the work, learning new skills, bringing enjoyment and enthusiasm to the task and the land.

There are spaces in the Farm Community and Land Use Plan for other initiatives particularly in the areas of education and care farming.  

Anyone who is interested in knowing more or offering an activity/project should contact Gabriel Kaye in the first instance - gabriel@biodynamiclandtrust.org.uk, telephone as below.

Nature Survey:

Initially there will be a professional survey carried out.  After this there will be community surveys lead by a professional with initial training for all involved. We will be surveying different aspects of the natural world as found on the site over the coming year and hope you will join us to discover plants, insects, birds, and more.

Events:

There will be an Oakbrook Farm Open Day on May 2nd featuring farm walks and consultation on the emerging plans for the land, community needs and interests and involvement. Do come and talk to us, walk the land, explore the stream. Walk down from Hawkwood (a lead walk leaving 2pm), across from Uplands or up from Stroud. Disabled parking available on site.
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There will be a showing of the Moo Man film on Sunday 10th April at Lansdown Hall, doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start, soft drinks/teas/coffees; Entrance fee to cover costs. It is hoped to also show the Land Access Erasmus film and give an update on the progress of the community farm developing on the land at Oakbrook Farm/Hammonds Lot3.
 
Tickets will be available on to Trybooking.co.uk  any left will be for sale on the door.
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Stockwood Community Benefit Society has a one-off opportunity to offer a tax efficient investment in renewable energy – there is a 9.9% rate of return when the 30% back from the government is added to the 3% interest.
There is only £150,000 of loan stock left and the closing date is 31st of March, so if you would like to invest you must act now to ensure you don't miss out.
The minimum investment amount is £2,000 and the loan term is 6 years.
If you would like to find out more about this tax efficient investment please click here: stockwoodcbs.org/invest


Other BDLT news will come in a separate newsletter in April.

Best wishes for spring and Easter to all

Sebastian, Gabriel and the team at the BDLT
Copyright © 2016 Biodynamic Land Trust, All rights reserved.


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