Opening the Garden Gates at Foxfield LAND Centre

As Covid restrictions ease and the warmer weather beckons, our network of LAND demonstration sites are beginning to reopen their gates to welcome you to have an immersive experience of practical permaculture. If you run a project, hosting an open day is a great way to engage your local community, to raise much needed funds and to attract new volunteers. Sign up to the free projects membership offer to attend our Masterclass on How to Run a Successful Event on August 10. 

 

Foxfield By Alison Ensor

 

"Foxfield LAND Centre is our family property just north of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, which we bought in 2004. It had a 1 acre grass paddock attached and was in need of some renovation, making it perfect as a basis for a diploma in Applied Permaculture Design which I finally completed in 2013.
In 2014, we accredited as a LAND centre, demonstrating many of the energy, food growing, community, and family projects I had implemented as part of the diploma. My vision is to be a place where people can see how permaculture can enrich your life, and that living more sustainably is fun, creative and emotionally rewarding too.
 
The projects at Foxfield range from coppicing some of our own fuel, harvesting all our rainwater, to implementing a self-watering polytunnel. We’ve also built a greenhouse from our old double glazing, designed and self-built a strawbale roundhouse (used for workshops and meditation), made a wattle & daub compost toilet and built a cob apple store. We’ve literally learnt on the job building them all!
Creating wildlife ponds and habitat, making a solar shower and hot tub, developing a forest garden foraging space for poultry and a no-dig vegetable growing system means we’ve become a really productive, fun and wildlife enriched space. But the designer hasn’t quite become the decliner yet - I’m still designing, with a carp aquaculture and cob mushroom house currently underway. If you keep digging ponds, you need to use the clay that comes out!
 
I enjoy the balance between being a family home, growing space, open to visitors and offering a few workshops through the year, which can extend to autumn and winter with the cosy roundhouse retreat.  I love watching people being inspired to have a go at transforming the way they live, giving them the confidence to be imaginative and creative with waste and natural resources. I’ve also developed into offering meditation and mindfulness in nature sessions – all lovely zone 0.0 self-care, placing our health within the overall health of the eco-system.
 
The main benefit of being a LAND Centre is that sharing my enthusiasm acts as a positive feedback loop – it inspires others which in turn inspires me to keep offering more. I have a wealth of experience in food growing and self-building to offer, but to me, inspiring creative confidence and a deepening connection to nature is far more important than sharing practical know-how.
 
Although I give private tours to visitors from April to October, the annual Open Day. This year Saturday 28th May, is always a feature event and I get to meet so many people, locals as well as permies. It really focuses why you are a LAND centre. Family and friends pitch in and the whole day goes in whirl of permaculture speak. Although a free event, I do accept donations and sell spare veg plants for the Permaculture Association.  Since Covid I’ve found best to take bookings for 11am, 1pm and 3pm tours, to spread the numbers, each tour taking about 1 ½ hours.  Compost toilets are available, parking is on the drive or road. We are now on google maps so easy to find – Foxfield LAND Centre, Gretton Fields, GL54 5HH"
 
Book your place on the Foxfield Tour on Saturday 28th May:
By phone- 01242 621152
Through our Facebook Page
 
Would you like to host an open day at your project? We are looking for permaculture inspired projects across the UK to host events to celebrate the European Week of Sustainable Communities between the 17th- 24th September. The intention of the event is to celebrate the great work that you are already doing and to invite your community to come and get involved. This will be a big event and we hope to generate lots of publicity for it, so it will be great an opportunity promote what you do. 
 
Ideas for the kind of events that we would love to see include a project tour or open day, a community meal using home grown produce, an introduction to permaculture day, a skill share event, a bike repair or repair cafe day, a practical or creative workshop. We will provide you with lots of support in terms of organising, mapping and promoting your event. Some bursaries will be available for member projects. Please contact Kath if you are interested in hosting an event at your project or you would like your project to feature in our next blog.