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Glasgow Allotments Forum Newsletter
Issue 14: November 2021

 The GAF newsletter wants to keep everyone in touch with the wide range of wonderful allotment activities in Glasgow.  If you have contacts who might like to know what is going on please feel free to forward this email to them. If they are interested then they can use the button at the bottom of the letter to enroll themselves onto the mailing list.

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Glasgow Allotments Forum AGM December 2nd 2021
7.0 – 8.30 pm

This year we intend to hold our Annual General Meeting on line . Last year we simply published our annual reports but we didn’t hold a meeting. This year the committee have decided to go ahead online using Zoom, as conditions still don’t seem to warrant meeting together physically.  To take part in this meeting you will need to visit the GAF website and register so that you can be sent the contact details

Background.
GAF was started in 2001 to give a voice to allotment gardeners in Glasgow. It is run by plot-holders as an independent organisation, funded by Potato Day and donations from allotment associations and individual plot-holders. It provides the opportunity for plot-holders to meet, share information and discuss issues related to allotments.
The Forum agreed its first Constitution in 2004 which was updated in its current form in 2013.

The Committee
Our committee meets once a month on Zoom on Thursdays from 7.30 - 9.0 pm. We would welcome new members so do get in touch if you think you would like to join us.

Every year we put on a calendar of talks and discussions all of which have been on line since the start of the pandemic. Next year we would also like to get back to organising meetings in person and more visits and interaction between sites. If you have any suggestions for what we could be doing – particularly in relation to climate change and how allotmenteers could contribute to promoting improvements in Glasgow please come along to the AGM or send us your ideas if you can’t make the meeting.

AGM Agenda
The AGM is open to everyone who is a plotholder in Glasgow. It receives reports on GAF’s activities and finance and elects officers and members of the committee. This year we will also hear from the 3 associations that won our Allotment Development Awards.

If you want to join the committee or have any resolutions or proposals for actions for the AGM, please get in touch with us at  gafforum@gmail.com  or through our Facebook page (Glasgow Allotments Forum Public Group).
 

Potato Day 2022
The start of a new growing season wouldn't be the same without 'Potato Day' - it's been such a fun  calendar event in past  years.  Unfortunately, COVID strikes again this year and so, with high levels of infection and worries about the NHS being able to cope this winter, we have decided that it is best to repeat the arrangements we made for 2021. The online arrangements worked very well and we were able to distribute a record number of seed potatoes last season so we are hopeful of achieving the same success this time round!

Using both our online shop and the bulk buying system we developed last year we can give Glasgow growers the opportunity to buy seed potatoes and a limited selection of garlic, onions and seeds.  Fortunately, there are not the same concerns about the quality and availability of seed potatoes this year as there were in 2020.

The bulk buying system worked well for most Allotment Associations. If your committee didn’t make use of this facility last year we’d encourage them to try it out this year. The list of available varieties will be published soon so you can send it round to all your members.

Potato Day 2022 will need help from Allotment Associations to collate and distribute plot-holders’ orders because we have to minimise the number of volunteers working with the stock. There will be some opportunity  to place individual orders as well, for those can’t pick up their order from an Association. We intend that these orders will be picked up from a central location in pre-arranged time slots.  Details are still in the course of arrangements, but they will be published on the web site as soon as they are firmed up, so do keep checking.
After COP26 what next?
COP- lots of words, good intentions and hope but what next?  What actions can those of us who have allotments and want to do something about climate change, biodiversity loss and the materialistic culture do?

Here are three suggestions:

1.  Support the Glasgow Community Food Network.  They are proposing to run a series of 'Food and Climate Cafes' across the city every 3 months starting with this November. They are open to everyone and the idea is for local people to gather  together to discuss the way we want our local food system to develop. There are three 'cafes'  scheduled for November that are still available. Click on the link to find out more and register:
Heart of Scotstoun from 10.45 on November 30
St. Paul's Youth Forum fr2. om 11.00 on November 30
Garnet Hill Multicultural Centre from 18.00 on November

2.  The Community Growers Forum Scotland have launched a new website called Get Growing Scotland .  Their News section is full of interesting ideas for gardening in peat free climate preserving ways.  Do have a look at it, and at the least try making and using your own leaf mould,

3.  The Local Food Strategy Consultation was mentioned in the last newsletter and GAF have submitted a response you can see on our website. The period for responses has been extended to December 2nd so please get your own response in if you haven’t done so  already - you’ll see that we’re pushing for action on the provision of local land for growing. The Good Food Nation Bill was introduced by the Scottish Government in October. Now the RAINE committee of the Scottish Parliament is asking for responses to the proposed Bill. If anyone is interested in joining us to draft a response on behalf of GAF please get in touch  by emailing GAFForum@gmailcom,
What to do with a bunch of kale?

Kale has become more popular in recent years - it is one of the ‘superfoods’. For allotment gardeners in Scotland, it is a useful crop over the winter months. Now well into November, the kale we planted out in early summer after the late frost, is still going well.

This year we grew only the green curly kale. There is a red variety of curly kale as well as other varieties. In the past, we have grown successfully on the allotment both cavolo nero  and Russian kale. The curly kale has tight green or reddish leaves, the cavolo nero has narrow, dark green almost black, crinkly leaves and the Russian kale has a wide flat leaf with a frilly edge. We have had success with all these varieties and each can be used in a variety of dishes.

We sow kale in the spring in trays or in pots to sit on the windowsill or greenhouse until there is a healthy plant with about five leaves. Patience here, we find the kale takes some time to grow. Plant out about 18 inches (45cm) apart. Use netting to protect the plants from the birds.

I have had different advice about harvesting the green curly kale - is it better to harvest from the lower leaves and work up the stem or to take the young and more tender leaves from the top? We have tended to pick the younger leaves from the top and have found that this encourages new growth including side shoots.

We experimented over last winter and spring, leaving one plant to go to seed so we could collect these for sowing this year.  We found that as the plant, flowered and then went to seed, new side shoots with young tender leaves also grew. The plant had to be staked up but it did provide regularly, a handful of tender leaves over the spring.

As one of the ‘superfoods’, kale is popular with chefs in a variety of dishes. I have found curly kale is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Tender curly kale finely chopped can be a used as the basis of pesto; As the leaves get stronger, lightly steamed chopped leaves can be added to the pesto mix. Chopped curly kale leaves covered in olive oil make good kale crisps: coat the chopped kale in olive oil, spread out thinly on a baking tray, in the oven at 180 degrees for 5 mins or so, Use straight away while the leaves are still crisp, by crumbling on a salad or pasta or eat like a bag of crisps.

Whatever variety you decide to grow, chopped kale can be added in a variety of stews with pulses, rice or pasta. Pull the leaves from the tough stems and then chop the leaves to add to the pot. The stems can always be chopped up and added to a veg soup. You can also cook kale as a side dish with salt and garlic  by steaming or in olive oil on a high heat. If steaming the leaves, to finish off, put the leaves for a couple of minutes in a pan with a touch of olive oil. Baked pasta, blue cheese and kale is an alternative - definitely to be recommended.  

 

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GAF Newsletter · Garnethill Multicultural Centre · 21 Rose Street · Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 6RE · United Kingdom

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