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Soil and Fertility

*****New sites needed for Autumn 2024*****

We have an exciting opportunity for any projects/people who grow on the land, and would benefit from knowing how to improve their soil health and fertility.

Shift Bristol are on the lookout for sites to base our ‘Soil and Fertility’ design projects, as part of our Practical Sustainability Course - Happening on the [TBC end of Nov/Beginning Dec].

The aim of the design project is for students to observe and assess the health of soil at each site and then create an action plan/design of suggested improvements in line with the aims of your project. These may include methods for;

* Changing soil structure for improved drainage/retention of water

* Increasing fertility through soil protection and/or additions such as compost and biobrews.

* Alternative growing techniques that will protect the soil

* Using on-site or local resources for compost and bio-bre creations. 

Students will then share their observations and suggested improvements with you; either by inviting you to the presentation day on [TBC], or with a follow up email/meeting. 

The caveat: Previous stakeholders who have volunteered their sites and time, regularly feedback that it has been an insightful and worthwhile exchange having the students work with them. This being said these design projects are organised as a learning opportunity for the students, and we cannot guarantee the end results of their efforts. Their design projects are reviewed by permaculture and regenerative agriculture tutor Caroline Aitken during the presentation day, and her recommendations will also be passed onto stakeholders.  

Site Criteria

* The land is an appropriate size; minimum is a large allotment, maximum is a smallholding of no more than 5 acres.

* Some, or all of the land is used for cultivation (herbs, vegetables, fruits, flowers etc). 

* Your soil and fertility systems need improvement (e.g. you don’t have a super-duper compost and no-dig raised bed system already in place).

* Not essential, but an additional learning bonus, is if you have problems such as water logging in wet weather and soil capping/cracking in hot weather.

What we need from you and your site: 

* A student group of up to five students, will need access to your site on [TBC end of Nov/Beginning Dec]; between the hours of 9.30-3.30.

* Students will need to take soil samples from a handful of spots on site, to assess soil texture/health. This will leave minimal disruption to the land.

* Your time to meet with our students to conduct a stakeholder interview to find out about the aims of your project, insight into the use of the site at different times of year, and any limiting factors that they will need to take into consideration (budget, skills, labour etc).

* An area (preferably covered) for students to huddle and work on the project together.

* Access to a toilet. 

Things to note:

* We offer a selection of sites for our students to pick from. Sometimes there are more sites than design groups available, and therefore we can’t guarantee if you put your site forward you will be chosen. 

* We prioritise sites that have a community benefit over land that is used to grow for private benefit only. 

* We will let you know whether your site has been chosen or not on the [TBC}. 

Offering your site:

Please email with the following details;

* Name of project

* Name of main contact

* Contact details of main contact

* Location/Address

* A brief description of how your land is used and your wider aims 

* Any questions you may have.

We really look forward to hearing from you!