Blog Post from a Culti-visitor on Cultivate

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By Nina Brown

Fed and warmed with delicious leek and potato soup made by a generous Cultivate member, we all made our way down to the land to pose for an Oxford Mail photographer. This got the digging off to a flying start as we all stood with raised spades like an army ready for battle.

Having worked on my own small veg plot, I found it awe-inspiring how much work we can get done when we work together. We divided and conquered, with one group heading off to plant spuds, another to dig a trench along one side of the field for rabbit-proofing, and another to work out exactly where the polytunnel was going to be set. Feeling like we had ‘destructive energy’ to release, a group of us set about digging the trench. It really felt like we were on fast forward mode! Maybe it was the soup or the sunshine but we just dug and dug until we had revealed a trench of about 30m long. It took me about 4 weekends to complete my own few meters of trench on my veg plot so I think communal digging whilst exchanging stories about failed Australian rabbit-proofing and other curious topics has to be the way forward. Everyone just got stuck in and there was such a positive, can-do feeling in the field.
When people got a bit worn out by digging (surely one of the best forms of exercise) some set about clipping back the hedge and others clearing the hedge clippings to a site slightly down the hill and out of the way. All sorts of methods were tested to avoid getting trapped in the huge piles of thorny branches. At the end of the day though we all like showing off our battle scars from rose thorns! We were forcefully stopped for a rest and tea after a few hours work- restorative tea and juicy home made cakes had never been welcome!
It really was a brilliant way to spend a Saturday, particularly in the sunshine, and the great and satisfying thing is that the more people come down to the farm, the more progress everyone makes. It’s team building with no competitive edge (except of course if you decide to take on your neighbour at trench digging or potato planting?!) and something that everyone can and should get involved in.

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