Thursday, April 27, 2006

Link to Telegraph Article

Fantastic news - a link to the Telegraph website has been created for ONE WEEK ONLY! Click here to read the brilliant article.

Send this link round to your friends and family. It captures the story perfectly and is wonderfully inspiring. Once again, our thanks go to Sally Williams who, its fair to say, has hit the nail on the head!

And thank you to Christoph, our volunteer who passed on the story to her.

It is also possible to purchase shares online or download an application form and post it back to us.

£145,000 Raised so far..

Keep it coming...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Volunteer Experiences

Below is an extract from an email a volunteer has circulated. It clearly shows the passion that volunteers have for the Initiative. Fordhall Farm means something different to everyone. Make sure you give yourself the opportunity to visit and discover Fordhall.

"Having spend all day in the office, walking through the town to my house, or catching the bus through to college, the closest I get to the countryside is Andy Sugdens farm in Emmerdale - and even that's not going down the drain!

It's such a relief to get down on the farm, green rolling fields with cows and sheep meandering freely with fluffy new lambs and calves, piglets that get bigger every visit and chickens always wanting to stand where ever you're about to step; breakfasts of farm bacon and fresh eggs.The meat sold in the shop is largely meat off the land and its nice to know that what you are eating is from animals that looked after, that are cared for and who have the freedom to roam around the farm rather than being cooped up in a little box."

There is an Open Day on May 14th when Ben, Charlotte and myself (Sophie) will be giving guided walks around the farm and answering any questions. A number of volunteers will also be here, serving tea and cake! They are more than willing to share their experiences and hopes for the future with you. For more information or to book a place either email us at or phone 01630 638696.

See below for information about the Charity Ball on May 13th. This popular event is a great excuse to spend the evening with your friends having lots of fun - all for a good cause!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

£125,000 Raised so far - £675,000 to go...

Thank You Countryman Magazine, Midlands Today and the Saturday Telegraph

Your readers have pushed our total to £125,000 - over £50,000 in sales in the last week alone! Our shareholder base has increase to over 1200 members from across the country and beyond.

As you can imagine this has meant a dramatic increase in administration in the office and we have all been working around the clock. However, we are also on an amazing high. The response from every person has been passionate, enthusiastic and inspiring. You really are making a statement by supporting the fight to save Fordhall Farm. You are showing us that people really do want to support british farming, that people really do care about our countryside and that it is important for it to be saved. When we began this project we had no idea if it would succeed and if it was wanted by people. You are showing us that it is and by doing this you are providing us with the determination that will ensure its success. By joining the fight to save Fordhall Farm we are sending out a message to all that things need to change, and that there is a future for small family farms in the UK.

We have now run out of share certificates and are awaiting their return from the printers. They are infact printed for free by North Shropshire District Council together with our share applications, window stickers and newsletters; which we are extremely grateful for. But it doesnt stop here - all our desks and filing cabinets were also donated by the council - thank you!

So, there may be a delay in recieving your certificate. We are working on about a two week turn around at the moment instead of the usual one week process. When shares enter the office we have volunteers who file them, add the data to database, assign certificate and share numbers, write the certificate and create the package that is then sent out to you. But with over 1000 in one week, it is a slow process.

We must thank all the volunteers for the help we have recieved in the office this week processing all the shares and donations (Elaine and Bryan Hunt, Sean McLaughlin, Charlotte Brittain, Connie Hollins, Rebecca Syrett, Alec Nunn, Alice Janes, Hayley Brennon, Steven (new shareholder), Isabel doing her Duke of Edinburgh award, Bob O'Brien, Andrew Bailey and Dylan Franklin). We could not it without you!

We must also thank all those who have contacted us with their own fundraising projects across the country, with proceeds going towards the Fordhall Community Land Initiative. Please do not forget to send in your photos so that we can post them on the Blog site.

Charity Dinner Saturday May 13th
Tickets are going fast for the Charity Dinner, to be held at Harper Adams on May 13th. You can download an invite HERE, but please note that the evening does not have to be Black Tie as long as you put in some effort

This fun and enjoyable evening will be followed by an Open Day at Fordhall on May 14th. There will be guided walks around the farm and afternoon tea in the garden. Places need to be booked and are limited so please dont forget to contact us if you are interested. 01630 638696

If you would like to buy a share in Fordhall or to find out other ways that you can help the Initiative, please find your way to our How Can You Help Pages

We are aware that you all want to follow our progress online. Ben is working away at creating an online counter for our home page. We hope that this will be live within the week.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Permaculture Course at Fordhall

Fordhall will hold its first official educational course this August. A Permaculture Design course will run from the 12th - 26th August based at Fordhall Farm.

Permaculture is all about working in balance, and utilising everything evident in nature to its best advantage - and sustainably; it is based on experience and research. The Foggage System still used at Fordhall and developed by the later Arthur Hollins, is a Permaculture system. It relies on a huge diversity of grass and herb species to keep the pastures productive throughout the year and to allow Fordhalls livestock to remain outdoors throughout the winter months, thus limiting inputs and making the most available naturally.

This course is for the gardener, the farmer, the horticulturist, or simply the lay person interested in sustainability.

The course costs are in the region of £450 but these are still to be confirmed. This cost covers full meals and camping accommodation at Fordhall for the two weeks, your tutoring by Permaculture teachers and trips out.

These courses are fantastic and you will even get the opportunity to practice your own Permaculture design at Fordhall. If you are interested in attending this course please email the farm on expressing your interest. These courses get booked up pretty fast so dont miss out.

More information is available on the Permaculture Website

Shareholders Take Campagining Into Own Hands

We have had many reports of 'mini' campagins being launched by shareholders. These are ranging between cake stalls, dinner parties and fun runs to putting information in veg boxes and canvassing influential people. We would like to express our huge thanks and gratitude.

One definition of community is a group of people who share common interests, not necessarily in a geographically defined area - especially in today's technology intensive world. This is what the Fordhall Community Land Initiative is about - people coming together because they regonise the importance and necessicity for a project such as this to succeed.

We would like to be able to track mini campagins and would love it if shareholders could send us pictures, accounts or reflections on the activities so we can post them on the diary for others to see. No need to be shy!

If you need more leaflets or posters they can be downloaded. Keep up the fantastic work.

Go Team Fordhall!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Telegraph Takes Us By Storm!

WOW! What an amazing reaction from the Telegraph readers! We have been completely overwhelmed by the response we have recieved. It is no exaggeration to say that the phone has not stopped ringing since Saturday. We are walking around with big grins.

Having almost doubled the number of shareholders in just one weekend, we are firmly back on track and re-energised. The current total we believe stands at around £100,000 - only a further £700,000 to go!

All at Fordhall would like to extend a huge, whole-hearted thank you to Sally Williams for writing such a brilliant and poignent article. We could never have anticipated this response, but it just goes to show how much support there is out there for a project such as this. So many people are calling to share with us their passion for organic food and the importance of education in farming. We have also heard from farmers throughout the country who can identify with the struggles faced by small family farms and are hoping we prove that there can be an alternative way.

Realistically we still have a long way to go but the campagin has certainly moved into another gear and people are helping in any way possible. If every new shareholder told another 3 people (easy!) the support would spread overnight. Follow this link to see different ways you can help us or to buy shares online.

Don't miss the opportuntiy to join in this amazing campagin.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Saturday Telegraph and progress

We have it on good authority that there will be a feature in this saturdays Telegraph on the Fordhall Community Land Initiative - keep your eyes peeled. We are also in this months Countryman magazine (a huge thank you to Bill Taylor for this fantastic article) and Ethical Consumer magazines. If you havent already seen them get yourself a copy.

Sustainability, food, farming, landscape and the future are all hitting the news - lets help make that difference.

In the fundraising front - we have so far raised £79,000 and have 440 Shareholders. Shares are coming in everyday through the post and it all makes a difference.

We can now also accept online donations and shares. Just follow the links from our website. Although there is a small handling charge for selling shares online; if you want to avoid this you can still download the leaflet application and post it with a cheque to the farm.

Keep campaigning and send your successes to us - we will post them on the Blog!

Padre on a Journey

All at Fordhall would like to say thank you to Padre Jim, resident at the army base across the Tern Valley. He has been, with his Son David, to a number of our working weekends and has helped out occassionally in the office (see below - with a very fashionable pen I see!)

His help has been very much appreciatd and we would like to send our warmest wishes with him as he leaves for Iraq this week with the rest of the base.

Our thoughts will be with you all, and we look forward to seeing you back at Fordhall in November for more volunteering :-)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Amount Raised So Far...

We have so far raised £70,000 through the sale of shares and donations, amounting to over 400 shareholders from across the breadth of the country.

It is clear that there is still a lot to raise before we meet our £800,000 target by the deadline in July.

We have applied to two grant bodies for figures of approximately 600,000. We will hear the result of these in June, which leaves things pretty tight.

We also have the Business Plan reaching completion which should enable a small shortfall to be funded by a mortgage (but this is a last resort).

We therefore can not rely upon them, and need to raise as much as we can ourselves as the community.

This involvement is also what makes Fordhall 'community owned', its what makes it original and what makes it a worthwhile project.

We need your help to spread the word and increase our number of shareholders. The more poeple are involved the larger the example it sets. Showing that you do care about food and how its produced and that you are interested in being involved with family farmss, and that you do care that they survive. By supporting Fordhall you are already doing all of this and you are safeguarding an important asset for future generations to learn the same - wherever they live.

Please visit our 'How Can You Help' pages to download posters or leaflets, or to write a letter on our behalf. Every little bit helps!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Exciting Charity Ball on May 13th

We are holding a Charity Ball on May 13th to help raise funds to purchase Fordhall Farm. The evening will consist of a scrumptious dinner - all local or organic food. This will be followed by an auction and a ceilidh dance which promises to provide much entertainment and fun. Music is coming from local musicians and there is even the potential for a song from The Farmer, The Plough and The Devil play. The venue is generously being donated by Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire which is only approx 10 miles from Fordhall.

We are still collecting auction prizes - so far they range between signed books, hot air balloon rides, a tour around Houses of Parliment and a tour for four around Highgrove Gardens, donated by HRH Prince of Wales.

The guest speaker for the evening is Tom Oliver who has been a huge help to the campaign so far. He is Head of Rural Policy at CPRE and is a real pleasure to listen to as he speaks with genuine passion about issues that lie close to the Initiatives ethos.

If you have any more ideas or know of anyone it would be worth contacting or inviting please let us know or contact them on our behalf. Invitations can be downloaded from the events page on the website or click on the following link: Invitation. The evening is set to be great fun and an opportunity for people from all over the country to meet and support the Fordhall Community Land Initiative whilst having a ball!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Celebrity Support

Support for the Fordhall Community Land Initiative is growing everyday. We continue to send letters to all and sundry in the hope that they may offer support to this important Initiative. One which we know has great potential for sustainability and reconnecting people to food, farming and the landscape.

Today another of those letters recieved a positive response and we gained support from the actor Robert Powell.

He said "I wholeheatedly support the Fordhall Community Land Initiative and strongly believe that it will set an example that others will be quick to follow. Community ownership is a splendid idea. May it flourish.’

We must pass on our thanks to him for his support and offer a visit to Fordhall whenever he is in the area.

If any of our supporters knows of anyone who may like to support the Initiative or who should support the Initiative please do let us know.

Other ways of helping can be found on our 'How Can You Help' pages on our website.