Michelle and Scott have been working hard redesigning and reorganising our vegetable gardens. They began by taking apart a few of the old raised beds, saving the soil and giving all the weeds to the chickens. Afterwards they laid membrane down to help supress weeds and stop them growing up into the beds. This works as most weed seeds need light to germinate, this is why they grow on disturbed soil.
They then rebuilt the sides of the raised beds, using new wood and refilled them with the soil, plus some extra well rotted manure. This provides nutrients for the growing plants. Soon – as the soil warms up and spring gets underway, they will sow some vegetables.
Well done Michelle and Scott – we will look forward to lots of delicious vegetables.
Scott and Richard getting the wood for the raised beds
Liam has been volunteering with us since January. He was on the Animal Management and Conservation course at SGS College in Filton and came to us for his work experience. He chose the farm because it was local to him and we had different animals from the usual house pets.
Liam loves volunteering here and working with the different animals – he says he is never bored! He has lots of fun and especially loves it when the piglets are born. He has enjoyed seeing the changes over the last 11 months including the building of the cafe. Liam also helps out with Farm Tots, our regular hands on session for under 5s and their carers. He brings out a hen every week so that the children can see one up close and stroke it.
The only aspect of volunteering here that Liam doesn’t like is working in the rain!
Recent Liam got a job at Macdonald’s. He feels that volunteering at the farm really helped with this, as his confidence with people and the public in general has really improved. His other employability skils have also improved such as being able to turn up regularly and reliably on time.
Liam took a picture his favourite animals – the naughty goats.
Amy has been volunteering at the farm for a year now. She came here to do her work experience with us as she is studying Animal Care at SGS Filton College. She is now doing a Level II Diploma in Animal Care.
Amy chose the farm as she thought it looked good, and was local to her. She loves coming to the farm every week and being with the goats and the piglets. She had never worked with animals before, so she has learnt everything from scratch. However, she can now do the whole morning and afternoon routine on her own!
Amy feels that volunteering at the farm has really increased her self confidence and self esteem. This has been due to the friendly nature of the farm and everyone who works here, and also being supported while taking on responsibilities.
Amy loves the guinea pigs, and has taken a great photo of them.
We recently had two volunteers from the European Voluntary Programme come to the Farm. They shared their experience with us.
Our experience in Lawrence Weston Community Farm
It has been a wonderful month. From the first till the last day, it was a great experience that we will never forget. Those four weeks we had the opportunity to connect with nature and work in a beautiful outdoor environment with a pretty relaxing atmosphere. We got to meet and work with great and friendly people that were always there for us, helping us to improve our English skills and we are grateful for that. We came closer to animals and feel comfortable with them. We got the chance to learn loads of new things about animal care as well as gardening and plants which made us more environmentally aware. We most certainly recommend this experience to everyone.
Galatea and Elena from Italy and Greece.
Michelle has been coming to the farm for over a year. She does amazing work with Scott. She loves to do a variety of jobs during her morning with us, but says she also looks forward to her tea break! Michelle does a great deal of gardening including weeding, sowing seeds, potting on and watering the plants. She is very good at knowing which plants need watering and which plants are weeds. Her favourite jobs are collecting the eggs and feeding weeds to the chickens and pigs.
Ben has been volunteering with us since last autumn. He started coming to Green Woodworking on a Monday, and subsequently became interested in volunteering for the Farm. Ben works in the woodland, and also with the animals. He has worked in the orchard strimming the grass.
He is also doing the John Muir Award. The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration. As part of the award Ben is identifying flowering plants in Water Vole Woodland. He feels that it is important to learn to identify plants as we can then ‘understand the world we live in better.’ He also thinks that ‘in this commercial world it is good to know where things come from’ for example wood and the plants that medicines are derived from. Ben is going going to share his growing knowledge with other people through posts on Facebook, a chart in the volunteer cabin and maybe some leafeltes or an information board.
Ben likes working on the Farm and feels more confident than he used to as he can help with things. He thinks that it is good to deal with food production and animals as these things are ‘the basics of life.’
Ben also feels like he is helping with his local community and has met lots of new people in a friendly atmosphere. He really enjoys volunteering.
Will has been volunteering with us since he was at school. He started at the weekends because he wanted to look after animals. Since then he enrolled on a Level 3 Subsidary Diploma in Animal Management and Conservation. He now does one day a week work experience with us. He thinks that his previous voluntary work at the farm gave him a head start on his course.
Will loves looking after the animals especially feeding, handling the animals and locking up at the end of the day. He is quick to point out however, that all the jobs are important.
Will feels that volunteering has been really helpful with his course as he has been learning why jobs and tasks are carried out in a certain way and about the importance of animal welfare. He has enjoyed having some responsibility and likes animals even more. He has even changed some of his eating habits.
This spring he has been learning some gardening as well – this is a new aspect to his volunteering and he finds it quite satisfying.
Will likes being on the farm as he prefers to be outdoors – except when the weather is horrible!
Here are a few pictures that Will has taken of his favourite bits of the farm.