Here are the minutes of the last ACE Open Meeting.
Meeting Title: ACE Open Meeting
Meeting date and time: Tuesday 17th Octiber 2023, 7pm
Venue Details: Roberts Room, Bridges and Zoom
Present: Charles Emes,, Sarah Read, Vivien Mitchel, Peter Bere, Sue Parkinson, Nicky James, Peter Davies, Anthea Dewhurst, Jem Jenkin-Jones, Clare Catto, Mary Boase, David Evans, Cherry Taylor
Apologies: Rebecca Cunningham, Alison Louise Ellis, Scout, Paul Trotter, Chloe Constable, Haydn Cullen-Jones
Agenda and Notes
Welcome and apologies for absence
1. Farmer’s project
Back in January 2023, local farmers, growers and other members of ACE wanted to start a farmers’ group. At the same time, Size Of Wales came up with the idea of Ben Taylor Davies (‘Regen Ben’, based in Ross-on-Wye and a world-reknown Regen Ag expert) mentoring some Monmouth-based farms to migrate them to regen ag. Almost a year on, there is now a 140-strong regen ag group started by farmers for farmers run by Scott Miller and others. We also have three Monmouthshire farms being mentored by Regen Ben. These two parallel initiatives started by ACE Monmouth will run side-by-side and dovetail into each other as appropriate. Funding for the mentoring project to the tune of £13,567 has been secured from Wye Valley AONB, The Monmouthshire Food Partnership and Size of Wales / Coop Foundation. Both initiatives needed to be Monmouthshire-wide to get the scale of involvement needed to make some meaningful change.
This week the mentoring project with its three successful farms are being announced formally via the farming press. The three farms involved are Square Farm near Monmouth, Farmland on the Llanover estate near Abergavenny and the MCC farm, Lower House Farm, near Chepstow.
The farmers group is being hosted on Facebook and is called Talk Farm Regen Monmouthshire and any farmers curious about or practicing regen ag are welcome to join it. This group will host events, talks and farm visits. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/talkfarmregenmonmouthshire
If you wish to get involved in helping facilitate the mentoring activity, please email email@example.com.
2. ACE Monmouth Festival Review
Members of the meeting included those on the core festival steering group, on-the-day-volunteers and visitors to the festival. Highlights for people included the Transition Monmouth apple pressing, the deforestation Food Zone, the hydrogen cars, Cheryl Cummings’ garden, the deforestation free debate, the Nature Zone on the Sunday, the performances at Shire Hall, the Bee Ladies, the smoothie bikes, the bat walk, amongst many other things.
It is hard to estimate how many people attended, but one stall holder on the Sunday estimates that 70-100 people visited their stand. Other anecdotal feedback suggests that the festival achieved its core objective of attracting people in Monmouth who were not previously heavily engaged in the nature and climate emergencies. This resulted in lots of signing up to community groups tackling specific issues, new sales leads for Octopus Energy, Caplor Energy and the Hydrogen Cars. Importantly, stall holders reported speaking to people who did not know much about the issues or the solutions encompassed by the stalls.
All the feedback gathered in the meeting is being amalgamated into a Festival Report, along with other feedback received to date.
It was voted (12:1) to make the next festival a one day event, and probably at a single location – with Shire Hall the most popular choice. If schools are to be involved and consulted about content, this needs to happen now for a 2024 festival.
If you want to be on the ACE Festival Steering Group for the next one, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Schools Project
Charles reported that ACE has secured funding from Viridor for £2700 to share amongst local schools for children to learn about growing plants through hands-on experience. It just needs to have people to take forward mini project ideas for sustainable gardening to their local schools. If you want to apply for some of these funds for your school, please email email@example.com
4. Outdoor First Aid Training
Clare Catto reported that AONB is offering Outdoor First Aid Training to Monmouthshire Meadows Group (MMG) who has suggested that maybe ACE Monmouth volunteers might also benefit from this. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Monmouth Museum Meeting
ACE Monmouth volunteers are invited to join Caroline Parkin on Thursday 16th November from 6.30-9.00pm at Shire Hall: Details below:
Monmouth Museum is carrying out a Heritage Lottery-funded project: “Dynamic Collections, Opening the Box”. Anyone with an interest in climate change and/ or ecology might be interested in taking part in this discussion workshop to explore language, terms and terminology to be used to encourage access to and engagement with the museum’s collection. In the workshop you will be invited to explore objects with an environmental link, share ideas and express thoughts about your own experience and the local area.
Light refreshments will be provided from 6.00 pm and high street vouchers of £50 will be given to compensate participants for their time and to thank them for their contribution. Please register your interest with Caroline Parkin – email@example.com
6. ACE Monmouth Officer Roles
The position of Chair remains available. ACE has enjoyed a huge increase in participation from the community this year, but the role of Chair does need to be filled for this constituted group to function properly. It is not reasonable to expect our Acting Chair (Charles Emes) to continue holding the fort for much longer on his own. Please can you step forward and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be considered for this role.
In addition, Rebecca Cunningham resigned from the role of Project Officer earlier in the summer. Rebecca did a fantastic job at building momentum for ACE just when it was needed. However, it is felt that this role is not needed as much now and that the funds this would free up can be directed to projects for the community. The ACE community is hugely indebted to Rebecca for all her hard work during 2022 and 2023.
7. Other Business
Discussion was had about what ACE is and is not: for people new to ACE Monmouth, it is a community group funded by the Town Council that aims to bring people together to tackle climate change and the biodiversity crisis. It is about helping each other take positive steps and make changes to the way we live our lives that will contribute to minimizing our impact on the planet. It is not about demonstrating, protesting or about spreading doom and gloom messages.
8. Other News
Repair Café Monmouth (RC) needs your help! The team is doing a fantastic job, but they fear they may have a real problem for the future. Whilst the RC has a reasonable number of repairers, it is short of people willing to help in the support roles. The operation of the cafe requires planning and admin, both on the day and between events. The team urges everyone in the ACE community to consider helping to keep the RC running into the new year and beyond. Please contact email@example.com if you think you can help.
9. Dates for your diary
ACE Monmouth Xmas Drink Party and mini Xmas market – Tuesday 19th December 2023
ACE Monmouth Seed Swap – Saturday 17th February 2024
7. Date of the next meeting
November 21st at 7.30pm. This will be a mix of Zoom and face to face again. Venue tbc. Info about this meeting, including Zoom links, will be posted on the ACE website, the FaceBook page and in the ACE Facebook Group.