Thursday, August 31, 2006

Farmers Guardian rise to the challenge

The article in last weeks Farmers Guardian was fantastically written by Neil Ryder. You can read it by following the link below

The article is written from the farmers perspective. Ben explains how important all of your are to Fordhall and how much he is looking forward to the future.

Portakabins have arrived!

An enormous thank you to everyone for all your offers and advice on the office situation. Last week we took delivery of two portakabins 34x12ft. These were donated from an old building site, it only cost us the £375 delivery charge. A big thank you must go to Mr Kenton Kendall at Interserve site services for all his generousity.

They look a little unsightly at the moment, but we will soon rectify this - look out all those attending our next volunteer weekend on the 23rd September!

We hope to move in by October. One cabin will be offices and the other will be a kitchen for volunteers and a nice dry eating area, which can also double as a classroom when needed.

We still need a couple of computers and some networking and telephone equipment if anyone has anything spare.....

Many thanks to you

Friday, August 25, 2006

Watch out for us in the Farmers Guardian

Yes Fordhall is out and about again. This week you can read about Ben and his management of Fordhall in the Farmers Guardian.

This is a national farming press and so available to you all - if you fancy an insight into the farming industry.

And if you are out and about this weekend, Ben will be at Greenfields Farm Shop Food Fair near Telford over the weekend.

The Fordhall Farm Shop will also be open and our volunteer Dave has agreed to help out on Bank Holiday Monday. This means you can come and enjoy a walk about the farm or a visit to the farm shop at your leisure on Bank Holiday Monday from 11am-4pm.

Our Nature Trail currently takes approximately 40mins to walk. This is our immediate project at Fordhall as we begin to extend it to cover the whole of the farm. As you can see from the picture of our scheduled Motte and Bailey Site, there are some wonderful places to be enjoyed at Fordhall.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My First Experience of Fordhall, By Andrew Blake, Germany

October 2003

When I first visited Fordhall Farm I was about 9 years old. I was in my room when my mum said, "come one Andrew, we’re going to Fordhall Farm”. I thought, "oh no, what place are we going to now?”. Once we had gotten there, a lady called Connie met us in the front of a really old and big house. She shook all our hands, Mike, my step-dad, my mum, Vanessa, my sister and finally me. We went through a door into the house and I saw that it was full of everything!
We went into another room where an old man was sitting. He said that he was called Arthur. I didn’t say anything, because I was too shy. We went there because Mike wanted to help the family to save the farm, but I didnt really know what it was all about!
After a while Mum said that we were going outside, and outside was also full of stuff, but there were only a few animals. When my mum said it was time to go, I was really upset. I really wanted to stay at Fordhall Farm for longer.

August 2006

Now I’ m back at Fordhall! You may be wondering why I had to wait over 2 years to come back, so I’ll tell you. My mum and dad had divorced, and my mum and Mike had married. We moved to Germany in 2004 and I went to a German school. I’m here on holiday at the moment in England. I was - and I still am - really happy about all this. And Fordhall has also changed so much! Everything’s much tidier, there’s a farm shop, and there are lots of people on a course here and volunteering.
I’ve been introduced to some of them. There’s Andrew, who is a fisherman and hunter, Barney, who cooks for everybody here, Danny, who is always friendly and smiles a lot, and there’s Sophie, who seems to live in the office. Also, my mum, grandma and little sister Katie have come over to see how the farm has changed. I have also heard that Charlotte and Ben have raised the 800,000 quid to buy the farm of the Landlord. Congratulations!!!!
I hope Fordhall will be here for a long time to come and that it wont be so long before I visit again.

Andrew Christopher Blake aged 11

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Office on the move..

As we begin to set down roots at Fordhall there is plenty to keep us occupied. Our first priority is to organise the working space. All of you, the 7557 shareholders, have now outgrown our modest office in the Fordhall farmhouse.

We need more working space and the house has reached its capacity. There will eventually be permanent offices in the new sustainably built buildings on the farm, but until these are up we need a short-term solution.

We are looking for a nice size porta cabin to house us and all our growing volunteers. This needs to be a minimum of 32ft x 10ft and would ideally have a seperate small kitchen area.

Can any of you help?? We are looking for second hand cabins which are free or very cheap.

This is a bit of an urgent request as the number of wires surrounding our office is not good!

If anyone can help please can you email Alec Nunn, he is one of our Trustees and valued volunteers and he has offered to help organise the office mayhem...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Green Pepper, Red Tomoto 20th of September

How exciting! A group of us went down to London this week to watch Charlotte and Ben battle it out on Ready, Steady, Cook - such tension!

They both had a lovely selection of organic and local food and amazed the crowds at the culinary delights they whizzed up with a little assistance from Lesley and Brian.

Everyone was very welcoming and really interested in the Initaitve. Of course, the winner is top secret and you'll just have to tune in on September 20th to find out who won.

We managed to leave with an apron each for the contestants and a few signed certificates . Watch out how you can get your hands on them.

Ben and Charlotte chilling out in the Green Room - what fame!

The food was so delicious and we all had a really great day.

Ben has to come up with better excuses to avoid being in the kitchen now we've got evidence that he can do it.

Monday, August 07, 2006

New Arrivals at Fordhall

We have had two litters of piglets in the last 2 weeks. Unfortunately a couple didn't survive but that's life. The ones that did survive are happily running around and keep finding thier way through the hedge to discover the big wide world. You can come and see all the animals at the farm during the Farm Shop opening hours - Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun 11-4.

This little beauty arrived on Saturday night. A late comer but Baby Barry was more than welcome. Hes got his dads looks...!

Below is the mother of the little piglets in the photo. She particuarly likes a good scratch against anything that stands still long enough. She deserved a 'well done' as this was her first litter and she coped really well.

If you missed out on the fantastic article in the Observer yesterday take a couple of minutes to glance at it now. It really sets the project within the wider context and reinforces how we have managed to soar over the first hurdle purely because of the enormous amount of help from everyday people we received.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Observer Magazine

Make sure you grab yourself a copy of this sundays Observer (6th August). If you take a careful look in their Food Monthly Magazine you may find the story of Fordhall, followed by some fantastic photos.

We hope this will give the project and shares another boost in order to help clear the £200,000 Bank Loan and of course to help contribute to sustainably built bunk house after then.

Make sure you get yourself a copy and that you tell all your friends. Fordhall has a national appeal and significance and this is only just the beginning....

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The social side of the volunteer weekends

A volunteer has just forwarded on these photos from our most recent volunteer working weekend which you may be interested in. Please note the complete mixture of ages - everyone is welcome and there are loads of different activities that will suit you all. Come and meet lots of lovely people and have fun, whilst learning new skills and learn a little more about farming.
Saturdays team from the weekend - all chirpy and ready for action after a well deserved lunch break.
The social side of the weekends - its amazing what inspirational ideas can be bashed out around the campfire. Although, in this situation the rain forced even the most hardcore of us under cover. Couldn't risk having excuses to get out of work on Sunday now could we!
The next volunteer working weekend is September 16-17. If you are interestesd in attending please contact Sophie on 01630 638696 or email


The Travelling Morrice have just left Fordhall after coming to dance for us to celebrate the success of our campaign. A number of them are shareholders and the rest are new supporters.

Well the guys were fantastic. We have never had morris dancers at Fordhall before and it was great fun. A big thanks to John and the gang for choosing Fordhall on your travels.

We wish you well on the rest of your dancing journey and hope you will come and dance for us again sometime.

Morris Dancers at Fordhall

If you are in the area this afternoon how about dropping down to Fordhall at 4pm to see the travelling Morris Dancers.

They will be performing in the yard outside our farm shop for whoever wishes to watch. So long as it doesnt rain, this should be great fun.

Thats the Travelling Morris Dancers, 4pm, Fordhall Farm.

And dont forget to get in touch if you know of any spare or good second hand display boards....