Annual General Meeting 2022

This was held on Sunday 20th February 5pm to 7pm via Zoom. The AGM was quorate, with around 30 attendees.

AGM: chair and treasurers report, and election of committee

Chair's report (PDF format)

Treasurer's report (PDF format)


Will Alliston stood down, as he is moving away from Reading, and RFGN thanks him for his support over the last few years. The other committee members - Mark Binns, Karen Blakeman, Michael Bright (chair), Lindsey Brown (treasurer), Liz Kerry and Beth Scott (secretary) were all happy to stand again, and were elected without objection.

Becoming with WheatBecoming with Wheat

RFGN member Amanda Couch asked to update us on her Becoming with Wheat (and Other More-Than-Human Others) project which she talked about at our AGM in Feb 2020 just before Covid. This is part of The Commons: Re-enchanting the World project at MERL (The Museum of English Rural Life) in Reading. She has been growing wheat in some lozenge-shaped raised beds with a group of volunteer growers, The Becoming with Wheat Companions.

They had monthly meet ups where they would do sowing, planning and share ideas and thoughts about how to develop the project, processing the wheat, and learning from plants. They’ve also cultivated beans and squash in an attempt to mirror the three-sister companion planting and later, after the harvest in September 2021, they planted some winter greens. Now The Commons project is due to end at the beginning of April, they might be able to keep the beds at The MERL, but are also wondering if it might be more interesting to situate them in a new home, to involve new people and contexts as an active collaborative learning space.

Amanda is still interested in growing wheat and/or other grains but would like to involve intercropping and/or companion planting (but would like to be led by the collaborative process), and to use the beds also as a space to activate and initiate discussion about our relationship to food, growing and ecology, activism, and/or whatever else people would be interested in. So if anyone is interested, please get in touch with Amanda

Grow Beer Reading

Also part of The Commons project, Amanda helped to initiate a Grow Beer Reading project, a community “patchwork farm” across Reading with local people growing hops in their back gardens, on their patios and balconies, in allotments and community gardens, with the goal of growing, harvesting, and with the collaboration of a local brewery, brewing a green hop beer to enjoy communally. We've got lots of people growing hops, which did well last year. But we need someone to be the lead as the previous person has moved away. And the next part of this is to find a brewer! If you are interested in helping, or in growing hops, please let us know.

The Lovely Fungus Company

Another RFGN member, Chris Forest, introduced himself and The Lovely Fungus Company with an open invitation for anyone interested in growing mushrooms to contact him. He would love to empower communities to grow and provide mushrooms for themselves and each other in simple, fun and low cost ways. Anyone interested can learn more about The Lovely Fungus Company and Chris' work on his website and he encourages anyone who'd like to attend or support his workshops to happen in Reading to email him on: Website and blog can be found here:

Growing Unusual Edible Perennials

Talk by Susannah Hall followed by Q&A

This talk examined how to approach growing food by incorporating unusual edible perennials into your growing space.

It explained how you can combine plants for fertility and maximise plant health by supporting the soil ecosystem.

The talk also included examples of a range of unusual edibles to consider with details of their growing preferences, edible parts and other benefits.

Susannah HallSusannah Hall is a permaculture designer and organiser for Permablitz London which designs and implements edible garden makeovers throughout London. She is also the gardener at Cecil Sharp House permaculture LAND project and the co-ordinator at the Josiah Braithwaite Community Garden. She offers training in permaculture design and gardening.

Suggested donation for the talk £3