It’s been a really productive year – hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labour. Herewith, things to share with members from our recent, end-of-summer committee meeting:


A large number of pears and apples have been taken from the orchard, and also from a plot. Who knows who is responsible. Re. the orchard – just to remind you that although the fruit is for everyone (see below), it is cropped by those officially caring for the trees – please don’t just help yourself.


Quite possibly the thieves let themselves in. Let’s at least make sure that they can’t just walk in through the gate – do NOT leave the combination number exposed or the lock undone whilst you are on the site.


Whilst you are down on the plot, please be observant – contact the committee members immediately (contact details on the noticeboard) if you see strange goings-on. And please let the committee know if you suffer any vandalism/theft yourself, so we have a comprehensive picture.


Are of course much-loved family members and welcome on our site. However, they need to be kept safe from harm and mayhem. Please keep dogs on leads and kids on your plot, not roaming on others’.


Got any spare produce you want to leave for other plot holders? Please leave it under the notice board next to the gate, or on the table nearby. Our orchard team has been picking the apples and left them on the table behind the notice board – please help yourselves.


Thanks to everyone who helped Nicholsons tree surgeons in July. Your hard work, dragging branches and helping with the chipping, was much appreciated.The surgeons spent all day slogging away on the trees, but clearly there is more to be done. Our treasurer reckons there’s enough money in the coffers for another day’s work – Nicholsons gave the best quote last time, so we’ll get the boss in again and see what they can do over the winter months. Please let us know if you have particular concerns.


A friendly neighbourhood tree surgeon has offered to dump his chippings at our gate – please help yourselves – great mulch/weed suppressant.


An Oxford Allotment Association event on 25th november – poster up on the noticeboard.


Just to remind everyone that the waiting list is longer than ever – now 40 people, which means that the committee feels obliged to nag. If the bit of land that you have bagged is not being adequately cultivated, we have to let you know with the formal protocol, and eventually ask you to vacate.


David Morris has in recent years been doing stirling work on the orchard – keeping our fine collection of heritage trees in optimum condition. However, he and his assistant Jocelyn¬† need help…and are busy putting together a plan for more people to get involved. Something on the lines of adopt-a-tree…You will hear more over the winter, but in the mean time, please do get in touch if you are interested in helping maintain this important communal feature on our site.


Another reminder – please leave the strimmer and the mower in the state in which you would wish to find them. It takes a brief moment to check them over when you finish work.


The committee would like to include helpers in our newsletter emails so they are kept up to date with what is going on. If you have helpers registered with you on your plot, could you please send me their e-mail addresses?


Thanks to team who came together at such short notice to clear the polytunnel this weekend. And thanks to Gaby for heading it up. You did an amazingly efficient job – leaving the polytunnel pristine. And apparently it was fun too!

All best wishes from Julia and the Committee

Research Projects:

Cognitive Training Programme

Participants are being recruited (aged 50-80 in good health) for a study that assesses that effect of mild, painless transcranial current stimulation on cognitive abilities during a fun and engaging cognitive training programme. This study will take up to 5 hours over 3 days within a week. All participants will receive £50. For further information, please email brainfhsproject@gmail.com or phone 07546366555 (Lish).

 Traditional and underutilized crops:

I am an ethnobotanist currently researching the current and potential use of Traditional and Underutilized plants in the UK, and more specifically, in Oxfordshire. I am writing to see whether you would consider forwarding the project and survey described below to the Fairacres Allotment community.

What are Traditional or Underutilized crops?

Traditional or Underutilized plants are those species (vegetables, legumes, spices, fruits, cereals, etc.) which are either (1) historically cultivated (but less so today) and/or (2) minor crops of local importance. This can include a range of plants, including heirloom species, landraces, or even wild herbs. Further information about these plants can be found here.These crops contribute to local agrobiodiversity although the extent to which they are cultivated is not known.

The Project

I am currently contacting local farms and allotment holders to establish what Traditional and Underutilized species (if any) are cultivated locally. I am also trying to get a sense of whether there is interest in growing these crops should seeds be made available. In part, this is motivated by the informal interest shown by the local community in Traditional crops that I have encountered while giving lectures on conservation, biodiversity, and local flora in and around Oxford. If there is sufficient interest, I believe a partnership between Oxford University and local growers would be beneficial.

If you are interested, please fill out this brief survey. It should take around 5 minutes and the survey itself will be open for responses. In addition, please feel free to contact me with any additional questions or feedback. Your response is important in shaping the direction of this emerging pilot project.

With very best wishes,

Katherine French

Trinity College
Oxford University
Broad Street



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