Thursday, 11 August 2011

Biodynamic seeds from one incredible community

Libraries latest - Stop press
Mr. Justice Ouseley will not give judgment until the new legal term in October. There was an outside chance that he might have been able to say by Friday 12th August whether the application had been succesful. This is the better course anyway as we don't want a rushed decision. Ann John, Brent Council's labour leader is quoted (from her parallel universe) in the Kilburn Times as saying that
"the delay to the decision means uncertainty for members of staff. It is painful for them. This is a landmark case and the judge has to get it right. We will just have to be patient"
Of course it's Brent's own behaviour which has caused distress to library staff! Read the response of Graham Durham of the Save Cricklewood Library Campaign.

Back to the Biodynamic seeds
It was a chance remark by friends in Shropshire which inspired me to go to Botton village in the North Yorkshire Moors recently (although I grew up in York I'd never heard of it before). It is the most incredible community and the reason for writing about it on this local blog is that it produces an enormous range of biodynamic seeds under the name Stormy Hall Seeds.

At Botton village fields of orange, yellow and purple stripes turn out on closer inspection to be the longest rows of marigolds, yarrow and lavender  I've ever seen- and beyond the fields the stunning backdrop of the North Yorkshire moors. I know, I know, it was July - it would be a different story in the winter.

There's also a beautiful enclosed garden buzzing with bees and an incredible variety of flowers

But the most incredible thing about Botton Village is that it is run by the Camphill Village Trust as a home and workplace for around 270 people, about half of whom have learning disabilities and other special needs.  Everyone contributes what they can to the community, whether it's picking blackcurrants (when I visited), working in the greenhouse, making jam, working in the on-site bakery or toy workshop or wood working shop or weaving workshop.  There's also an organic dairy herd (and a creamery where milk, yoghourt and cheese are made), hens (free range of course) and a print shop, and a Steiner school, two shops and a cafe - which are also used by people not living in the community.

The Camphill Village Trust first bought Botton Hall (in Danby Dale in the North Yorkshire moors), and its immediate farms and land in 1955, and since then more buildings have been added - including a community hall and a church - so that there are now almost 40 households.  The residents with disabilities are supported in their daily lives by co-workers in accordance with Rudolph Steiner's beliefs.  The whole place has a great atmosphere and everyone I met was keen to tell me what they were doing.

It's also a great example of a reverse of the rural depopulation trend - unprofitable farms have provided the housing for a large number of people who are all occupied in the community.  Sorry, I've gone all Geography case study here, but it's true.

If you're anywhere near Pickering or Whitby in the North Yorkshire Moors go and see for yourself, and wherever you live have a look at their range of seeds.

These photos are from Botton village's own leaflets - aren't they great?

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