It was a nice atmosphere at the Towpath Harvest this year.
The original idea behind the Towpath Harvest 4 years ago, was the result of a casual conversation with Norma Maple. It was just to get together to share and exchange our home grown produce. Norma had her veg and fruit produce, Lucy my daughter likewise, from her Towpath allotment, and me with my Towpath honey, candles, propolis balm, honey soap etc.. It started small and has grown from there. Norma baked some lovely bread this year and her daughter Mary made cider vinegar. Lucy made some popular savoury courgette fritters. Kayleigh had a decorate your fairy cake stall. Fresh pressed apple juice from Towpath apples was a popular addition to tea and coffee.( I sold too much honey and don't have enough for us now, but not many takers for the apple jelly, so everyone who knows me knows what they're getting for Christmas).
There was an additional aim, which was to generate a bit of community spirit down the Towpath, where people have moved to realise a dream of living by the river, and they tend to be a bit reclusive. This year more people came out of hiding, including from the roads off the Towpath, and people from further afield.
It's grown and evolved since then in an interesting way to include raising funds for charities, and got some entrepreneurial skills going with 7 year old Dulcie and her necklaces, and Lulu with bird food with her own label design.
Left, Lucy with cakes etc, right: Dulcie's stall,
This article in the Surrey Herald describes some of the stalls, but didn't mention other charities like St Nicholas Church Fairtrade stall which did well. The advantage of charities, and of exchanging and bartering, is that it keeps things on a casual friendly basis, and we can do it on public land without having to abide by regulations, as with farmer's markets.
Sandra and Eric live on the Caresana and sell their jams next to their boat, for the Dunlirk Little Ships restoration fund. Lemon marmalade is delicious by the way,,,
|Sandra and Eric, Dunkirk Little Ships|
It was also an opportunity for publicising, like The Special Branch http://thespecialbranch.org/
who manage the Willow Plantation up the Towpath, and do willowcraft workshops there, and Clive the local tree surgeon <firstname.lastname@example.org> who keeps logs and mulch in my field, and heroically rescued my trailer from the travellers who camped there last July.
|Chris of The Special Branch with willow crafts|
For me, the sociable friendly atmosphere was the best bit. After my experience with the travellers, where lying, stealing and antisocial activity were the norm, this was a great antidote.
Shepperton Matters Issue 14, Page 4, November 2012 - Review of the Towpath Harvest, Sept 2012.
Click on ‘Read issue 14 online’