A guest blog from Ed Lloyd

Just had a great visit to Barnes Hall Farm in late July 2014 to check out Greg and Sheila in their new life. I have known them for something over thirty years, initially working with Greg but later enjoying the full range of the Care household delights on shared holidays and especially family meals with Dr Dad acting as referee in the often challenging discussions with three lively kids.

flowers and veg (2)

But now after three decades and with grandchildren a plenty (but not around when I visited) I am still reeling at the scale of the project and the quality of the buildings. The impressive poly tunnel (well done Greg and team). Also the adjacent plots are fantastic with blossoms and vegetables in abundance – well done to Sheila and Sheena.

flowers and veg (1)

In true co-operative style I was offered an opportunity to contribute to the project and found myself with mattock and shovel with the task of replanting a silver birch. I doubt that high summer is the best time for such a job and as the tree will need watering regularly if it is to survive – it may have a challenging start in life. I considered asking Sheila if a plaque to commemorate my visit and tree planting was in order but suspect that would have resulted in a “no way Ed” look!

re-planting (1)

While we were busy digging Sheena had become the “thistle lady” clearing a plot which I had thought was a demonstration wild garden! But with both jobs completed it was decided that four of us could make a start on weeding the courtyard and it was good to see that in a brief time we had made clear inroads into this area. Maybe the strap line for the project could be “many hands make light work”.

Thistle lady

The evening meal was great with produce having been grown only fifty meters away and well exceeding the Waitrose Organic range.

team at work

Even at this early stage, with empty shell like buildings, you can feel both the potential and sense the heart beating. I look forward to future visits and an opportunity to make another mini contribution to this great project.

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