Thursday, April 26, 2007

St. Wilfreds visit Fordhall

The benefits of Fordhall Farm as an educational resource slowly expand as more children visit and enjoy the farm.

Two weeks ago we had a visit from the St. Wilfreds Youth Group from Cheshire. We walked around the farm, they saw the animals and they learnt about the farming system Ben uses at Fordhall. They all thoroughly enjoyed the visit and one young boy even knew what 'Foggage Farming' was! It was pleasing to meet children who were already aware of the pressures of food production and everyday lives on the natural environment.

"It is great to see someone doing so much for the environment in an age of global warming"
David, Age 14.

CLICK HERE to see photos from their visit to Fordhall.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Great changes at Fordhall Farm

Another amazing volunteer weekend which has left fantastic results around the farm. The activities over Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of April have included the following: Planting wildflower seeds along the roadside; litter picking; sanding and varnishing benches; planting trees; chopping logs; fencing; seperating logs; fixing a pig ark and fitting a temporary kitchen for a forthcoming 2 week Permaculture course. The farm was buzzing with busy volunteers!

The volunteer weekends are every 6-8 weeks and there is always a huge mix of jobs over the weekend. Because Fordhall Farm is a working farm it is difficult to finalise the jobs until nearer the date as they often depend on what is needed at the time.

Each volunteer weekend introduces new people to Fordhall Farm and gives people the opportunity to learn new skills, meet fantastic like-minded people, and work outdoors.
If you would like to help out at the events hosted by Fordhall Community Land Initiative please check the website for dates. The next large event is Fordhall Family Fun Day and as many volunteers are needed for this day. Of course, there are other ways of volunteering which include making cakes to either fuel our volunteers or for the Initiative to sell in slices to raise funds.
To take part in future volunteer weekends or to discuss any of the above, please contact Sophie at or 01630 638656. Booking is essential as places are restricted.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Volunteers Steam Ahead

Another working weekend is in full swing at Fordhall Farm. The main objectives for the weekend are: To fit a temporary community kitchen, to plant wild flower seeds along the hedgerow and to plant trees from a carbon offsetting compay tomorrow. So far, its looking good.

Volunteers are still working, keen to get through the jobs. Logs have been chopped, benches sanded and varnished, parts of the barn cleared and a pig hutch mended. Everyone has really enjoyed themselves and are looking forward to another day working on Fordhalll Farm tomorrow.

For more information on how you can be involved contact Sophie at or 01630 638656. The next weekends are: June 9-10 and June 30 - July 1st which includes the annual Fordhall Family Fun Day.
Don't forget - today is the start of National Welly Week. Full of interesting information!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baby Animals Everywhere at Fordhall

As we prepare for the forthcoming volunteer weekend on April 21-22 and the extremely long and busy summer ahead, the farm is bustling with new ideas and inhabitants.

As the sun beats down at Fordhall and raises the temperature in the oven like portacabin, the farm is full of baby animals making their presence felt. The piglets are playing around in their newly constructed pens and the lambs are getting bigger and stronger day by day - they will happily knock you over for food now! We even have 5 kittens that are just discovering their feet and every step is carefully thought through, but usually ends up too wobbley and they topple over.

Above is a picture of a newly born calf. There is a 'step-by-step' photo collection of his birth, but these are not on the blog just in case any of you are eating lunch and come across them unexpectedly. Today is a day to be remembered for the yong bullocks at Fordhall. Farmer Ben gathered them all in the small paddock behind the Dutch Barn yesterday. They merrily challenged one another for a sense of superiority, playing around in the field and staring one another down. This morning however, there is a sense of calm amongst the group. Not for long! Today Farmer Ben, aided by a skilled volunteer, is removing their manhood. Yes, go ahead, cross your legs. I am assured that this is only a 'pinch' and the younger the better as it is less painful. Still, it is a little uncomforatble to watch!

So think of us and we do hope you are able to come and visit Fordhall Farm this summer, if not only to see the limping bullocks, but also to see how much it blossoms in the summer.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

First Ever AGM weekend a HUGE success!

The first ever Annual General Meeting for the Fordhall Community Land Initiative based at Fordhall Farm in North Shropshire has been hailed an overwhelming success.

After being saved from development and placed into community ownership last July through the sale of not-for-profit shares to over 8000 people from across the world, we organised our first meeting and our first community vote.

The day was a fantastic success. The vote involved some discussion from shareholders as they took their opportunity to be involved in the farms future. All 14 board members were successfully elected, and a welcomed local food banquet finished off the mornings activities.

Patrick Holden from the Soil Association was the afternoon's keynote speaker, and others included Charlotte and Ben Hollins, Tom Woolley, an expert on Natural Building and the Development Manager from Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

However, we must pass on a special thanks to Tom Oliver (Head of Rural Policy from the Campaign to Protect Rural England) for holding the day together and keeping everyone to schedule. Even Charlotte did not run over her time!

Over 100 people attended the conference and evening ceilidh, with over a 1000 attending the food festival and family day at the farm on April 1st.

The food festival included 20 local produce stalls, live folk music, baby lambs, piglets, baby chicks, guided walks, woodland games, organic tea and coffee, homemade cakes, Fordhall BBQ, displays and more... Not only did all the volunteers enjoy the day, but the stall holders did too. Many have commented on the polite nature and friendly atmosphere that all the visitors brought with them - so a big thank you to all those who came or baked cakes for us to sell (the cakes raised almost £500).

We could not ask for better weather or a better response. It was a truly amazing weekend and the best way to celebrate the Initiatives 1st Anniversay. So, with one event over its now time to start planning the Summer Faire for July 1st. The Anniversary of Saving Fordhall Farm.

Thank you to all the volunteers who ensured the weekend was so fantastic- from flower arranging to cake baking to running activities on Sunday. You have all been amazing!
See you all on JULY 1st!