Huxhams Farm survey

Dear  Week Project Members and Devon Friends,
We have suggested that all those people who are local and/or interested in produce, farm activities and/or being in nature on our land at Huxhams Cross are  warmly invited and encouraged to participate in the surveys that the Apricot team are conducting regarding what might be grown, how the farm might interact with the local community, what services are looked for and how the farm might be designed.

If you know of anyone, or group of people, who may have views and ideas please ask them to join the surveys. This is an unique opportunity to be involved in turning a piece of bare land into a real farm that interacts with the local community and environment.

Please express your views, desires, needs or wishes for local food, place to walk, make jam or take the children …… if you have not already done so.

The Design courses are due to start after Easter and so your input is requested ASAP so that it can be taken into account.

See the Biodynamic Land Trust page

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Heating a million homes

A million properties across England could in future be heated by water from rivers, canals and the sea, the government says.
The Department for Energy calculates this is the potential of a technology known as the water source heat pump.
This relies on a heat exchanger, which uses a system akin to refrigeration to amplify warmth from pipes in the sea.

If the energy from the process comes from renewables, properties can be warmed with near-zero carbon emissions.

See this BBC report.

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Listen to the sounds of nature

The tranquil chorus of the natural world is in danger of being lost to today’s generation as people screen out the noises that surround them, a senior US researcher warns.

Rising levels of background noise in some areas threaten to make people oblivious to the uplifting sounds of birdsong, trickling water, and trees rustling in the wind, which can often be heard even in urban centres, said Kurt Fristrup, a senior scientist at the US National Park Service.

The problem was exacerbated by people listening to iPods through their earphones instead of tuning in to the birds and other sounds of nature that can easily be drowned out by traffic, music and other noises, he said.

See this Guardian article.

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Tree planting in the Evenlode Valley

Working in the second plantationPlanting trees at Honeydale Farm for the Wychwood Project.  We planted about a thousand bare root saplings of various kinds in the course of a rather chilly morning.  The trees are intended for use in coppicing, e.g. for firewood.
Much of the standing water in the picture, which comes from a spring higher up the slope, will be absorbed by the trees.

Justin stands alone

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600 trees in Milan


Inspired by Amma’s message to save the planet, Italian devotee volunteers took to planting 600 trees in a town near Milan in Northern Italy.

In one of her talks, Amma said “There is an inseparable bond between man and nature. For man, there cannot be an existence removed from nature. However, because of his thoughtless actions, the equilibrium in nature is getting disturbed; the pulse of human life is becoming erratic, too. ..We cannot delay anymore. We must make the right decisions and embark on the right course of actions.”
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Organic vegetable garden at Amrita University

Encouraged by Amma’s message that everyone should be able to eat vegetables grown organically at least once in a week, the college students at Amrita University’s Amritapuri campus have started an organic vegetable garden using natural methods of cultivation.

See this link.

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Sweet Pilgrimage

Steppe Magazine has an article about apple forests in Tian Shan, believed to be the source of all worldwide apple varieties.

Nowhere else in the world do apples grow as a forest. The nineteenth-century traveller Victor Vitkovich proclaimed these naturally occurring groves to be ‘a marvellous garden where apples and pears look down on you from the trees and beg to be eaten’.

This Garden of Eden is under threat from the introduction of commercial varieties of apple.  Yet another reason to plant apple trees in the UK, especially if they come from a wide variety of species.

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Starch and cellulose wrapping

A number of magazines, for instance from Garden Organic or Permaculture, now come in wrappers made of cellulose (from wood) or potato starch.  The wrappers are biodegradable and compostable.

So why do we need plastic wrappers any longer?

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Recycling – eliminate the idea of waste

Terracycle “is on a mission to eliminate the idea of waste. We do this by creating waste collection programmes (each one is called a “Brigade”) for previously non-recyclable, or difficult-to-recycle, waste. The collected waste is then converted into new products, ranging from recycled park benches to upcycled lunchboxes.”

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England’s natural environment in decline – plant trees!

If you need any incentive to plant trees, get this!  The Natural Capital Committee reports that “England’s natural environment is in decline and its deterioration is harming the economy.”
“The committee also advised that creating hundreds of thousands of hectares of woodland and wetlands would lead to multi-million pound benefits, including avoiding flooding and improving health.”

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