Last night Ben and I (Charlotte) travelled to London for the awards ceremony of Young Rural Entrepreneur of the year award. The nominations had been reduced to 5 finalists and we could not believe that we were within them. The others were amazing and had achieved so much in such a short time, yet Ben is still only earning £90 a week!
So you can imagine that when our names were read out as the winners, we were completely stunned. We did not know what to say and the speech for once was surprisingly short....
The evening was held at Purdeys (the famous gun makers) just off Park Lane in London and the awards were run and sponsored by 'The Field' magazine and 'Lycetts Insurance'. Both Ben and I are extremely grateful for all at the Field and Lycetts for the award. Creating the Fordhall Comunity Land Initiative was a journey that so many people were involved with. Offering their time and skills has allowed Ben and I to learn so much over the last four years, it has allowed us to save Fordhall and place it into community ownership, it has given us a 100 year lease on the land, and it has allowed us to make some great friends and have some great fun along the way.
With so many other young people trying to enter the industry but being blocked by high land values, we hope the Fordhall Community Land Initiative will be something that others can follow. It has certainly shown Ben and I that farms hold a much higher value to the community than simply food producers.
Yet, this is still the very beginning for us and Fordhall Farm. There is still so much to do and so many new projects to get underway, such as the online shop, the nature trail improvements, and renovations to the farm buildings. Ben and I even had to pack meat for the farm shop when we got home last night at 1.30am! There is no rest for the wicked..
The prize money will go towards renovations in the farmhouse and a new bull for Ben's growing herd of Aberdeen Angus'. We also hope to organise a thank you party for all our volunteers and supporters. Without you we could not have got where we are today.
Many thanks to Sophie, volunteers, shareholders and everyone at Lycetts and The Field.
Charlotte and Ben x
see the BBC website for the official release: