Via Campesina UK

4 Jan 2013 | 0 comments

Happy New Year to one and all!


It is, as always, a slow start to the new year at Trill Farm Garden. With the ground being saturated and not an awful lot growing, there are just a few jobs to be getting on with at this time of year.


Firstly we are making sure we are well on top of the weeds in the polytunnels. It is important to feel in control of the weeds at this time of year. Firstly to remove slug habitats, but also because if we are not keeping the tunnels weed free now, it will become a problem in early spring when we have a longer list of jobs to get on with.


We are also sorting out all of the guttering on the polytunnels, and drainage alongside one of them. Throughout last year water was coming into our smaller tunnel through the side, so we will dig a trench and put a land drain running alongside the length of the tunnel. This should collect most of the water that is making its way into the tunnel so that we have more control of the soil moisture inside the tunnel. At some stages this year the soil was saturated for long periods and some of our crops really suffered, where we should have had more control of the moisture content of the soil.


So, we are preparing for the onslaught of work that will gradually start to trickle in from about the middle of February.


It is sometimes hard to feel motivated at this time of year, though after attending the Oxford Real Farming Conference earlier this month we were truly inspired and felt a new flush of enthusiasm. Much of the content of this years talks and discussions seemed to focus on some of the struggles we face as a nation, but also internationally, regarding food production and farming systems. It is exactly these issues that underpin the Food Sovereignty Movement and which will be the basis of many of the campaigns led by the new UK branch of La Via Campesina. Our belief in belief in the ideals that Via Campesina represents has led to our involvement in setting up the UK co-ordination of Via Campesina.


La Via Campesina was founded in 1993 to represent the rights of small-scale traditional food producers around the world. Today the organisation represents more than 200 million farmers, growers, pastoralists and fishermen and campaigns for their rights to be recognised by national and international policies.


Via Campesina UK is a coalition of producers meaning that membership is open to anyone who is actively involved in farming, fishing or fibre enterprises. The co-ordination will bring together like-minded producers to identify and organise targeted campaigns and lobby UK and European parliaments on issues affecting the livelihoods of small-scale producers.


Central to Via Campesina’s identity is the campaign for Food Sovereignty launched in 1996 and defined as - “The right of communities to define their own food and farming systems”.


On March 3rd 2013 the inaugural annual general meeting of the international farming organization La Via Campesina UK will be held at Ruskin Mill Farm, Gloucestershire, marking the launch of the organisation’s first UK-wide co-ordination. For anyone who is interested in attending the AGM please contact

January Recipes

4 Jan 2013 | 0 comments

Everything is still and quiet in the garden and there is not very much to harvest, but there are a few green leaves to add to stored fruit and vegetables like beetroot and apples. Here are a couple of refreshing juices  to protect you during the Winter months and get you off to a flying start in the morning.


Beetroot & Kale Juice


Handful of kale leaves

1 medium beetroot, scrubbed and peeled if you prefer

1 slice of lemon (including skin)

1 apple cut into pieces (do not peel or core)


Put all the ingredients through the juicer, pour into a glass and drink straight away


Serves 1




Apple & Celery Juice


2 apples cut into pieces (do not peel or core)

2 sticks of celery with leaves

2 cloves garlic peeled

1/2” piece of ginger


Put all the ingredients through the juicer, pour into a glass and drink straight away.


Serves 1

Recipes for December

4 Dec 2012 | 0 comments

Ash & Kate had a good crop of parsnips this year. These ivory coloured roots have a sweet nutty flavour and work really well in soups and stews.

Parsnip Curry

Serves 4

For the red curry paste

4 red hot chilli
4 garlic cloves 
2 lemon grass stalks, thinly sliced
5cm (2in) cube of ginger, grated
2 red onions, roughly chopped 340ml 
2 dessert-spoons coriander seeds,
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 kilo parsnips, washed, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 pint vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tamari 
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 dessert spoons honey
coriander leaves, chopped


First make the red curry paste simply by blending all ingredients in a food processor.


Mix the oil and red curry paste together in a large pan  cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly, then add the parsnips, still stirring constantly until they are well coated with the paste and starting to soften.


Pour over the stock and the soy sauce. Add the lime leaves and honey Simmer until the parsnip is just soft but retain a little bite.


Serve over rice with lots of chopped coriander leaves on top.

Cider braised root vegetables

Serves 4


2 carrots peeled & diced
2 parsnips peeled & diced
2 red onions peeled & diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 apple quartered cored & diced
4 oz dry cider
4 fl oz vegetable stock
Salt & black pepper


Gently cook the carrot, parsnip,  & red onions in olive oil with equal amount of water until the water has evaporated and the vegetables are just softening. Add the apple, toss well then add the cider & stock. Continue to cook until  the liquid is reduced by half and season well with salt & pepper.


To serve, either in bowls with warm wholemeal bread
or toss the vegetables through your favourite pasta

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