Good morning, OxGrowers!
Hopefully by the time you've read this the temperature will have soared above the currrent 2.8C to a balmy 15C...one can dream...
Right! We've an active day in the garden tomorrow (Sunday 22nd) from 1:00-3:30pm. Meg will be facilitating this week, overseeing the hanging of more bird, bug, and bat houses; burning of the final batch of brambles; sowing of spring seeds; and lots more digging. We'll be joined by folks taking part in the Oxford Hub's "Happiness Fortnight".
Also on tomorrow: Beginning at 3:30pm, we'll be having a Special General Meeting in the pavilion next door the garden. At the meeting we'll (1) review our finances, (2) decide how we'd like to spend a large grant that we've received, (3) propose changes that we might want to make to our constitution (find attached), (4) consider any miscellaneous business that volunteers might want to discuss. Also, we'll be joined by Hugh Conway Morris, a local architect, who'll be showing us a miniture model of a structure that he's designed for OxGrow - it'd be great to hear your thoughts on his ideas to determine how we'd like to move forward.
The SGM is an important precursor to our Annual General Meeting which'll be held on Sunday 8th March from 3:30pm, also in the pavilion. At the AGM, we hope to formalise a committee for OxGrow (including a Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary, among other roles) and will also follow up/take action on decisions made at the SGM. Stay tuned for more information.
Looking forward to working alongside all who are able to make it down tomorrow!,
Dear OxGrowers, new and established:
Despair no longer - we've the perfect prescription for any trace of 5th Week Blues! Peter will be leading the charge as facilitator of our weekly work party in the garden tomorrow (Sunday 15th) from 1-4pm. The doctor's orders: sow seeds in trays in preparation for transplanting in the spring; finish digging the (wild) flower borders; hang and construct bird, bat, insect, and ladybird houses; drink a warm cuppa around a bramble bonfire. As ever, come down whenever you like. Bring a friend, a lemon treacle, a sachet of heritage cucumber seeds, or your appropriately sized portion of enthusiasm - we'll be ready for ya.
Also, if you weren't around last week for Facilitator Training but'd like to learn a bit more about the position, we'll run another session. The position is low commitment and flexible (2–4 hours on one Sunday, every month or two), rewarding, and an easy leadership position to take on (we're going to provide thorough training and guidance). Find Andonis or Judy on the day if interested in learning more.
T minus 25 hours,
OxGrowers: we've a big day tomorrow!
Tomorrow, Sunday 7th, there'll be a work party in the garden from 1-4pm. Laurence and Luke will be facilitating the session as we dig more borders around the perimeter of the garden (we'll fill them with wild flowers, sunflowers from California, and Jerusalem artichokes soon), sow some winter seeds, turn the compost, and bake some sweet breads in the pavilion. Come down whenever you'd like, for however long you can. All welcome!
If you weren't around last week for Facilitator Training but'd like to learn a bit more about the position, we'll run another session. The position is low commitment and flexible (2–4 hours on one Sunday, every month or two), rewarding, and an easy leadership position to take on (we're going to provide thorough training and guidance). Find Andonis or Judy on the day if interested in learning more.
Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow,
Welcome to the weekend, OxGrowers!
A number of important items on the agenda for this newsletter.
There'll be a work party in the garden this Sunday 2nd of February from 1-4pm. All welcome for digging, sowing seeds, sipping tea, chowing on British biscuits, etc. Come along, one and all!
We're looking to expand our team of Facilitators at OxGrow. Are you interested in joining the team? We'd like to have as many volunteers take up this title as possible. It's low commitment and flexible (2–4 hours on one Sunday, every month or two), rewarding, and an easy leadership position to take on (we're going to provide thorough training and guidance). There'll be two induction sessions this Sunday at 2pm and 3pm. Find Andonis or Judy on the day if interested in learning more.
More opportunities to advance OxGrow + Hogacre's development:
(1) Are you web savvy? Able and willing to re-design this artefact of a website? Please write firstname.lastname@example.org if you're happy to help (or know someone else who might be). Thanks!
(2) We're looking for someone to take over the running of the Hogacre Cafe this year! Interested? Check it out: http://cagoxfordshire.org.uk/news-archive/501-job-opportunity-hogacre-cafe-manager
Do be in contact if you have any questions about these opportunities/requests. It'd be really great to get more of you vibrant lot to join in directing Hogacre + OxGrow's continued development.
With apeaciation and encourgettement,
Happy Weekend, All!
A quick message to say that we'll be down at OxGrow, per usual, tomorrow (Sunday) from 1-4pm. Cross your (green)fingers for a day as sunny as today.
Happy weekend, friends of OxGrow!
What better way to celebrate what might be our first snow of the year than to immerse yourself in a little Medieval ritual?! Tomorrow (Saturday 17th) Hogacre Common (the larger organisation that supports OxGrow's existence) will be hosting another of its famous Wassails in the apple orchard beginning at 4pm. Cider, fire, and clanking of pots and pans! Have a look at the event on Facebook for more details on the evening's activities and, critically, a clarification of what a 'wassail' actually is: https://www.facebook.com/events/602620423173583/
The next day (Sunday 18th) we'll have our second digging day of the year from 1-4pm. Riding on the enormous energy of last week's garden party (a vibrant 25+ folks with trays of freshly baked nibs), we'll be doing a bit more turning and hauling of compost, will select seeds to populate our beds in the months to come, and'll begin prepping the back of the garden for the building of a new polytunnel. Many other winter garden activities to unfold on the day. Come one and all!
Any questions? Any hesitation? Any enthusiasm? Bring it all to Hogacre this weekend!
Emerging from the Dark Ages together,
And welcome to the year 2015 in the Gregorian calendar (otherwise known at the year of the sheep on the Chinese calendar - images of lush meadows, indeed)! We anticipate a good deal of activity over the next 12 months (not least because there seem to be no floods inundating OxGrow, as has been the case for the past two years).
Join us, if you will, to ring (and dig) in the new year this Sunday the 11th. We'll be in the garden from 13.00-16.00 (and rumour has it that our long-missing friend Andy might come along!). As has always been the case: (1) everybody is welcome to join and learn from others in our community space; (2) bring a friend of two if you can corral them with only 48 hours notice; (3) come whenever and for however long you'd like;(4) we'll be down there, rain or shine; (5) OxGrow has all the tools, gloves, and several pairs of wellies you should need; (6) no need to bring anything but a bit of interest in being outdoors! (Though nobody has ever objected to freshly baked goods, fruits, and experimental gardening ideas.)
After this Sunday's session, work parties will proceed as normal every Sunday from 1-4pm (as seen on the attached OxGrow calendar).
Also take note that next Saturday the 17th from 4pm Hogacre Common (the larger organisation that supports OxGrow's existence) will be hosting another of its famous Wassails in the apple orchard. Have a look at the event on Facebook for more details on the evening's activities and, critically, a clarification of what a 'wassail' is: https://www.facebook.com/events/602620423173583/
Lastly, and of greatest urgency, our central community anchor, the Community Action Groups Project of Oxfordshire (CAG) is facing a threats from the Council to have all of its public funding withdrawn over the next three years. This would be a huge hit to OxGrow, the 57 other projects that CAG supports, the Oxfordshire community, and in many ways, to the UK's burgeoning grassroots environmental projects. CAG have been terrific leaders in addressing pressing social issues since their founding. Please take a few moments to read the blurb below and take action by TONIGHT before 23.59!
Continued thanks for your commitment to building a stronger Oxford community. Please be in contact with any questions or comments.
Hoping to see you soon,
Happy holidays, OxGrowers!
Hoping that everyone is having (or within reach of) a relaxing break from regular work/school/lounging activities.
A quick reminder that there won't be any "formal" OxGrow sessions until Sunday 11th January. That said, you are more than welcome to go down in the meantime if you're itching for a little garden therapy, want to show the space to visiting friends and family, etc. If desired, send an email to email@example.com for the combination for the gate lock.
Also, after a bit of an uploading lull, there'll be a new batch of photos posted to our Facebook page in the next few minutes - have a look! https://www.facebook.com/groups/OxGrow/
Sowing love, far and wide,
Good morning faithful OxGrowers,
For those of you who've tuned in for the last newsletters, you'll know that this Sunday the 14th we'll be holding the final garden work party for the year. Come celebrate the bounty delivered in this Gregorian cycle! Madeleine E-P will be leading the charge with Judy. OxGrow will be open from 1.00-4.00pm. All remaining in or visiting Oxford are welcome tomorrow to:
1) Help us close out the year's tasks (e.g., clear up tools, harvest ready veg, etc.);
2) Participate in a voluntary Secret Santa gift exchange - bring a recycled object from home or out in the world that you'd be happy to give to another. Drop any gifts on the bench and Marta+others will help facilitate the exchange at the end of the session;
3) Cook up a pumpkin-y feast made from the final gargantuan orange beast (plus other squashes).We've a load of quinoa and lentils in the garage that'll provide a base. Bring along any spices, complimentary dishes, or holiday goods you'd like to share;
4) Clear out the garage of any remaining veg and bring it to your kitchen!
5) Take home a copy of the OxGrow 2015 calendar (more details below ) + another springtime gift that we thought you'd all appreciate (enough for 50 people).
Hoping to see many of you tomorrow before the three-week hiatus from the garden; we'll reconvene on Sunday 11th January 2015!
Sugar(beet), spice(y rocket) and everything nice,
I see that the promised calendar files didn't attach to the last email. Try again! Let me know if you've any troubles accessing. (Hopefully this doesn't land in your Spam folders...looks like a regular suspect to get filtered that way...)
Good day to ya.
Take a look at this beaut!
(Main body of text follows)
Happy weekend OxGrowers,
And for the University students among us, congratulations on making it through term!
We're very glad to share with you the 2015 Events Calendar for OxGrow specifically, and Hogacre Common, more broadly. We've attempted to get as many dates of interest settled and diarised; inevitably (and to our fortune) there will be many more activities cropping up along the way (which you will be made aware of here, or on our Facebook page, or on Hogacre's).
Please take ownership of this calendar and share to your heart's content. You can acquire in a number of ways: (1) Our good friends at Oxford GreenPrint have printed 150 A3 sheets on heavy paper that'll last you the entire year. You are welcome to a complimentary copy (or two, or three (however many you'd like, really)) that can be obtained (1a) at GreenPrint's stall in today's 34th Green Fair (Town Hall, til 4:30pm); (1b) at the South Oxford Farmers' Market tomorrow and every following Sunday this December; (1c) from the Oxford Hub flyers stall (upstairs in the coffee room); and (1d) at OxGrow/Hogacre! (2) Alternately, you can download the calendar, which is attached to this message in two formats. Reproduce, send as an X-mas gift, show Mom and Pop what you've been doing and what you will be doing in 2015. Too much practicality to be contained.
We'll be in the garden tomorrow (Sunday from noon-4pm) for the second-to-last session of the year! We will re-open on 11th January 2015 (!, smokes!). Come down for what promises to be a nice work party filled with, as ever, baked goods, tea, international humour, skill exchange, and lots of green things.
Any questions? Comments? Ideas to get off your chest? Send us an email!
Wishing you all well(springs of holiday cheer),
Happy Friday, Folks!
Thanks to all who worked on the beds last week and stuck around to share ideas about ways in which OxGrow could develop. We'll put together a timeline of events, training sessions, and skill shares for 2015 over Winter Break and get back to you.
We have much to look forward to in the garden (+pavilion) this Sunday, 1-4pm. To begin: Luke, Franky and Judy (a.k.a. the OxGrow Triple Threat) will be facilitating the session. Have a word with any of them if you're looking for a project to work on. Further, we might well be the crown jewel of a Japanese travel documentary chronicling the day-to-day life of an Oxford student. (Careful not to trip over the mic stands and power cords...) Finally, it's been suggested that the seasoned bakers (and culinarily adventurous) among us bring along baked goods in prep for the holiday season. As usual, there'll be teas and biscuits to compliment any Pastel de Natas, leftover pumpkin pie, or the record-breaking banana bread loaf we've all been dreaming of.
Anyone receiving this email (and those who aren't (i.e., everyone)) is welcome down. Directions in the footer of this email.
Lastly, everyone is also welcomed and encouraged to fill out a survey that our friends at the Student Consultancy have compiled re: horticultural courses and venue hires at Hogacre. Please provide input if you can spare a couple of minutes: http://tinyurl.com/HogacreCourses
Enjoy the last day of the work week and see below for upcoming events.
Your keen green friends,
Happy Saturday, Folks!
A quick reminder that tomorrow, Sunday the 21st, we'll get our hands dirty from noon-4:00pm and'll close off the day with a monthly meeting from 4-5pm. Join us in the pavilion over a cup of tea and biscuits to get updates on upcoming projects, to provide input on garden design, and sign up to get more involved in the running of OxGrow.
ALSO, we're in the process of putting together a large OxGrow calendar for the year. If you have any particularly exceptional photos, (e.g., OxGrow Gothic) please respond to this email address and share!
Looking forward to seeing all of you who make it down tomorrow, rain or shine.
With growing affection,
Guten morgen, Garden Gurus.
Thank you to everyone who showed up for last Sunday's Pumpkin Festival! We send an extra serving of appreciation to Good Food Oxford, Hubbub, and Food Justice who educated, entertained, and satiated us with warm grub (not the insect variety) after a hard day's work. Hope you all enjoyed yourselves and picked up a new set of skills.
A quick reminder that we'll be meeting in the garden tomorrow, Sunday the 16th, from noon-5pm. Come along whenever you're ready (though there are rumours swirling that there'll be a loaf of banana bread early on...). As always, all are welcome (including the completely and almost-completely inexperienced among us! + friends + any readers who've just not made it down yet but are feeling a tad spontaneous). Feel free to call if you need any assistance with directions or other curiosities: 07935 812 466
The following Sunday the 21st we'll get our hands dirty from noon-4:00pm and'll close off the day with the first of our resurrected monthly meetings from 4-5pm. Join us in the pavilion over a cup of tea and biscuits to get updates on upcoming projects, to provide input on garden design, and sign up to get more involved in the running of OxGrow.
And a load of pictures (below), as promised :)
Enjoy the week, and have a look at the following sections for additional activities of interest.
Good evening, OxGrowers!
We've another exciting week ahead.
This Sunday the 7th, OxGrow is hosting the final event of the Pumpkin Festival. Local Master Composters will be joining us in the garden with any pumpkin remains from the week-long Festival that can’t be eaten. We’ve built 7 compost bays that are waiting to be filled with the perfect ratio of nitrogen and carbon (a.k.a. greens & browns). Come learn the intricate chemistry involved. We’re also building bug hotels, selling off Abundance Oxford’s grafted apple trees (to loving parents), and whipping together a huge feast with Food Justice!
The schedule is as follows:
12:00-5:00pm – OxGrow Work Party, including the composting skill share
4:00-5:00pm – Cooking in the pavilion with FoodJustice and OxGrow
5:00-6:30pm – Feasting in the meadow around a bonfire
Check the Facebook event page for more info: events/297273473795735/
Additionally, tomorrow (Saturday the 6th), the folks who brought you Tandem are arranging the penultimate pumkin celebration at the OVADA warehouse in Botley. Have a look at the Facebook event for a full range of activities: https://www.facebook.com/events/508520942617571/
As per usual, we've a selection of photos from this past week's activities in the garden on our webpage. Enjoy!:
Your Greenfingered Gardening Friends
Happy Halloween, OxGrowers!
There's a very exciting week of green activities in Oxford coming up - check out the details at the bottom of the newsletter.
Activities at OxGrow include:
A work session this Sunday the 2nd of November from noon until sundown. We'll be doing more prep for the winter season, turning once verdant and bountiful patches into this:
Three days later we'll have our FINAL Wednesday session of the year (5th November)! Come down at any point from 2pm until sundown (around 5pm). We'll be finishing off painting of the apple tree signs, among other activities.
Lastly, next Sunday the 9th OxGrow is staging a huge sha-bang (proper spelling?)! We're hosting the final event of Good Food Oxford's Pumpkin Festival. Master Composters will be joining us in the garden with a huge load of leftover pumpkins that we'll be setting to rest. We've 7 compost bays that are waiting to be filled with the perfect ratio of nitrogen and carbon (a.k.a. greens & browns). Come learn the intricate chemistry involved. We're also building bug hotels, selling off Abundance Oxford's grafted apple trees (to loving parents), and whipping together a huge feast with Food Justice!
As with every other session, all folks are welcome and can join at any point along the way for however long you'd like. Bring a friend. Bring a pie. And shoot any questions you might have to this email address in the meantime.
Enjoy the latest round of photos from last Sunday's work party here. ("Like" our page while you're there to keep abreast of all OxGrow news.)
Until Sunday, best earthy wishes,
Week 2: Braving the Dark
(Full disclosure: the following banner photo is meant to entice you to come to OxGrow.
It isn't intended to illustrate the title of this week's newsletter.)
Afternoon, sun loving friends.
It's that glorious time of year: the all-knowing clock masters at Greenwich's Laboratory have ordered us obedient agronomists to turn our clocks back one hour on Sunday at 2am. And we will follow orders! While that means we'll have less daylight in the evenings, we don't actually need to pull out our headlamps for at least another two weeks - so rejoice! And enjoy (semi-)bright sessions at OxGrow while the getting's good. (For a deeper understanding/appreciation of daylight savings, please study this 4:20 segment (do your funnybone a favor and watch at least the first two minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvpbW7JRu0Q) )
We'll be in the garden this Sunday the 26th October from noon–5pm. All folks are welcome. Arrive at any time. And stay as long as you'd like. No questions asked. (Well, maybe a few, but just for the sake of conversation, etc.)
Our Wednesday session will also run on the 29th from 3pm–sundown with sign painting in the pavilion, a lil bit o baking, loads of tea drinking, and a riotous debate over whether subsequent Wednesday sessions ought to begin at 2pm (in order to maxmize light hours). As ever, all are welcome.
We hope to see some new, old, and somewhere-in-between faces this week!
Until then, enjoy a new photo album from last Sunday's tasty apple festival. Pictures courtesy of Jade Neville - many thanks!
A small batch of volunteers who made Apple Day happen!
Good evening, OxGrowers!
Brace yourselves for another week of green-themed activity at Hogacre. We've a host of tasks and celebrations to get to. Before looking forward, several quick words of appreciation: (A) to the 400+ Harvest Festival attendees who ate loads of soup and roast veg, serenaded audiences young and old, and assisted in a multitude of festival-y errands earlier this month - photos now available on Facebook courtesy of resident gardener-photographer, Anne Maduzia!; (B) the 45+ new OxGrowers who came out for last Sunday's Welcome Day to pick piles of parsnips, build behemoth raised beds, and make marrow mbread (some of our favorite scenes at the bottom, the rest on our homepage); (C) Wednesday's rain warriors who braved the storm to plant garlic (!) and helped plan more events for wet days in the future.
Onward to this week's events:
I. A much-delayed notice that tonight at the Hogacre Pavilion (adjacent OxGrow) from 7-10pm, OxCo-Op and Food Justice are making a delicious meal to celebrate their first week back on the town. Both have received INCREDIBLE levels of support and interest from incoming students. Pour a bit more on if you can make a spontaneous trip down for a home cooked meal!
II. Abundance's much awaited APPLE DAY strikes this Sunday (the 19th) from 12:00-5:30pm at Hogacre. OxGrow will operate in conjunction these festivities as we help slice, dice, bob, hob, and chutney a glut(ney) of apples. Bring any spare apples along and turn into your very own "[Your name] Apple Juice". Register your interest here! (There are getting to be too many FB links in this email, I know...)
3. OxGrow will be open again this Wednesday the 22nd from 3pm until sunset. We'll be joined by our friends from Asylum Welcome. Come along at any time if in need of a break from the books, for however long you'd like.
Lastly, a re-link for directions to OxGrow & Hogacre Common, should the soon-to-be-initiated among you need: http ://tinyurl . com/FindingOxGrow
Looking forward to a very active week ahead!
Through thistles and brambles (that's not very poetic, is it?),
Digging Into Term (and other horrific plays on words)
Dear Freshers, returning students, and long-standing OxGrowers:
Welcome to the new academic year! It was a pleasure to meet many of you at Freshers' Fair and the Harvest Festival over the past week. We're looking forward to introducing all 300+ new members (!) to Oxford's "best kept secret" as soon as you're ready (...still tracking down the source for that quotation...). The coming months are chock-full of activity that anyone can take part in – from the garden newbie to the sage greenfinger. To begin:
This Sunday the 12th, we're hosting a Garden Induction Day for all new OxGrowers, rain or shine (we're an intrepid bunch and we also have a (atmospherically) warm pavillion to shelter in if the weather gets rough). Come along at any time from 12 noon-4pm. The afternoon will feature:
- Tours of OxGrow and the larger Hogacre Common;
- Planting loads of seeds to grow over winter;
- Building a HUGE raised bed from recycled wood;
- Painting signs and a children's picnic table;
- Carrying compost over the railway track;
- Teas and food in the pavillion cafe (bring along baked goods or a dish to share if you have time to prepare - or we can cook from scratch in the kitchen);
- And, if the weather permits, we'll end with a bonfire in the meadow.
Here are directions to get to OxGrow (15 minutes by foot, 6.25 minutes by bike):
1. From the middle of town at Carfax Tower (at Cornmarket and High Streets), go south on the Abingdon Road and turn into White House Road where you see the Folly Bridge Inn (second right after the bridge over the river)
2. Go down the road ~200 metres to the bend where you'll see Grandpont Nursery. Take the tree-covered track straight in front of you past SOAP (the South Oxford Adventure Playground).
3. Cross the railway bridge, turn right and you’ve found us!
And here's a more detailed Google Map: http://tinyurl.com/FindingOxGrow
Call Andonis if you need a hand with directions: 07935 812 466
Don't worry if you can't make it this Sunday. There is plenty more in store (including a session on 15th Wednesday from 3pm until sundown) and you can always drop in without notice. Diarise the following OxGrow events (especially Abundance's Apple Day on Sunday 19th October (2nd Week) and Good Food Oxford's Pumpkin Rescue Festival on 9th November (5th Week)!):
That's all for now, folks. If you get eager in the meantime, have a breeze through our Facebook photos, friend us, and spread the good-growing word!
Clear your schedules - it's harvesting season!
Good morning OxGrowers!
What a whirlwind of a week it's been. We extend HUGE thanks for all of those who contributed to OxGrow's wildly successful Big Dig (55+ volunteers!, wowza); the Abundance "forage and make session" (18 of us!); and the regular work parties (with a special shout out to Lauren who helped us make 6 trips across the train tracks in order to deliver LOADS of compost for all those new raised beds). More details, pictures, gratitude to be found below.
It's a bit late notice, but adult clients from Asylum Welcome will come down to the garden today (Wednesday) beginning 3:00pm. We'll be harvesting veg together until sundown. Do join at any point if you can!
On to the big announcement! (Brace yourself. (In case you didn't read the subject line of this email...)):
Hogacre Common + OxGrow are throwing the renowned community-run Harvest Festival this SUNDAY 5th September from 11am-5pm.
RSVP on FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/838325286208617/
Register here to volunteer at some point during the event (one hour, two? Your help is critical!): http://tinyurl.com/HarvstFestVulntrRecruitment
Promotional poster (please share!):
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the coming days.
Until then, two additional news items to pique your interest (details in the sections below):
1. Hogacre launches adult education courses
2. OxGrow's Week in Pictures