Ruscombe Brook Action Group have met a couple of times and I don't seem to get a chance to write it up here. We've had a fascinating speaker about the history of the brook - Lionel Waldon - and last week we had Julian Jones talk about microbial soil conditioning in Australia where he had just been on a sponsored tour to share information about ways of working with water.
Photos: Lionel talking to the group re the history of the brook
Well both talks were great - I am still hoping Lionel's will be written up a as a local history is being compiled at the moment. Julian's talk was also wonderfully fascinating - from the Italian Maremma sheepdogs that looked after flocks of 2002 chickens to the hopes of one group of scientists that 2% of Aussie farmland could sequestrate 100% of that country's CO2 emissions.
They have a long way to go but certainly the results of using microbial soil conditioning have been remarkable - 10% of Queensland now use it as it leads to a massive increase in soil humus water retention and up to 30% extra crop yields over chemical farming plus pesticide and herbicide use is massively cut. I've just started reading more about this and there seems to be much to offer hope - but also as always caution with so many claims - I hope to return to this in future blogs - it certainly fits with what biodynamic farmers, no-dig gardeners and permaculturalists are saying re the microorganisms within the soil.
This is all interesting stuff that links with the use of Kitchen Composters that allow you to turn all food waste - including cooked foods - into fantastic nutrient-rich material. There are various versions - one of the best known is the Bokashi system - there is even a Youtube video here as to how to make the bran stuff - I have for some while been seeking info as to whether this could work in more homes - we don't currently offer these at a reduced price to residents - this would cut down collection of food waste - of course at the moment we aren't collecting it locally but to me it seems a much better solution than all that transport. Are there any trials or pilots elsewhere?
Certainly in the past reduced compost bins have been issued and water butts so why not this longer term solution?
Other stuff re brook
Of course we had lots more on the Ruscombe Brook meeting agenda including our next work day on Sat 15th August to clear out the sofa etc - plus the plans for a new student to work on plans for the Ruscombe valley and the latest on Puckshole works - still delayed but will go ahead and news re our website which is still awaiting a revamp (currently offline).