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Hello, and may we introduce to you…Strawberry Grove Growers, Market Gardeners, coming to the Gransden area in July 2017. Located at Sand Road, we are a team of family and friends that came together through a love of growing vegetables. We purchased a plot of woodland in 2015, after falling in love with it, which we can thank Celia Chignall, family and friends for all their hard work planting trees and creating a wildlife haven! Our goal is to create a market garden, using natural methods and minimising fossil fuel use, whilst still maintaining the plots beauty, keeping it as a site dedicated to nature. The state of the planet is a great worry to us and we want to do what we can to help preserve it for future generations to enjoy. Which is why you will never find us using any chemicals or pesticides, we believe there is another way, we look to nature to both inspire us and teach us.

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I am Felicity Emerson, one of the team, and my history is in nursing, focusing on nutrition, I am a keen gardener and have had an allotment for 5 years. I am a Gamlingay girl, and although I ventured to London to complete my nursing degree at Kings College, I could not stay away from the countryside. After working in Neurology at Addenbrookes, and as a dementia specialist in local nursing homes, I began to focus on nutrition. I trained in Ayurveda, (which is herbs, massage, yoga and diet) and then completed a diploma in Raw Nutritional Science. I now work one to one, especially with the elderly, assisting them through diet and massage. Also in the team is Sam Donovan, a great lover of nature and avid bird watcher, as his mum works for the RSPB, Sam’s previous career was in bio mass heating systems with his father Ross at their own company, Ross is also involved at Strawberry Grove Growers at a management level. Conor Devine is a friend that got bitten by the gardening bug after helping us with our allotment, quite a career change as he is a mechanic. Together the four of us came up with the idea of a Market Garden using natural growing methods, as we struggled to buy organic vegetables and we received such positive feedback from friends and family about our crops from the allotment. Transitioning from an allotment to a market garden has been hard work, especially as we work using ecologically friendly methods (mostly our hands!), but we are so excited about the future!

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What we plan to do:

* A vegetable cart – We aim to have a cart at the front of the gate from July 2017, every Saturday, where we will be selling our fresh fruit, veggies and free range chicken and duck eggs. We will sell specialist vegetables, that you will not find in stores, as well as traditional produce.

* Weekly vegetable boxes on yearly contracts – from next year we would like to offer vegetable boxes, receiving a mixed vegetable box every week, depending on the size of your family. This year we are doing research and doing trails to see what grows well on site and what you the public want. More info to come…..

Future ideas: 

* Hazel and willow products – canes, fences, gates and living structures.

* We would also like to offer courses in: hazel/ willow weaving, permaculture gardening, nutritional courses or one to one sessions, school visits and gardening classes for children.

Our promises to you:

Getting organically certified takes a while…and is a lot of paper work…so for now we are not certified but we promise:

* To use organic seeds, Never GMO.

* To provide habitats for wild life and encourage their production by planting lots of beneficial flowers, insect/bee boxes and hedgehog hotels.

* To recycle things that would other wise go to land fill, incorporating them into our designs. E.g. growing potatoes in tyres, bird scarer’s out of tins and cans.

* To use local suppliers. Supporting the community and local businesses.

* To use natural fertilizers of potash, as well as comfrey and nettle home brewed tea.

* To make our own compost and refuse use of peat, due to the damage of peat marshes.

* To value every drop of water and collect rainwater to water the plants.

* To use companion planting to attract beneficial insects and keep pests away.

* To follow the rules of permaculture, that is to work with nature to provide abundance.

* No dig method, allows the worms and the microbes to thrive within the soil. Applying mulches to improve the soil.

* To offer advice on gardening and healthy eating.

* To take an active part in the community and offer the community to take an active part at Strawberry Grove, come and see your vegetables growing, take part in open harvest days if you wish!!

* To offer fair affordable prices.

Community Supported Agriculture –

We are part of the community supported agriculture (CSA) scheme. The idea is to get the public back in touch with the food growing process. More info can be found on their website; http://www.communitysupportedagriculture.org.uk

‘CSA helps to address increasing concerns about the lack of transparency, sustainability and resilience of our food system. It is one of the most radical ways that we can re-take control and ownership of our food system. Consumers, CSA members, are closely linked to the farm and the production of their food, and provide support for each other. Consumers benefit by eating fresh healthy local food, feeling more connected to the land where their food is grown and learning new skills.’

We are still busy working to get everything ready, but we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Strawberry.grove.growers@gmail.com

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Thank you for your time and we look forward to meeting you!!!