Harvesting Schools Salad







The six primary schools taking part in this year’s South London School Salad project had a bumper harvest today! 

Dog Kennel Hill, Horniman, Goodrich, Goose Green, St Johns and St Clements and Rosendale primary schools grew a massive 2.6 kilos of salad between them! Packed into 100g bags, that means that 26 lucky Local Greens customers will enjoy a delicious fresh salad mix grown by local school children.  About 150 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have been involved in growing salad leaves, including red and green oak leaf lettuce varieties, ruby chard, rocket, baby kale, Pak choi, Mizuna, mustard greens, and baby spinach.  Chive, rocket and marigold flowers (all edible) have been added to the mix.

Local Greens buy the salad from the school children, enabling them to generate an income from their gardening.   “I love doing this, picking salad” said one of the Horniman Year One’s.  Luckily they all agreed that they liked eating it too.  Rosie, their gardening teacher said “It’s a great project, the children learn about how many different things farmers have to be able to do.”

Dog Kennel Hill School deserve a special mention because their school vegetable garden is currently a building site!  Undeterred, the gardening group, ages 5-11, planted salad in recycled trays and Abdulhayy and Wilkie harvested over 400g of mixed lettuces and oriental greens.

Schools of Salad - Growing to Sell Talk

Catriona Andrews of Growing Rosendale gave a fabulous and informative talk about growing vegetables to sell this morning at Horniman Primary School. The talk was commissioned as part of Local Greens' South London School Salad project, where 8 schools in the area are growing mixed salad leaves to be harvested next week for the Local Greens veg bag. Over forty Year One children, aged 5 and 6 discussed all sorts of important issues such as what to grow, how to harvest, presentation of produce and pricing. They were delighted that as well as presenting information about fruit and vegetable growing, Catriona could also talk about her experience with lambing on her father-in-law's farm.

The School Salad project fits beautifully with the Year One topic focussing on shops, market stalls and money, and the children have been hard at work saving their lettuces and leaves from slugs, snails and other pests. Catriona asked "How do you get rid of aphids?" and one of the boys answered proudly "We kill them with our mini-weapons" whilst demonstrating with his lethal fingers! The children ended by asking Catriona that all important question for farmers, "What time do you get up in the morning?"

Schools of Salad

Salad leaves have been planted by several schools in South East London and are being tended well, ready to be harvested on June 19th for the Local Greens School Salad bags.  The mixed leaves and edible flowers will be one of the products that goes out in the Local Greens veg bag on June 20th, . Local Greens will buy the salad leaves from school gardening groups, providing income, teaching young people about entrepeneurship, and motivating children to learn new skills in growing vegetables.

They raked the soil to level it and create a fine crumb structure, ideal for the young plants that were then planted and watered in well.  Each child then chose some mixed leaf salad seeds to sow in drills alongside the lettuces.  Liz Myers, the Rosendale School gardening teacher was full of enthusiasm about getting the children outside to garden, and about the opportunity that Local Greens gives them to sell their produce.  She said, “They learn real skills and about where food comes from.  And they get their hands dirty!”

The 9 and 10 year old children at Rosendale School who were planting young lettuces last week said “Eat veg and be healthy!”, “Eat more veg and be the best!” and “Don’t eat sweets, eat salad!”.  We agree, and especially when it is grown within a few miles of where it’s eaten and picked within a day of arriving on your plate.

Local Food talks at Chelsea Fringe and Lambeth Poly

Local Greens gave talks on why buying local food is important at a Chelsea Fringe talk organised by Growing Rosendale, and during the Lambeth Poly training course:

Local Food: the Power of Your Pound.
Local food is more and more popular, particularly as the recent horsemeat scandal has highlighted the complexity of the supermarket supply chain. There are many good reasons for buying local, and the more demand for local food, the more local food there will be. Therese Stowell, Managing Director of Local Greens, a not for profit weekly local veg bag scheme in Southeast London, will present the compelling arguments for local food.

The slides are here.

Visit to Sutton Community Farm and Calabaza, May 1st

Visiting farmers is one of my favourite things to do, and it was a beautiful day for it.

I visited Sutton first, and was really impressed by the hive of activity - lots of volunteers, a toddlers group, and vast quantities of seedlings waiting to go into the ground. I had a farm tour from Joris, their head grower, then a meeting with Sam who runs the farm and Laura who coordinates the box scheme. They've been funded by Bioregional and other charities since the beginning, and their funding finishes September this year. So they've been working hard to increase their numbers and to make sure their expenditures are in line with their income. They are growing lots of veg but need to prioritise supplying their own bags, so can't commit to growing veg for us. We will of course buy from them when possible.

Their packing shed was full of volunteers packing and visitors having a tour.

Here are some of their seedlings.

And here are coldframes they built, largely from recycled timber.

On the farm tour Joris showed me the salad crop that had been decimated by wireworm.

And he also showed me the field he's trying to rid of coodge grass:

Then I went across the road to visit Joel at Calabaza. Both farms are in an area of Wallington that has Homes for Heroes, surrounded by big tracts of land. There are lots of nursery businesses about. But many of the farmers are of retirement age. The land is owned by Surrey Council and they've been putting the rents up so high that it is driving out businesses. Many locals suspect they want to develop the land. That would be a big shame! Joel has been taking on more land is it becomes available and now has 3.5 acres plus glasshouses. The glasshouses were inherited from local farmers and he's also been able to get much of his equipment secondhand from them.

Here are the lettuces that will be in the bags tomorrow, don't they look delicious!

He's just taken on a new field; they'll be planting chard and beetroot there on the far strip later today.

Here they are today planting a quick-growing japanese broccoli in the glass house, this should be ready in June.

And here are the globe artichoke plants ready to go, I'm looking forward to those!

And here's one of Joel's fields covered in green manure. A green manure is a plant that is beneficial to the soil, but isn't a crop. In this case he's planted vetch to fix nitrogen into the soil, and rye to stop weeds.

The Bee Cause - the Year of the Bee

Our bees are in trouble - but Britain's waking up to the buzz.

British bee numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, affected by disease, chemicals and habitat loss.

Bees are vital to so much of British life; they pollinate our food, help keep our farms in business and help our gardens, parks and countryside to thrive. They pollinate 75% of our main food crops, including strawberries, apples and tomatoes. Scientists estimate it would cost £1.8 billion a year to pollinate all these crops by hand.

But British bees are in trouble: bee numbers have nearly halved in the past 50 years. Two species of bumblebee are already extinct. But if we act now we can save the bees.

The Bee Cause Needs You

Friends of the Earth's Bee Cause campaign is making 2013 the Year of the Bee. And you can help by becoming a Bee Saver. For £15 you can get one of our Bee Saver Kits, which includes a garden guide, wildflower seeds, a bee identification guide and a garden planner. Planting seeds in your garden will provide crucial habitat for bees in your community.

You can help save British bees – but please act now. www.foe.co.uk/bees

Tablehurst farm walk - Sunday 5 May 11am

Want to see how and where your veg is grown? Rob, the head grower at Tablehurst, will be leading a farm walk on 5th May. Tablehurst is a biodynamic farm in Forest Row, East Sussex, and was the first farm to supply Local Greens.

Local Greens talk on the benefits of shopping locally

Local Greens gave a presentation last night at the Future of the High Street meeting organised by the Herne Hill Forum. We spoke about the benefits of shopping locally:

  • ›Help the local economy
  • ›Community benefits
  • ›Keep flavour of the area
  • ›Better shopping
  • ›Human scale
  • ›Personal relationship
  • ›Accountability

Tesco's plans to move into the space next to Sainsbury's were the impetus for the meeting.

Our slides are here.

Visit to St. Mungo's Putting Down Roots Project

St. Mungo's is a homeless hostel with several sites. The Clapham site has a growing project, Putting Down Roots, where residents can earn a level 1 qualification in horticulture. Nine residents completed the last course. They are adding a level 2 qualification, and residents have gone on to get jobs in horticulture.

They sell the produce they grow to local restaurants and to us! Last year we bought spinach, chard, lettuce, and pea shoots. We visited them yesterday, while residents were planting runner beans. While they used to focus on growing crops they could sell, they are now focusing on growing the crops the residents are interested in.

Glasshouse
Planting salad

Glasshouse
Planting runner beans

Glasshouse
Planting runner beans

Glasshouse
Purple sprouting broccoli

Glasshouse
Spinach

Glasshouse
Water harvesting

Glasshouse
Coldframe - all built using recycled pallettes

Glasshouse
Staging area

Glasshouse
A page in the course work

Wild ways with wild garlic

Whats in the bag?
 
Wild Garlic is in the box… and there are so many wonderful things you can with it!
 
Wild Garlic and Broad Bean Dip.
 
You will need,
 
2/3 pounds of Wild Garlic (1 tea cup)
2/3 pounds of Broad Beans ( 2 tea cups)
200 gr of Goats Cheese
2 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp of Lemon Zest
Rapeseed Oil
1 Tbsp salt ( in the boiling water)
1/4 of a tea cup of water
Salt&Pepper to taste
 
This is a wonderfully simple recipe and although it takes quite a long time it hardly involves any cooking and it will definitely impress your guests.
You can substitute cooked, dried fava beans. Hodmedod's sells UK-grown beans, soon to be stocked at Beamish & McGlue.
 
I used two parts Fava Beans to one part Wild Garlic. My weights were very lax, one tea cup of wild garlic ( chopped and raw) two tea cups of Fava Beans ( shelled and cooked) or there abouts.. don’t worry about these quantities as once you have shelled the Fava Beans you may not fill two cups!
 
I chopped up the wild garlic and fried it in a little olive oil for 5 mins… don’t let it go brown.
 
I then took the beans out of their outer case which was fun and did not long. Then I proceeded to take off their skins… less fun and pretty time consuming.. So I cooked them in salted boiling water for 5 minutes then rinsed them in cold water and then peeled them… much easier and less time consuming and gently theraputic.. which is always a good reason to cook I find!
 
Then I whizzed up the beans and the garlic with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, one table spoon of lemon zest and 1/4 of a tea cup of water. I pulsed and whizzed and till it was pureed and then added a little more olive oil… and then I threw 200gr of goats cheese into the mix and whizzed some more.
 
I then put it in a bowl and tore open a large bag of blue corn tortilla chips and a large bag of white corn tortilla chips and my 4 guests had at it…
 
You can substitute Cream Cheese for the Goats Cheese.
And if you can’t find Wild Garlic you can use 4 cloves of garlic.
 
 
Meanwhile Mr McGlue, unbeknownst to myself was making
 
Mushroom and Wild Garlic Toasties!!!
 
You will need.
 
Sourdough Bread
Mushrooms
Wild Garlic
Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil
Butter
Salt&Pepper to taste
 
First slice your mushrooms and wild garlic. Toss some butter in the pan then throw in the wild garlic (cooking is very physical in our house!) when the wild garlic has absorbed the butter some add the mushrooms. Then toast some sourdough slices on one side. Let the mushrooms and garlic cook for 7/8 mins and toast the bread lightly on the other side. Add a table spoon of Dijon mustard to the mushrooms and wild garlic just before you take them out of the pan. Spread a little olive oil on the lightly toasted side of the bread and lay the mushroom mix on top… put on a platter and serve…
 
And if you have any Wild Garlic left over why not add it to your Shepherds Pie, or Lasagne or even Bolognese… its lovely and green and adds a very special kick.
 
I love this season.
 
Wild garlic in the bags. All other ingredients, except fresh broad beans, available at Beamish&McGlue 461 Norwood Rd SE27 0BW www.beamishandmcglue.com

19 Jun 13
Harvesting Schools Salad
Natasha






The six primary schools taking part in this year’s South London School Salad project had a bumper harvest today! 

Dog Kennel Hill, Horniman, Goodrich, Goose Green, St Johns and St Clements and Rosendale primary schools grew a massive 2.6 kilos of salad between them! Packed into 100g bags, that means that 26 lucky Local Greens customers will enjoy a delicious fresh salad mix grown by local school children.  About 150 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have been involved in growing salad leaves, including red and green oak leaf lettuce varieties, ruby chard, rocket, baby kale, Pak choi, Mizuna, mustard greens, and baby spinach.  Chive, rocket and marigold flowers (all edible) have been added to the mix.

Local Greens buy the salad from the school children, enabling them to generate an income from their gardening.   “I love doing this, picking salad” said one of the Horniman Year One’s.  Luckily they all agreed that they liked eating it too.  Rosie, their gardening teacher said “It’s a great project, the children learn about how many different things farmers have to be able to do.”

Dog Kennel Hill School deserve a special mention because their school vegetable garden is currently a building site!  Undeterred, the gardening group, ages 5-11, planted salad in recycled trays and Abdulhayy and Wilkie harvested over 400g of mixed lettuces and oriental greens.

14 Jun 13
Schools of Salad - Growing to Sell Talk
Natasha

Catriona Andrews of Growing Rosendale gave a fabulous and informative talk about growing vegetables to sell this morning at Horniman Primary School. The talk was commissioned as part of Local Greens' South London School Salad project, where 8 schools in the area are growing mixed salad leaves to be harvested next week for the Local Greens veg bag. Over forty Year One children, aged 5 and 6 discussed all sorts of important issues such as what to grow, how to harvest, presentation of produce and pricing. They were delighted that as well as presenting information about fruit and vegetable growing, Catriona could also talk about her experience with lambing on her father-in-law's farm.

The School Salad project fits beautifully with the Year One topic focussing on shops, market stalls and money, and the children have been hard at work saving their lettuces and leaves from slugs, snails and other pests. Catriona asked "How do you get rid of aphids?" and one of the boys answered proudly "We kill them with our mini-weapons" whilst demonstrating with his lethal fingers! The children ended by asking Catriona that all important question for farmers, "What time do you get up in the morning?"

01 May 13
Visit to Sutton Community Farm and Calabaza, May 1st
Therese

Visiting farmers is one of my favourite things to do, and it was a beautiful day for it.

I visited Sutton first, and was really impressed by the hive of activity - lots of volunteers, a toddlers group, and vast quantities of seedlings waiting to go into the ground. I had a farm tour from Joris, their head grower, then a meeting with Sam who runs the farm and Laura who coordinates the box scheme. They've been funded by Bioregional and other charities since the beginning, and their funding finishes September this year. So they've been working hard to increase their numbers and to make sure their expenditures are in line with their income. They are growing lots of veg but need to prioritise supplying their own bags, so can't commit to growing veg for us. We will of course buy from them when possible.

Their packing shed was full of volunteers packing and visitors having a tour.

Here are some of their seedlings.

And here are coldframes they built, largely from recycled timber.

On the farm tour Joris showed me the salad crop that had been decimated by wireworm.

And he also showed me the field he's trying to rid of coodge grass:

Then I went across the road to visit Joel at Calabaza. Both farms are in an area of Wallington that has Homes for Heroes, surrounded by big tracts of land. There are lots of nursery businesses about. But many of the farmers are of retirement age. The land is owned by Surrey Council and they've been putting the rents up so high that it is driving out businesses. Many locals suspect they want to develop the land. That would be a big shame! Joel has been taking on more land is it becomes available and now has 3.5 acres plus glasshouses. The glasshouses were inherited from local farmers and he's also been able to get much of his equipment secondhand from them.

Here are the lettuces that will be in the bags tomorrow, don't they look delicious!

He's just taken on a new field; they'll be planting chard and beetroot there on the far strip later today.

Here they are today planting a quick-growing japanese broccoli in the glass house, this should be ready in June.

And here are the globe artichoke plants ready to go, I'm looking forward to those!

And here's one of Joel's fields covered in green manure. A green manure is a plant that is beneficial to the soil, but isn't a crop. In this case he's planted vetch to fix nitrogen into the soil, and rye to stop weeds.

25 Apr 13
Local Greens talk on the benefits of shopping locally
Therese

Local Greens gave a presentation last night at the Future of the High Street meeting organised by the Herne Hill Forum. We spoke about the benefits of shopping locally:

  • ›Help the local economy
  • ›Community benefits
  • ›Keep flavour of the area
  • ›Better shopping
  • ›Human scale
  • ›Personal relationship
  • ›Accountability

Tesco's plans to move into the space next to Sainsbury's were the impetus for the meeting.

Our slides are here.

23 Apr 13
Visit to St. Mungo's Putting Down Roots Project
Therese

St. Mungo's is a homeless hostel with several sites. The Clapham site has a growing project, Putting Down Roots, where residents can earn a level 1 qualification in horticulture. Nine residents completed the last course. They are adding a level 2 qualification, and residents have gone on to get jobs in horticulture.

They sell the produce they grow to local restaurants and to us! Last year we bought spinach, chard, lettuce, and pea shoots. We visited them yesterday, while residents were planting runner beans. While they used to focus on growing crops they could sell, they are now focusing on growing the crops the residents are interested in.

Glasshouse
Planting salad

Glasshouse
Planting runner beans

Glasshouse
Planting runner beans

Glasshouse
Purple sprouting broccoli

Glasshouse
Spinach

Glasshouse
Water harvesting

Glasshouse
Coldframe - all built using recycled pallettes

Glasshouse
Staging area

Glasshouse
A page in the course work