design 2

Design rationale

This design, born out of the incremental, collaborative design process for the field and need to have a management plan for the coming year, is an action plan based on the permaculture principles.

Permaculture principles at work in the design

  • Working with nature: the design reflects the current situation of the site and the people involved and takes the implementation from that point and develops the project to realise the vision currently held.
  • The problem is the solution: no concrete project proposals means we have time to observe, build community and design.
  • Make the least change for the greatest possible effect/minimum input for maximum output: no pressure to design and implement a plan for the field, rather continue to manage the field as a hay meadow, which is low-maintenance with a potential small income and to carry out a consensus design process aiming to inspire engagement with and commitment to a future project.
  • Small and slow solutions: a year of hay meadow management seems doable for the people currently interested in working the field, allows time for people to connect with the land and gain experience in managing a fifteen-acre field.
  • Catch and store energy: catching current enthusiasm for projects on Ashurst Field by an inclusive consensus process, and also encouraging long-term sustainability projects for the community, such as a wetland system, composting and coppicing. Utilising the manure if left on site. Utilising timber from hedge maintainance.
  • Obtain a yield: the hay meadow would obtain a yield of hay, the community design process aims to obtain the yield of community building, education and engagement with the land.
  • Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: spending time observing, small and slow solutions, letting the nature of the field speak in terms of its capacity, working with the boundaries on the horizontal and vertical planes to extend them, but not overstretch and deplete the resource, rather to regenerate and reinvigorate.
  • Use and value renewable resources/produce no waste: will be developed more when the nature of projects and activities are more concrete.
  • Design from pattern to details: appropriate for a collaborative design process and the beginning stages of the estblishment of a community project.
  • Integrate rather than segregate: integrating current impulses in the community for biodynamics, consensus design, celebration of the Celtic festivals and work days, to build connection between the community with this field and the land.
  • Use and value diversity and edge: an important feature of the design is making connections between people and place, and between people. Maximising diversity in smaller projects will help the community farm be more resilient.
  • Creatively use and respond to change: specifically designed to be flexible and adaptive to what comes out of a collaborative process.

Ashurst Field Action Plan 2014-15

Management plan

Ashurst Field will be managed as a hay meadow by a steering group of trustees and community members, their terms of reference to be established as well as a group process using the tools of working together effectively.

  • Regular themed surveying days.
  • Collaboration to be explored with nearby Plawhatch Farm in sustainable meadow management, including rotational grazing.
  • Maintaining biodynamic status by spraying preparations.
  • Spreading compost heaps on the whole field.
  • Maintenance work on the hedge towards the road.

There are three options to be explored for haymaking the following summer:

  1. early spring grazing with heifers, sheep, horses again, followed by one cut in July.
  2. two cuts, first in late May/early June, second in September.
  3. no cut to allow regeneration.

Funding options to be explored.

Community design process

A design process will be carried out to be completed at the latest in September 2015. This process will consist of a community process of observation, connecting with the land and with people and organisations working with land in the local area, facilitating community groups in developing projects, designing the site and setting out an implementation and maintenance plan.

The design process is based on design processes used in permaculture and consensus design, which like biodynamics finds resonance in Hoathly Hill Trust and Community. In order to be as integrative as possible the design process will be diverse with many elements supporting the process of engagement with the land. Community members and people from the local community as well as permaculture and biodynamic networks. These elements are:

  • work days
  • seasonal events
  • consensus design events
  • tours
  • educational events.

Volunteer work days

  • spraying biodynamic preparations – September 2014

Place study event for Hoathly Hill Community - October 2014

  • (process as outlined by Christopher Day in Consensus Design, Socially Inclusive Process)
  • a morning connecting with the land and sharing our observations: first impressions, physical descriptions, journey flow, biography of the place, moods of the place, spirit of place
  • with shared lunch

Volunteer work day

  • spreading compost (if available)
  • two weeks later preparation 500 – October 2014

Samhain event – Saturday 1st November

Place study event for wider community and interested people

  • November 2014 – process as above

Winter solstice event – Sunday 21st December

Consensus design event for working group – December / January 2014

  • (process as outlined by Christopher Day in Consensus Design, Socially Inclusive Process)
  • two days of collaborative design work: reviewing place studies, spirit of the project, activities of the project, mood of the activities, journey flow, physical design, growth sequence, next steps