Agroecology & CSA Event at Cinema & Co

On Wednesday 13th November, Cae Tân hosted an event focused on the environmental, economic and social benefits of CSA, and the current obstacles to developing agroecological food production around Swansea. It was great to have attendance from a wide variety of organisations, including Swansea Council, Welsh government, several local farmers, local parliamentary candidates, NRW, the Soil Association, Swansea University and RSPB.

We identified key challenges as: access to land, funding mechanisms, opportunities for training and education, policy requirements, and knowledge of supply chains. There are also several important opportunities in our area, such as consumer demand, the amount of fertile land, and interest from aspiring producers. At Cae Tân, we’ve demonstrated that it’s possible to provide food for a great deal of local households in a sustainable manner, and by starting a wider conversation around these issues, we want to open the door to more producers.

If you wish to join this discussion, and have ideas for helping develop food production around Swansea, please do get in touch.

Thanks go to all of the Cae Tân directors for their help in organising this event, and to Cinema & Co. for hosting us.

Trainee Post 2020


Cae Tan community supported agriculture is based on the Gower Peninsula, south Wales. Please look at our website & watch the 9 minute film there as it explains our work in detail. www.caetancsa.org

We are seeking a hard working person to join our team for the 2020 season. Period from April 1st to 31st October 2020.

What we can offer you

Accommodation near to the field & shared with a European Volunteer
£50 per week living expenses
As much fresh veg as you can eat
Support in your work with us to learn the ropes of how to grow a CSA

Work will involve

Day to day sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, packing organic / biodynamic produce
Working alongside staff & volunteers
Occasional schools & youth project work
4 days per week 9 – 5 with occasional weekend watering
The opportunity to learn about machinery use if this interests you

What we would like from you

Motivation to learn about sustainable growing & community development
Willingness to work hard in all weathers
Adaptability & willingness to work & get along with a lot of different people

To apply for this position please

Send us your CV
Answer the following questions;
Why do you want this position?
What are your long-term goals in sustainable farming?
What relevant experiences & aspects of your character will you bring with you
CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS – 19th Jan 2020

Please send these by email to tom@caetancsa.org

If you want to ask anything just give me a call 07791696848

We will invite those selected in January to come for an interview, but if you want to come & visit in the meantime that would be great.

Cheers, Tom

Sharing knowledge with other Welsh Growers

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Last Tuesday, myself, Geoff, lizzy, Abbi, Rhian & Gio headed out west for the day to meet some other growers & learn from their systems of growing & selling produce. Through the winter whilst work is quiet this is a great way to build our knowledge. The visit was funded by Social Farms & Gardens.

The first stop was with Martin Samphire of Banc organics. Here we looked at his system which he is in the process of mechanising as he has very few hours to produce quite a lot of veg. Martin is using a lot of biodegradable mulch which saves him time, regulates soil temperature, suppresses weeds etc. He’s been studying an MSc on this material & is now starting a pHd! And still growing to supply enough for 60 households! The biodegradable membrane is something that we may use on certain crops in 2020.

Second stop was Glebelands Market Garden in Cardigan. Adam & Lesley kindly fed us on arrival then gave us a tour of the farm. Their business operates around a small farm shop where they sell both their own produce, produce from other local farms & imported organic fruits etc.They operate quite an extensive field scale where large areas are put down to green manures for fertility building for some years before rotating squash, leeks & brassicas. They have a super organised & productive polytunnel & intensive outdoor salad area where a lot of the more lucrative crops are raised.

It’s great to chat to other growers & have a look at what they’re up to. We are all developing our own ways of working & a site visit is the best training we can get….Thanks to SFG for supporting this. We hope to make more visits this winter.

Our Sustainable Schools Programme

IMG_6076We are really chuffed to introduce Jessie Kidd, the new member of Cae Tan’s team. She is a dynamic & enthused representative of Cae Tan. Jessie has a degree in Environmental Science, has worked as an education warden for Manchester Parks department and as a primary school teacher and is the chair of the Forest School SNPT charity. She is co-ordinating and delivering our exciting Sustainable Schools programme, to pupils from 5 schools across Swansea. This aims to raise awareness of sustainable farming, reconnecting children and young people to the land and their food.  Our current programme, funded by the Ernest Cook Trust, Gower Power and Greggs, enables Jessie to work with 5 schools in east Swansea delivering our “Seed to Plate” project. Through hands on activities and visits to our farm Jessie is teaching pupils how to grow their own pizza and hearty winter.  Our current project is fully booked but if you are interested in future projects or have any other queries please contact Jessie on jessie@new.caetancsa.org

Weekly Film Blog

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You may have spotted that I am doing a weekly film blog on Facebook. It’s really aimed at other growers getting started or thinking about getting started on small scale growing & running a CSA.

It’ll pretty much be a weekly thing for the coming year. They will all be a minute or 2 to keep it accessible & snappy.

Alongside practical elements of growing we will be working in crop planning, legal structures, yoga for bad backs & hopefully a few cooking videos.

Find the films on Cae Tan CSA facebook page or on youtube, search Cae Tan CSA.

The Launch of Cow Tan!

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Feast from the Field & Cowtan launch event 7pm, Sat 9th March

Cae Tân CSA is embarking on a new adventure and we want to know if you’d like to be part of it? We are setting up a cow club whose mission is to bring ecological harmony and fertility to the commons. We are looking for local people who would like to take part in rearing a small herd of cattle on Fairwood Common and that would like to learn more about cows’ role as eco-engineers and cultural dynamos.

After the feast you’ll have a chance to hear from local experts about ecology, animal husbandry, carbon sequestration, paleo diets and nutrition as well as hear a story or two.

Food will be prepared by fantastic local social enterprise Square Peg. For more information and to book your place go to:

https://cowtanlaunch.eventbrite.co.uk

If you can’t make the event but think you might want to get involved in the scheme please contact cowtan@new.caetancsa.org

 

Job Opportunity – Growing Sustainable Schools

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_2ceWe are seeking a motivated & dynamic person to run this exciting new programme. The Ernest Cook Trust, Gower Power Coop & Greggs, have funded us to work with five local schools in Swansea East.
Building on the base of our well-established pizza project, the post holder will explore & expand activities, to engage these schools throughout the growing season. Inspiring young people to get their hands dirty, grow & eat more of their own veggies & learn more about sustainable local food production. Hopefully germinate a few new farmers too!
The post is initially for one academic year. The post holder will be working two days per week within the academic term.

Period of post, from March 2019 to February 2020.

Rate of Pay £26,000 pro rata – 14hrs per week (term time only)

Person specification
1. Experience of working with school children
2. Inspired by sustainable local food production
3. Hands on experience of basic food growing
4. Willing to be part of the Cae Tan team & at the same time, drive this project forward with your own initiative
5. Experience of project management & reporting
6. Some experience of fundraising
7. Good computer skills
8. Full driving license

To apply for this position please
1. Send us your CV
2. In 500 words OR LESS, tell us about yourself using points 1 to 8 above as subtitles.
CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS – 8th February 2019

Please send these by email to tom@new.caetancsa.org
If you want to ask anything just give me a call 07791696848

We will invite those selected to come for an interview, but if you want to come & visit in the meantime that would be great.

Cae Tan community supported agriculture is based on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales. Please look at our website & watch the 9 minute film there as it explains our work in detail. www.caetan.gkdesignco.co.uk

Is CSA good value?

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Throughout the growing period of June 2017 to May 2018 Lizzy conducted price comparisons for our veg shares. We worked out the average prices from 21 boxes during this period. Our veg turns out to be very competitive with other organic options. Also this was done last year. We think the quantites and quality have been even better this season. Here are the results…

Cae Tan Major Supermarket Organic Major Supermarket Non Organic Organic box scheme (minus delivery fee) Soil Association Farm Shop
Large Box £12.50 £14.17 £8.77 £15.64 £15.17
Small Box £7.50 £7.67 £4.42 £7.45 £7.49

Theres a few interesting points;

  • Even in not such a good growing year CSA is really good economic value
  • Compared to non organic its more expensive, but there are many hidden social & environmental impacts with non organic
  • The small share is more expensive comparatively; due to the fact that it takes less than half the time to pick, pack & administer than the large share which has twice as much veg
  • With CSA there are a whole host of hidden benefits that are not accounted for in monetary comparisons……

When we don’t just consider the fact that this is good value for money, but its also good value for all sorts of other reasons..

  • The growers are properly paid
  • The food is freshly picked from biologically rich chemical free soil, meaning they’re much higher in nutritional content & taste
  • The environment around the fields, both within & alongside cropping is biologically diverse & healthy
  • Reduced imports of produce
  • Inspiring & training new growers & farmers that this is possible & fun
  • Creating social & volunteering opportunities for people of all ages & backgrounds
  • Re circulating money in the local economy
  • Taking control of our local food systems as a community

Surely CSA is the way forward as a key player in the matrix that will make our land & communities full of health & vitality.