Tesco Bags of Help Grant

The Tesco Bags of Help scheme is offering us a grant to install a composting toilet on our site.

The Tesco Bags of Help scheme is offering us a grant to install a composting toilet on our site.  This should cover purchase of a strong little hut and the toilet, as well as installation, if we are lucky.  You can help by casting a vote for our project next time you are shopping in a local Tesco between 31 Oct and 13 Nov.Tesco explain:

Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork on its Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of regions across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.
Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 416 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 26 September to 9 October on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards. In total, there is over £12.5 million up for grabs.

Huge thanks to Angie Wilshaw for putting our bid for this money together!

Constitution amended

On 3rd August 2016 we held and Extraordinary General Meeting which voted unanimously to amend our Association Rules (constitution) to include a dissolution clause:

On 3rd August 2016 we held and Extraordinary General Meeting which voted unanimously to amend our Association Rules (constitution) to include a dissolution clause:

15. DISSOLUTION. In the event of the Dissolution of the Society, funds will be used to defray all debts and liabilities incurred by the Society. Any funds remaining after this will, if possible, be transferred to a local organisation with similar objectives in their constitution, or shall be given for charitable purposes. The decision as to transfer of remaining funds will be taken by the committee or, should there be no viable committee, by any remaining Trustees of the Society.

Joe Maiden

We were very sad to hear that Joe Maiden passed away on Thursday, 17 September 2015, after a long fight with prostate cancer.

We were very sad to hear that Joe Maiden passed away on Thursday, 17 September 2015, after a long fight with prostate cancer.  Joe was a gardening expert on Radio Leeds’ for over forty years.  He was also prominent in the National Vegetable Society, Leeds Horticultural Society, and many others.  He wrote a regular column for Kitchen Garden magazine and frequently gave talks around the region.  He has received many awards for his charitable activities.
 
He has been associated with Hollin Lane Allotments for over thirty years, finding time in his busy schedule to walk around our site and judge the “best plot” each year, and to join us on a September Sunday to judge the exhibits in our Autumn Show.   He had his own way of doing the judging – explaining how he made his choices, and throwing out gardening lore, funny stories and good cheer as he went.
 
We will miss the help and encouragement which has done so much to improve our allotments and gardening generally for so long.
Expounding2014

AGM 2015

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 27 October at the Meanwood Institute.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 27 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the full story, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Reports

The Chair reported that 2015 was an active year, with six Committee meetings, two Plant Bring and Buy Sales, and our annual Autumn show.

We were very saddened by the death of Joe Maiden, who has been a great friend of our Association for over thirty years, judging our plots and show exhibits and giving lots of very helpful advice and encouragement in the process.

Once again the maintenance of the site was done by volunteers:  grass cutting, bramble control, communal bonfires, etc.  Big thanks to everyone who helped out!

We benefited from two generous grants for projects:

  • With help from the £350 from last year’s grant from St Chad’s Community fund we had a series of work parties to establish our hazel and ash coppice at the top of plot 46.
  • We won £500 from Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving initiative.  We used this for construction of a communal shelter, just next to our green hut. This gives us a place to meet and relax out of the weather – really useful this year.  Jon O’Neill, dry-stone waller from Horsforth, did the skilled construction work.

Security was a minor problem this year. There were a couple of break-ins, but nothing much was taken. We had problems with one of our new combination locks, but it was replaced free of charge by Glendor DIY.

The Trustees held three scheduled inspections with follow-ups. They looked for health and safety problems and plots that were not being properly cultivated. There were two evictions, and several people gave up plots voluntarily.

The Treasurer presented the audited accounts for 2014-2015 which showed our finances to be healthy.  Deliveries of manure have worked well, with the £1/load contributions from members enabling us to get more than usual.

Election of Officers

Officers were elected as follows:

    • Chair: J Foster
    • Secretary:  A Willshaw
    • Treasurer:  N Clark
    • Committee:  L Allen, G North, J Ward, D Hood, C Evans, R Hall, Mary Davies, Jenny Tennant-Jackson.

Rosie Hall agreed to continue managing lettings.  Pat Shore and John Oughton resigned after many years of service.  Many thanks to both of them.

Prizegiving

The Chair presented prizes as follows:

  • Best Plot
    • 1st Prize: Joe Foster, plot 3o and 31B
    • 2nd Prize:  Malcolm Slade, plot 8R
    • 3rd Prize:  Peter Blakey, plot 13
  • Best Newcomer’s Plot: Jane Harnett, plot 15BL and Jenny Tennant-Jackson, plot 15BR
  • Overall Winner of Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall
  • Best exhibit in Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall

Joe Maiden judged the plots in July in spite of his illness. Thanks to Gordon Kirby for judging the show.  Thanks also to Pat Shore and Claire Evans for collecting prizes from generous business sponsors.

Thanks also to our generous sponsors, who provided the prizes:

For details of our discussion, please read the minutes of the meeting.

 

Autumn Show 2015

The 2015 show was on Sunday 6 September.

The 2015 show was on Sunday 6 September.  For the first time in over thirty years Joe Maiden was unable to judge our exhibits, due to his declining health.  Gordon Kirby stepped in on the day and did an excellent job of deciding which were our most beautiful as well as our weirdest fruit and veg.  There were the usual delicious refreshments, useful stuff on sale, and a white-knuckle snail race.  The overall winner on the basis of most points was Rosie Hall, who also had the Best Exhibit in the show.

AGM 2014

Our Annual General Meeting was held on 23 October at the Meanwood Institute.  For the full story, read the minutes.  Here is a summary.

Reports

The Chair reported that 2014 was a good season for most of us, with some bumper crops. It was also an active year, with seven Committee meetings, two Plant Bring and Buy Sales which brought in £400, and our annual Autumn show. We had several work parties: planting 100 blackthorn seedlings to reinforce our bottom fence, pruning brambles and tidying the hedge, tending a couple of large bonfires, and clearing the top of plot 46 for our coppice wood. The paths were kept mowed as usual almost without anyone noticing, thanks to Peter Blakey. We had a skip here during April for rubbish collected around the site.

Security was a bit less of a problem than last year. There were a couple of break-ins, but not much was taken. We had problems with one of our new combination locks, but it was replaced free of charge by Glendor DIY.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting in February we voted unanimously to donate £400 to the Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners “fighting fund” to help fund a judicial review of the Council’s decision to double our allotment rents. The judge’s decision from the 16th July hearing was that the Council’s rent rise illegal, so our rents for 2015 will not increase.

The Trustees held scheduled inspections on 1 March, 2 June, and 1 September, with follow-ups on 16 April and 16 October. They looked for health and safety problems and plots that were not being properly cultivated. There were two evictions, and several people gave up plots voluntarily.

Election of Officers

Officers were elected as follows:

    • Chair: J Foster
    • Secretary:  A Willshaw
    • Treasurer:  N Clark
    • Committee:  L Allen, G North, J Ward, P Shore, J Oughton, D Hood, C Evans, R Hall.

Rosie Hall agreed to continue managing lettings.

Prizegiving

The Chair presented prizes as follows:

  • Best Plot
    • 1st Prize: Peter Blakey (13)
    • 2nd Prize:  Mary Davies (10BR)
    • 3rd Prize:  Jenny Ward (45)
    • 4th Prize:  Ros Dunlevey (37)
  • Best Newcomer’s Plot: John Stonard (20BR) and Trina Evans-Cheung (20BL)
  • Overall Winner of Autumn Show:  Rosie Hall
  • Best exhibit in Autumn Show:  Ros Dunlevey

Many thanks to Joe Maiden for judging both the plots and the autumn show.

Thanks also to our generous sponsors, who provided the prizes:

Discussion

We introduced our revised Guidelines, which aim for “Hollin Lane Allotments to be a friendly, harmonious, and productive place to grow food”.  After a discussion, they were adopted by the meeting.  They are now posted on the notice board on the green hut.  You can also see them on this website on the Rules page.

We have won a grant of £350 from the St Chad’s Community Fund to establish a coppice wood at the top of plot 46.  This would give us a  supply of beanpoles and a natural area underplanted with native spring bulbs.  We are also waiting to hear if we have won a £500 grant to create a social area and shelter above the green hut.

For more details of our discussion, please read the minutes of the meeting.

 

Plant Bring & Buy Sales 2014

This year’s Plant Bring & Buy Sales were on 18 May and 22 June, starting at 11:00. All proceeds were put towards a new communal hut.

Plant Bring & Buy May 2014

This year’s Plant Bring & Buy Sales were on 18 May and 22 June, starting at 11:00 in the car park area. Plot holders raised extra seedlings of veg and ornamental plants for sale to each other and the public. All proceeds go towards a new communal hut.  The May sale was a great success, with a good crowd of eager buyers.  Items on sale:

  • Veg seedlings
  • Garden ornamental plants
  • House plants
  • 100 good quality 8′ canes (sold out!)
  • Fertilizers from the hut
  • Garden bric-a-brac and used tools
  • Refreshements (including some ravishing home made cakes)

There was also a free tool sharpening service for everything from secateurs to axes (but not for eyesight or hearing!).

Threat to Seed Sovereignty

There is a new threat to our freedom to buy and share seeds of heirloom and less popular plant varieties.

The EU is considering a bill to tidy up lots of separate bits of legislation on plant reproductive material.  As it stands the bill would require even small seed companies and informal seed banks like Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library (HSL) to go through an expensive registration process for each variety to show that it meets a Europe-wide DUS standard.

“DUS” stands for “Distinct, Uniform and Stable”, which means that all seeds of a variety should be genetically nearly identical.  This standard suits the needs of large seed companies and industrial scale growers, but goes against small traditional farmers who save and exchange their own seeds, and anyone concerned about the longer term sustainability of agriculture, because it dramatically narrows the genetic diversity of the crops we depend on for our food.

Many small seed companies would likely have to stop trading, as they could not afford the registration process.  The HSL could face a bill of half a million pounds – an impossible amount.

Traditional, open pollinated seed varieties are the result of years of careful selection by generations of growers.  Control of this precious resource should not be expropriated by large corporations.  That would amount to a theft every bit as terrible as taking away a farmer’s land.

There is still time for us  to influence this legislation by writing to our MEPs, and to the Chief and Shadow Rapporteurs for Agriculture at the European Parliament.  You can find contact details for your MEPs at WriteToThem.  The Garden Organic website has details of the Rapporteurs, as well as more information on how to protest.

For more background see the Garden Organic page and the Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty, and particularly the text of the Vienna Declaration, from a meeting of twenty organisations from across Europe.