I have set up a Community Gardening project. We grow veg in other people's gardens. We have 3 projects running: spring and autumn seedlings in our donated polytunnel at a local organic farm, continuing to work on our gardens and allotments, and our new very small scale commercial activity - which funds the project - planters for businesses and salad leaf production for local restaurants and people. (GDI hasn't operated like this all through 2020 due to the obvious).
We use the no-dig method of growing which makes for lighter work than digging on heavy Essex clay. We just lay organic matter on the top, initially as lasagne beds, but as they mature, simply more compost and rotted manure each time we put in a new crop. The aim of the project is to engage the local community to grow veg, network and build community around food production, keeping food local, seasonal, healthy and democratic. With some grant funding, our first year showed us breaking even. We are not chasing the dollar but we do need to make money to continue to sustain and expand all of our projects from our food growing to food prep and cookery classes, innovation with waste materials, crafting etc.
We are working with a permaculture model too and attempt to keep our systems self sustaining without buying too much in to make them work. We are thrifty and we recycle and reuse as much as we can.
I live in a small house with a spare room with a bunk bed arrangement in it and also, there is room in my insulated office outside occasionally. As I write it is end February 2020 and I have just hosted a very successful 2 week stay with a lovely couple. I would particularly welcome couples who are looking for a stay sometime in May 2020. However, I can also occasionally use helpers in short burst throughout the spring to sow and transplant seedlings so do try even if I have to decline your application. If so, I apologise in advance. It depends how much space I have in my spare room calendar to be able to host you.
I've been growing my own food for quite a few years now so the GDI project is me with a social engineering mission to get people more interested in where their food comes from and how to grow it within the locality. This household is mainly vegetarian so I would appreciate guests who were sympathetic and who wouldn't mind eating mainly vegetarian meals. Also I have two pet cats who are part of the household - Syrup and Luna. They are not allowed in the bedrooms however as some things, like sleep, are just sacred and not to be sacrificed for the sake of the cats!
I am a practising Buddhist of 35 years and also a transpersonal psychotherapist and I work from home. The gardening idea 'grew' out of the psychotherapy work as, growing my own vegetables and communing with the soil, slowly over time, I believe has made me feel more mellow, more compassionate and more connected. I realised the benefit for others to return to natural rhythms and to re-sync with nature. I'm also a blues dancer and teacher and occasionally am out somewhere around and about dancing. You are welcome to join me.
The town I live in is fairly small - about 8,000 people - and is situated 7 miles from Stansted Airport. It is a beautiful old rural Essex town within easy range by bus of many other beautiful towns and sites nearby. We are around 12 miles from Chelmsford and 14 miles from Harlow - 2 large shopping and commercial centres in Essex. From Colchester, the capital of Essex, we are about 25 miles and lastly we are about 40 miles from Cambridge and there are buses direct to Cambridge from Dunmow. We are also around 40 miles from London which you can reach by bus and train from Dunmow.
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Lots of things: we will be cooking / preparing meals directly from the gardens and will be eating mostly vegetarian. So if you would like to learn how to prepare foods seasonally this is a good opportunity. Also, I am a former languages teacher in the UK so very happy to help you improve your English if necessary. And if you have no former experience of growing your own food in a near as possible, recycle system - reusing and recycling all kinds of waste materials - this would be a great exercise in permaculture and sustainability. Our town is an old Essex Market town so it has a lot of history around and about which will be interesting to the right visitor.
I need able bodied people - men or women - who are handy with a garden fork and can help maintain the allotments and keep on top of our GDI garden. If you also have any kind of social or interpersonal skills in helping me find outlets for our veg growing projects that would also be fabulous. Merchandising and costing skills also are very useful as is accountancy. As for diggin, We are tending to follow a no dig method of gardening due to the heaviness of the soils here and the fact that gardens we take on, are usually just grass so laying beds on top solves the problem of diggin up grass!
My house is a small 2 bedroom end of terrace house in a cul de sac. It is extremely quiet here with no passing traffic. I have a small second room in the house with a bunk bed arrangement within suitable to host 2 workawayers on the bottom bunk which is a double and one workaway on the top. But happy to host a couple or even 3 friends who want a shared experience. You have access to wifi here but I do not own a TV. The town centre is a 5 minute walk away too. I can provide food for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the days you are working with us and if you are away sightseeing on free days, I am happy to provide a packed lunch. We find that at most, a 2 hour stint in the garden then a break and another 2 hour stint is enough work for one day. I would appreciate 4 to 5 days of this work each week.
Located in rural Dunmow we are almost equidistant between Bishops Stortford (West 10 miles), Chelmsford (South 13 miles), Saffron Walden (North 14 miles) and Braintree (East 11 miles). We are also only 7 miles from Stansted though we are not on a flight path so we do not get aircraft noise pollution which is a blessing. Buses to all places cost around £3-4 but you need timetables as buses are reasonably infrequent. We are walking distance from Dunmow - just 5 minutes.
Every 4 years, Great Dunmow hosts the famous Flitch Trials where contender couples go on trial, in front of a jury of 6 maidens and 6 bachelors, to prove that they have not wished themselves unwed for one year and one day. It is a spectacle creating much mirth and celebration and the winning couple is paraded through town by men in smocks with a flitch of bacon (half a pig!) paraded behind them. . dunmowflitchtrials .co.uk/history/
Nearby we have The Flitch Way which wends its way from Dunmow to Stansted in one direction and to Braintree in the other. This is the old railway line now converted to a really pleasant country walk leading alongside fields and creating a cool walk in summer through tree shaded paths. Half way along the Flitch you will arrive at Hatfield Forest, an ancient royal forest, which is looked after by the National Trust and is well worth a visit.
If you're on a push bike or in a camper van please feel free to park out the front for the duration of your stay with me. Bikes can be brought in round the side of the house and stored under the lean-to on the patio.
If you want to visit London there are connections. Bus to Stansted Airport and then from Stansted to Liverpool Street in the City of London which connects you to the London Tube. Buses from Dunmow to Stansted run super early Monday to Friday and vary slightly at the weekends. The bus journey is around 20 minutes. The train to London From Stansted is around 50 minutes though it's not the cheapest way to travel. National Express buses offer a more economic option but their journey times are slightly longer. Try also Terravision buses which have very low budget fares.
35 Miles North of Dunmow is the beautiful old University town of Cambridge. It's just 45 Minutes drive from here along the M11. Or there is an early direct bus from Dunmow to Cambridge.
Across Essex to Mersea is a popular fishing town with its tidal islets and renowned sea food restaurants. We have Vineyards, Castles, Market Towns and museums of former local trades too. There's a lot to discover about Essex and East Anglia.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4 hours a day, 4 to 5 days a week
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