Archive for the ‘Home Farming’ Category

The very first Women’s Institute was formed in 1897 in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada as a branch of the Farmer’s Institute it brought women from isolated communities together and offered training in home economics, child care and those aspects of farming that were traditionally done by women, such as poultry keeping and small farm animal husbandry.






This year the British WI (Women’s Institute) celebrates its Centenary, the first meeting in the UK was held in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey, Wales, on 16 September 1915.  Since then, the organisation has grown to become the largest women’s voluntary organisations in the UK with over 212,000 members in 6,600 WIs.

The WI was first established to educate rural women, and to encourage countrywomen to get involved in growing and preserving food to help to increase the supply of food to the war-torn nation.  Education and the sharing of skills have always been at the heart of the organisation, and this remains true today.

Whilst the meeting venues might have changed from the local village hall to local café, the ethos and reputation of the WI remains the same, and women join now to meet new friends, learn new skills and make a difference on matters that are important to them now as fellow members did in 1915.

The WI is hugely popular and is not just about Jam and Jerusalem, join the WI and you can get involved in: Making Crafts, Food and Cooking, Floral Art and Gardening, Arts, Sports, Science and Leisure Activities, Competitions and Campaigns.

The WI has a long history of campaigning on a wide range of issues, WI campaigns are about changing things for the better and tackling the issues that matter to members, some of their current campaigns are:

Now that the nights are really drawing in, instead of sitting in front of the TV why not become a member, learn new skills and find how to cook, preserve and store all the wonderful things that you have grown this year, have a look on their website to find a WI near you.


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Next week is National Allotment Week (10th – 16th August), it is organised by The National Allotment Society (NSALG) which is the leading national organisation upholding the interests and rights of the allotment community across the UK. They work with the government at national and local levels, other organisations and landlords to provide, promote and preserve allotments for all and offer support, guidance and advice to members and those with an interest in allotment gardening.

There are lots of events being organised on Allotments throughout the country including talks, cookery demonstrations, BBQs, children’s activities and raffles with tea, cakes and home grown produce for sale, click here to find out what is happening near you.

The National Allotment Week theme this year is designed to emphasize the benefits that allotments bring to everyone regardless of age or gender and to also highlight the fact that we all need to value our remaining plots and preserve them for future generations to enjoy, allotment sites are vulnerable to pressures from development and steps need to be taken to prevent further depletion of our allotments.

The demand is high for allotments often with long waiting lists, if you are interested in obtaining an allotment click here for more information.

Allotments are not just places to grow fruit and vegetables they are mini communities containing a wide range of people who have different lives, personalities, cultures and jobs but who all share the same passion for gardening.

As well as growing fruit and vegetables, there is so much more you can do on an allotment:

  • Relax and recuperate
  • Have a BBQ or Picnic
  • Watch and make homes/habitats for wildlife
  • Experiment with new crops
  • Teach children how to grow food
  • Keep chickens and livestock
  • Have Bee hives and produce your own honey
  • Share your gardening knowledge and learn new skills from your allotment neighbours
  • Hold seasonal fruit and vegetable shows
  • Have fun growing competitions
  • Arrange visits from schools and community groups to educate them about growing crops
  • Hold open days to encourage others

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I feel extremely privileged to have an allotment, sometimes they can be hard work and you do need to have a certain amount of free time to look after them but the rewards far outweigh the effort, there is nothing more satisfying than eating home grown produce that has been freshly picked, my allotment is my retreat where I can switch off, unwind and can be in harmony with nature – I love it!


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Waiting for food and water

Back home from our Easter break one of our first duties was to feed the school chickens, pupils can volunteer to be put on ‘The Chicken Rota’  to look after the chickens during the holidays and at weekends, we were down for four days during the Easter holidays.

Mini Swiss Chalet for Chickens

The school has four Warren chickens and they live on the school field in a very desirable chicken house with a large run. They were always very pleased to see us, I am sure they must miss the children during the holidays. We topped up their food and gave them clean water and straw for their nest boxes and were rewarded with four lovely fresh eggs each day, they were all different sizes and colours and some were still warm, I don’t know who enjoyed looking after the chickens the most my son or me!

Chicken Run

We then took a detour down to the river to see the Sand Martins they have just arrived back from the South Sahara and they make their nests (burrows) in the sandy bank on the opposite side of the river, there was also a Mallard Family with their two young ducklings these are the first ones I have seen this year.

'Pleased to see us'

Back home we had the best ever boiled eggs for dinner!

Keeping chickens in your garden is becoming very popular and I can now understand why. They are easy to look after, fascinating to watch, friendly, make brilliant ‘pets’ for children, take up very little room and will ‘recycle’ a lot of your kitchen scraps into delicious eggs.

Have you got room for chickens in your garden?


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