Since receiving the chicks that hatched out at Boo’s school, I have got the chicken bug again but, rather than hatch out any old chickens, I did a bit of research.
I googled British heritage breeds and the Marsh Daisy caught my eye.
Originating from an area not far from us, I decided that this was the breed I would like to keep so I joined a Facebook group dedicated to the breed and asked if there were any breeders nearby.
Graham Clarkson sent me a message saying he breeds Marsh Daisy’s and that he was involved with a community farm and would I like to go and have a look around.
So, I dropped Boo off at school and off Baby G and I trekked. I say trekked, it was only half an hour away but trekked sounds much more exciting.
I will write more about Marsh Daises another time.
Burscough Community Farm was founded three years ago when Neil Hickson and his wife inherited around 18 acres of land in Burscough near Southport in Lancashire.
Neil gave up his job last year and, with a keen interest in food for nutrition and organic practices, Burscough Community Farm was born.
Their first crop of lettuce and broad beans was planted in February 2014 and from producing 40 veg boxes a week on 2015, this year, the co-operative is hoping for nearer 150 veg boxes a week.
The co-operative use no pesticides or herbicides. They are organic but not officially yet as to become certifiably organic costs quite a bit of money.
As well as plants and vegetables, the group also keep bees which is perfect for pollination and of course, honey. The group are keen to provide wildlife habitats on site – they have breeding tree sparrows, yellowhammers, reed buntings, grey partridges and our fields are used by barn owls, lapwings, brown hares and we have water voles in their ditches.
They are not a charity. The group is registered as a Community Interest Company meaning they cannot make any profit and whatever profit they do make, ploughs (pardon the pun) straight back into the cause.
With directors like Graham who takes his family with him to help and is the self-confessed poultry expert of the group, you can see the enthusiasm in droves.
Anyone can sign up to volunteer and those interested would pay £30 per household and then you can go down and get your hands dirty or just pay your £6-12 a week for a box brimming with fresh, local, organic produce.
The road to Burscough Community Farm has not all been plain sailing. The floods of Boxing Day 2015 affected them greatly with many dead hens and ruined crops but they have picked themselves up and moved on which says so much for the determination and resilience of these people who are still not taking a wage from the project.
Their ultimate aim is to give people the opportunity to get out into the country and run their hands through to wonderful black and peaty West Lancashire soil that grows their food. We also want to show them how organic growing techniques can preserve and nurture that soil for future generations.
As well as teaching children where their food comes from.
The Organic Veg Club is planned to be run on the principles of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). There are many forms of CSA across the world but the basic principle of a CSA is that the customer contributes to the ‘costs’ of growing the food and, in turn, takes a share of the harvest. Costs will consist of money for seed and materials, but they will also include labour for both planting and harvesting. (Normally a farmer takes on all these costs himself and the associated risk in the hope that he will make a profit when he eventually harvests the crop) However, for a CSA the ‘share’ of the crop can be paid for in money and/or labour depending how the scheme has been designed. The range of foods grown, the size of the share and it’s cost depends on how many people want to subscribe and how much they want to be involved.
From contacting someone on Facebook about hatching eggs, I couldn’t have predicted how exciting our latest adventure was going to be.