News and Announcements

We're relaunching Wednesday Garden Parties!

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 18th April 2015 @ 11:04am

You heard that right!

Beginning this coming Wednesday, the 22nd of April, OxGrow'll be up and running from 5pm until our weary bodies are ready to retire for the evening (usually around 8, just before sunset). As in the past, Wednesday sessions are valued in OxGrow because there is significantly more work that needs to be completed in the spring and summer months, and it also allows individuals/families/groups more flexibility to come to the gaden (i.e. it doesn't overlap with religious services and other activities on Sundays and takes place after most full- and part-time individuals' workdays are over). Come along!

We'll also continue running Sunday sessions. Join us in the garden tomorrow (Sunday 19th) beginning 1pm. We'll be: planting purple potatoes; labeling the heritage seeds we sowed last week; preparing to raise two polytunnels (all parts have arrived! please help carry bits over the bridge when you come down tomorrow (including all of the pallets)); more Harvest Patch planting (turnips and swedes); and many empty beds that we'd like YOU to take the lead on preparing and planting (others will, of course, maintain the beds down the line). If any of this strikes a chord and you'd like to participate, please come help transform the space into an even more beautiful, magical green plot. 

And a final note before we move onto the additional sections below:
 STUDENTS AT OXFORD UNI COLLEGES: do have a quick look around your college websites, have a word with someone in the Bursar's Office, or approach your JCR, M/GCR, SCR to see if there's any money laying around that could be allocated to OxGrow's continued development. We have a number of projects that we hope to fund (more raised beds, a new herb spiral, a wooden gazebo, perhaps a firepit and other experimental structures) that we'd like to get around to this season. Magdalen, St. John's, and other rich colleges have been great givers in the past...the more modest among them may still be generous as well. Let us know of any possibilities and if we can help in supporting any application, however (in)formal. Many thanks!

Hoping to tend the land with you sometime soon,
Your devoted OxGrow

It's the most wonderful time of the year (sunscreen season).

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 11th April 2015 @ 1:38pm

Studies (and many caring parents) suggest you get 15 minutes of sun every day in order that your body produces a healthy amount of Vitamin D. OxGrow recommends three hours of responsible exposure once a week. Come to the garden tomorrow (Sunday) from 1-4pm with sunscreen in tow for a productive and fun day on Hogacre Common!

There'll be a bounty of baked goods, smattering of seeds, and trove of tools waiting for each of you. And if that's not enough to encourage you, consider the glowing review we received after submitting photos from our Big Dig to the project's national office [thanks to our guests from Coventry Community Garden for taking many of these shots]:

"Hi Andonis. What a stunning set of photos. Thank you so much for them. I’ve tried to just pick the best ones but there are just so many! Anyway, the Big Dig Flickr site will be proudly showing them off shortly...In the meantime, an Organic Gardening Voucher is heading your way for the most stunning set of photos ever submitted by a Big Dig project!
Best, Clare"

There ya have it. Hope to see ya soon!

Your green gurus,

"But how will they grow without us??"

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 4th April 2015 @ 7:00pm

A question that many parents struggle with for years. At OxGrow, our philosophy is that you oughtta provide the basics (seeds in well-prepared and -tended soil) and let the hospitable British climate do the rest. 

This to say that OxGrow is taking something of a break tomorrow for Easter Sunday. In practice, Judy will be in the garden from 1pm if anyone would like to join for a minimalist session (i.e., no pavilion, open garage, or other filigree - just you, your hands, and the land). 

If not tomorrow, see you in the coming weeks for more rip-roaring seed sowing sessions.

Scattering wild flowers and abundance,
Team OxGrow


***Announcements follow, including the job posting. Applications due in 4 days on Wednesday 8th!***

We were made for tomorrow.

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 28th March 2015 @ 2:02pm

Really. Daylight savings strikes again in 11 hours (at 1am on Sunday) and the clocks'll hop forward an hour to accommodate our agrarian lifestyles. 

In order to show our appreciation for the hard working people who mind the world's clocks (and to revel in the ever-brightening evening skies) we'll run an extra hour tomorrow (Sunday) from 1.00-5.00pm. Come along whenever you'd like. Word on the street is that some browning bananas'll be transformed into a tasty sweet bread for all y'all. (And there'll be 6 varieties of home-sprouted seeds for ya to sample.)

Until then, enjoy our photoset from last Sunday's very successful Big Dig (access here on FB: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.991953707488981&type=1) and have a look at the additional sections below (including, most importantly, our recently released Job Advert!).

Seed you very soon,
Team OxGrow

***OxGrow is hiring!***

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Friday, 27th March 2015 @ 10:33am

Dear Green-fingered Friends:

OxGrow is hiring! As you might've heard, we're on the look-out for a Community Garden Co-ordinator. Please find a detailed position description attached. Have a look if you're interested in applying or know someone who might be. Applications (comprised of a brief covering letter and CV) are due by Wednesday the 8th April to mail@oxgrow.org. Do be in contact in advance with any questions. We're very eager to find the right person for the job!

Please share this message far and wide with any who'd love to take on this position.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Team OxGrow

Have you heard?: The Big Dig is back!

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 21st March 2015 @ 3:03pm

Tis that time of year, OxGrowers!

Our project will be featured in the nationwide initiative called the Big Dig tomorrow (Sunday) when we meet in the garden. The bunting's up, wild flower seeds are ready to go, and our snazzy DSLR camera is ready for some action. (If we send a set of photos deemed to be among the 5 best - which I'm sure we can manage :) - we'll receive a £150 voucher for new tools.) Come on down from 1-4pm in your best dungarees - we're ready for you.

Also, we'll be joined by four visitors from a community garden in Coventry. So be sure to give a warm welcome to these guests and any Oxfordshire newcomers.

Finally: Over the next couple of weeks we'll be circulating the following e-sign up sheet requesting that volunteers interested in participating in the facilitator rota add their details to this list so we can be in contact. Thereafter, we'll send around a Doodle poll to registered facilitators every month so that people can select Sunday work parties that they'd be happy to oversee. Sign up to be an OxGrow facilitator here (and be in contact if you need a bit more information):  http://tinyurl.com/OxGrowFacilitator

Hope to see many of you tomorrow (and tonight if you can make the first event listed in the attachments below!),
Your very loving green friends,
Team OxGrow

Plant an artichoke on the Ides of March

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 14th March 2015 @ 3:21pm

Dearest readers:

You are cordially invited down to Hogacre Common tomorrow (Sunday sunny Sunday) to pop some Jerusalem- and globe-artichokes in our nutrient-rich soil. We'll be sowing more life into the Harvest Patch (have you seen the parsnips and carrots that've been planted already??) casting a more prosperous tone over Caesar's typically morbid deathday. Come down at any point from 1-4pm (maybe 5 if we're feeling particularly invigorated). 

Also, for any University students who've been waiting for a break in their schedules: We're pleased to share that OxGrow'll be up and running every Sunday of Easter Break. We look forward to welcoming some fresh faces to the garden!

Looking forward to seeding with you tomorrow!


Come one and all: the AGM is upon us!

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 7th March 2015 @ 1:34pm

Happy (nearly) Spring, OxGrowers!

We've a big day tomorrow! At some point during this gloriously sunny afternoon, please set aside a few minutes to read through this email, consider its content and decide if and where you'd like to fit into OxGrow's future vision.

Our Sunday work session will run from 1:00-3:30pm. Marta will facilitate the session, overseeing a load of digging, seed sowing, and distribution of tasty morsels. We're in for a treat if the picnic table's half as well stocked as it was last week.

From 3:30-4:30pm, we'll convene in the pavilion for our Annual General Meeting. There're a number of important conversations to be had and decisions to be made. Among them, we are going to: (1) elect a brand new set of Executive positions (Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer); (2) approve a group of Coordinators, including, but not necessarily limited to Arts, Welfare, Outreach, Volunteer, IT, Events, Fundraising; and (3) decide how we will spend the remainder of our grant money. Your thoughts and interest in joining the team are very welcome!

Looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow!
With anticipation (and a load of charismatic smiles below),
Team OxGrow

(If ya have another moment, take a look at the three announcements that follow!)

From little things big things grow: preparing for spring

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 28th February 2015 @ 11:30am

Good morning, Growers!

Welcome to this Paul Kelly inspired newsletter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_ndC07C2qw (Go on, enjoy the tune!)

T minus 25 hours 'til the garden is flooded with activity as a featured event of Oxford Hub's Student Volunteer Week. Join us down at Hogacre at any point, for however long, tomorrow (Sunday) from 1:00-4:00pm! Andonis'll be facilitating this session - leading the charge as we upturn earth to create a third squash patch while others concoct a blood-warming dahl and Indian-inspired cauldron of chai in the pavilion kitchen. (Probably don't want to miss this session...) Bring a friend and any snacks to share! Also, be on your best behaviour, as a few student reps from various college Green Societies are coming down to scout out fertile fields for developing their communities.

The week ahead:
We have our Annual General Meeting (AGM) next Sunday, 8th of March from 3:30-~5:00pm (following the garden work party from 1-3:30). Among other things, we will boldly draw together a new committee to move OxGrow forward! We're excited to elect three new executive positions: Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Once those are filled, we'll rev up the (cobine harvester) engines and elect six or more garden Coordinators. A fully functioning and energised OxGrow will ideally have Arts, Welfare, IT, EventsOutreach, and Volunteer Coordinators. We'll provide some basic descriptions about what these roles could entail in next week's newsletter. In the meantime, consider whether you might be interested in taking on a bit more responsibility for OxGrow's continued growth - I trust there are many capable and inspired volunteers among you. 

I've attached the (very brief) minutes from last week's SGM (outlining our temporary election of committee positions in the lead up to AGM). I've also attached the poster announcing our AGM - share with any who you think might be keen on coming.

Lastly, we're looking for anybody(ies) who'd be willing and interested in minding the OxGrow stall at Oriel+Corpus Christi's Environment Fair next Saturday March 7th from noon-2pm. If you're the one(s), get in touch at mail@oxgrow.org! It'd be nice to forward our appreciation for all that Corpus does to enable our project (read: they let us use the land for free!). 

As ever, wormest wishes from your verdant friends,
Team OxGrow

Tomorrow!: Bat houses and our Special General Meeting

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 21st February 2015 @ 8:45am

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!,
Team OxGrow

Combating fatigue with 5th Week Greens

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 14th February 2015 @ 11:55am

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,
Team OxGrow

[No Subject]

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 7th February 2015 @ 5:29pm

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,
Team OxGrow

Seeking assistance in helping OxGrow grow!

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Friday, 30th January 2015 @ 5:51pm

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 mail@oxgrow.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: 

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, 

Team OxGrow

Garden party tomorrow!

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 24th January 2015 @ 12:08pm

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.

Sow excited!,
Team OxGrow

Wassail'ing for the weekend (+ Sunday garden party)

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Friday, 16th January 2015 @ 8:42pm

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 17thHogacre 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,
Team OxGrow

First garden party of the new year! (+ a very important community appeal)

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Friday, 9th January 2015 @ 1:44pm

Hello folks!

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,

Team OxGrow

Holiday break.

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 20th December 2014 @ 6:13pm

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 mail@oxgrow.org 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,
Team OxGrow

Final community gardening session of 2014!

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 13th December 2014 @ 9:23am

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,
Team OxGrow


Calendar files (.jpeg & .pdf) attached

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 6th December 2014 @ 1:17pm

Hello again,

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.


"You there, hi there, get your OxGrow calendar here!"

E-mail sent by Andonis Marden, Saturday, 6th December 2014 @ 12:55pm

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.

Next item:

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),
Team OxGrow



Networks: Oxford University, Oxford Hub

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