Thursday, July 26, 2007

Come and PLAY at Fordhall!

A fantastic opportunity for everyone who loves to have a good time, and may possibly have always, deep down, wished they had learnt to juggle. The Play Festival has once again returned to Fordhall Farm and as people flood (literally) through the gates wearing wellies, the atmosphere is buzzing with excitment.

The festival will climax with a special fire show on Friday and a circus performance on Saturday. It really is a brilliant festival to be part of, as everyone trundles from tent to tent socialising and just having a great time. Its almost impossible to overcome the urge to join in with the spinners or having a go at unicycling - which, considering it is on a field, is a talent in itself!

We are hoping to persuade a few skilled attendees to return for our Family Fun Day on August 19th so more people can share the fun.

Look at for more information and we look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Piglets venture out

This evening as the sun was headig down to rest, Libby and her piglets emerged for a play in Fordhall's pastures. These were born during the book launch on Friday July 13th and they are all gorgeous.

If any of you have read the book (The Fight for Fordhall Farm), you will know that Libby was one of the first pigs Ben and Charlotte bought. As a Gloucester Old Spot cross Tamworth, she has a wonderful temprement as well as producing fantastic pork.

Libby's piglets will remain with her for some time yet, as she teaches them how to forage for worms within the soil and how to avoid the electric fence!

They will then go on to live free-range on our chemical free pastures, looked after by Ben, and adored by visitors. Until of course they are ready for the farm shop. By which time I am sure Libby will be well on the way to having another litter....
If you want to see Libby and her piglets why not come to our Family Fun Day on August 19th. There will be lots of games, live music, stalls, tractors and more... See our website for more details.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Charlotte and Ben on Richard and Judy

For the second time, Ben and I travelled to London to film Richard and Judy Live on Channel 4 (see below).

Although a short interview, it was great fun and hopefully raised interest in the book and the farm - the canapé 's and free wine after the show were also a welcome bonus...

Ben also got to chat to Radio 1's Sarah Cox about farming and Hereford Cows. So much so, that he convinced her to buy a book, and he must have been feeling confident with his celebrity status as he asked "Would you like me to sign that for you Sarah?".

The publicity for the book has come to end now, but I am sure there will be more in the future as sales are going well through Bens online shop and Waterstones too have increased their order.

So, its back to the real world of farming at Fordhall Farm and the FCLI office admin, where Sophie had been holding everything together whilst we were away.

Ben is currently building a new butchery for his meats in the dutch barn and Libby, our gloucester old spot had 9 piglets over the weekend too. The fun never ends...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Radio 4's 'On Your Farm'

Just in case you did not hear Charlotte and Ben Hollins on BBC Radio 4 at 6.35am yesterday, you can hear it again by following this link.

And here is a pic of them with Johnny Walker, aired on Sunday afternoon. We also have to say a BIG THANK YOU to Johnny for plugging Fordhall and the book so well. He is a tremendous supporter and we are really grateful for his kind words on Radio 2.

Friday, July 13, 2007

100 students descend upon Fordhall

This week Fordhall Farm had a visit from a Walsall secondary school. Tens of students tumbled up Fordhalls drive for their first visit to an organic farm and for many, their first visit to a farm of any kind.

They were taken on a farm walk by Charlotte and in the afternoon lit a fire in the woodland and made jewellery using natural materials. When asked how many had been on a farm before or had even seen a live pig, only a handful put up their hands.
What seemed like an unruley bunch of city children soon turned out to be a group of enthusiastic learners, keen to understand about the function of worms in the soil, and the process of pig to pork.

One parent later emailed us and said:

"I would like to say thank you on behalf of my daughter who visited your farm today. It made a pleasant change to hear my daughter comment on what a wonderful time they had and how much she had learned from a school trip. In this day and age it was refreshing to know that the school ( Brownhills Community Technology College) had arranged an educational trip rather than one to a theme park or skating rink. School trips normally cost a small fortune so I was very surprised when my daughter informed me that this trip was only costing £2. Being as my daughter Laura enjoyed it so much I think that it's only fair that you should receive the average cost of one of their school trips so I have sent you £20 through PayPal. I hope that my other children who attend the school have the same chance to visit your wonderful farm as I'm a big believer in keeping Farming British and that British Food and produce is the best you can buy and that more should be done to support our Farmers
So I would like to say thank you."

Richard and Judy axed...

Bad news everyone. We have been cut from this evenings show. We would have appeared on Richard and Judy, Channel 4 this evening, but due to the exciting news that David and Victoria Beckham are moving to the USA we have been cut!

Ben was half way to London when we found out so its all a bit last minute, and a shame we have been cut for such a completely different story. But, thankfully they have moved the slot to next tuesday. So, all being good we will travel down to London on Tuesday afternoon...

Watch this space!

The Fight For Fordhall Farm can now be purchased from our online shop linked from

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Book is Launched.... By Charlotte

The last two days have been a complete blur as Ben and I have travelled across London from one interview to the next. Organised by our wonderful publicist from Hodder, Eleni, and accompanied by our partners Oli and Maz, two farmers were let loose on London...
The first was an interview on Radio 4's Midweek on Wednesday morning. As you can see from the pic on the right, interviewed with us was Henry Woolfe, an actor from from 'The Hothouse' by Harold Pinter, Lee Mead, the singer who recently won the opportunity to be Joseph on the BBC programme 'Any Dream Will Do', and K'Naan, a Somalian rap singer from Canada.
Striaght after this we went to another BBC studios for more radio. This time Londons LBC Radio (see pic on right). A pre-recorded piece to be aired early next week.
Following on was BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Radio Cumbria (also to be aired next tuesday).
The day ended and we were all exhausted; the beginning of the day felt like years ago...
But it was an early night as we were being picked up at 7.30am the next morning to travel to BBC Breakfast TV.

Outside the BBC Television centre, we tried to see if we could spot any celebrities - but alas, there was only us and the taxi driver!

At 8.50am we did a live interview on the BBC Breakfast sofa, and I have to say that the studio was a lot smaller than you would expect. We thoroughly enjoyed the morning and the whole crew made us feel very relaxed.

Bed had to return straight home after Breakfast as 'Libby', our Gloucester Old spot was about to have piglets! I stayed in London for BBC Radio London interview.

But, tomorrow is Richard and Judy! And I have to say that we are a little scared.... Hopefully it will all go without a glitch and they will like the book.

Then last but not least we are on Radio 4's 'On Your Farm' programme at 6.40am on Sunday morning and then the Johnny Walker show on Sunday afternoon..... and home to Fordhall - phew!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fields of Vision Buried by Books!

The much anticipated book arrived yesterday and Charlotte nervously helped to unload the lorry...

After spending an afternoon signing books to ensure Shareholders received their copy of the book first, both Ben and Charlotte whizzed off to London for an exciting week of press (see previous blog entry for more information).
Also today, follow the link to read the The Guardian Newspaper article:,,2122959,00.html
No rest for the wicked!!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fordhall Press, just confirmed...

Just Confirmed......

After the article's in the Sunday Times and Saturday Mail over the weekend, the office has once again gone crazy as interest in the Fordhall Community Land Initiative gains momentum.

You can read the Sunday Times article by following this link

The pending publication of Charlotte and Ben's book, 'The Fight for Fordhall Farm' is drawing in all the press as they begin a week of interviews and tv appearances. They began today with a 15 minute interview on BBC Radio Shropshire on the drivetime programme with Sam Hatton. And they will travel to London tomorrow for many more and the list has just been confirmed...

If you want to listen then why not tune in to one (or more) of the following:
  • BBC Radio 4. Midweek Programme - 9am Wednesday
  • BBC Radio Scotland. 10.15am Wednesday
  • LBC 97.3 Radio (London). 1.30pm Wednesday
  • BBC Radio Bristol. Richard Lewis afternoon show. 3.30pm Wednesday
  • BBC One Breakfast News. 9am Thursday
  • BBC Radio Cumbria. The Ian Timmis Show. 1pm Thursday
  • BBC Radio London 94.9. The Robert Elms Show. 2.30pm Thursday
  • Channel 4 Richard and Judy Show. 5pm Friday.
  • BBC Radio 4. 'On Your Farm'. 6.40am Sunday 15th July
  • BBC Radio 2. Johnny Walker Show. Sunday

They will also be in the Guardian Newspaper on Wednesday - can you keep up - not sure if we can!!!

Also dont forget that the book is now available online direct from Fordhall Farm at

Many thanks to all our existing shareholders and volunteers for your support - we could not achieve this without you!

p.s. As Ben and Charlotte are in London for most of the week, Sophie is holding the fort in the office. Therefore please be patient if we do not answer your emails or phonecalls as efficiently as we normally would - you can be sure that we are doing our best to stay on top of everything.

Thank You

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Fordhall Book

As you may be aware, Charlotte and Ben have written a book entitled 'The Fight for Fordhall Farm' due to be released on July 12th by Hodder and Stoughton.

This book began as an update to their late fathers (Arthur Hollins) book 'The Farmer the Plough and the Devil' which charts the history of Fordhall from the 1920's through to the 1980's when Charlotte and Ben were born. But, the update grew in length and soon turned into a book of its own - and if any of you have been lucky enough to meet either Ben or Charlotte you will know just how much they can talk!

Anyway, the launch of this book brings another new chapter to the Fordhall story as more press is launched and the issues of farming in todays political economy are highlighted. The Sunday Times have the first story this weekend, followed by the Weekend Mail, Radio 4's Midweek Programme, BBC Breakfast (thursday), Farming Today (Sun 15th July) and Johnny Walkers show amongst more.

Charlotte said
"The flurry of press around the book is another surreal time for Ben and I. Charging across the country for photo shoots and interviews is not the normal life of a farmer, but we are enjoying the new experiences and hoping that our story provides new opportunities for other young people in the industry, as well as encouraging the public to support their local farmers and farm shops."

We hope to have a more detailed list of the press as it happens here - so watch this space....

Books can be purchased direct from Fordhall Farm
signed at £16.99 or unsigned at £14.99.
10% of profits from sales direct from Fordhall Farm go towards the educational work of the Fordhall Community Land Initiative - the community owned society that uses Fordhall as an educational resource and leases the land to Ben and Charlotte to farm.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Welly Wanging in the Rain

Even though the Family Fun Day was postponed due to poor weather, some enthusiastic volunteers still braved the rain and sold tea and cake to the flurry of visitors arriving throughout the day. The decision to postpone the original event was welcomed by everyone as the field to be used as car parking would have been destroyed. Overall, the day was nice and relaxed with everyone enjoying themselves and spending time at Fordhall Farm. There was even a substantial Welly Wanging Competition which seduced all passers-by.

A huge thanks must go to everyone who gave up their Sunday to help create such a lovely atmosphere. It was an excellent warm up to the rearranged Family Fun Day whcih will now be held on Sunday August 19th with exactly the same set up as before - Food and craft stalls, games, demonstrations, hog roast and much more, including the OFFICIAL Welly Wanging Competition 2007.
Watch this space for more information to follow shortly!
Please contact us at to enquire about bringing stalls or to request welly wanging technique hints.