Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We're at the BBC Good Food Show

Fordhall Farm is at the BBC Good Food Show today and until Sunday. Charlotte and Yvonne will be working hard everyday to speak to as many people as possible. Buy shares, buy 'The Fight for Fordhall Farm' book, buy Bens meats, or just come and say hello. Each day Charlotte will be doing a talk with Jimmy Docherty from Jimmy's Farm in the afternoon producer workshops.


Find us at the Ludlow section of Hall 20

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Spirit at Fordhall Farm

Last Friday Fordhall took part in the Market Drayton Festival of Lights. This successful event had 53 stalls and 200 school children in a candlelit procession. Ben sold out of his sausages quickly due to high demand and Charlotte and Sophie made Tree King/Queen crowns with children, much to the amusment of passer-bys, laughing at the pair dancing around with a paper crown and bits of driend leaves and tinsel stuck to them.
Also this weekend, 8 volunteers got to grips with the hedges at Melverley Meadows and learnt how to hedgelay. They all throughly enjoyed themselves and left feeling enthused to learn and practice more.

Coming up, just around the corner, is the Christmas Ceilidh which is going to be a hoot! The event is being held at The Grove School in Market Drayton on Decemeber 7th at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 for shareholders and £12 for non shareholders and include a delicious Fordhall pork bap. The whole evening will be lots of fun, dancing to barn-dance style music with a live band and a Caller instructing us what to do. It is even worth coming along if you would prefer not to dance so you can giggle at us making mistakes...

In the more immediate future, we will be at the BBC Good Food Show this Wednesday to Sunday. Not only do we have a stand selling meat, books and shares for Christmas, but Charlotte is also giving a talk with Jimmy Docherty (of Jimmys Farm fame) everyday for 1 hour. Lucky her!

Don't forget to keep checking the website for future events.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Muddy Matches visit Fordhall

Today we had a visit from two interesting siters, Lucy and Emma. They are travelling the country in a country cottage (campavan)- have you ever heard of a cottage travelling the British Countryside before? I know I haven't - promoting their new venture Muddy Matches, and they decided that they wanted to vist Fordhall Farm.

Muddy Matches is a website set up to help rural people meet others. Living in the countryside can be a very isolating life - unless you have 8000 landlords and over 200 volunteers! - and this website helps people get together. Whether it be for dating or for just making friends.

It is a fantastic idea and I know that the girls will make a great success of it. They seem to have been on quite an adventure so far and we hope they will write something for our newsletter about the interesting rural people they have met on their way and the problems they face to stay on their farms and in their businesses.

There may also be a Fordhall Singles Volunteer Weekend organised next summer as a result - watch out all those singletons...

They left Fordhall to go to a Speed Dating evening at Harper Adams University College - good luck girls! ;-)

Their website is definately worth a look - perhaps even pass it on to your friends.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Field - December Issue OUT NOW

Check out this months issue of 'The Field' magazine. The second page is a full page interview with Charlotte and Ben about their award - 'Young Rural Entrepreneur of the Year' sponsored by The Field and Lycetts Insurance Brokers.

Giving it some Welly!

Over the last few weeks Ben and I (Charlotte) have been trialling wellingtons for a review in BBC Countryfile Magazine. We each had 7 pairs ranging from the traditional green, to whacky pink, and some even had dogs on! Although I have to say that my wellies were much more whacky than Bens! I never knew wellingtons could be so much fun, or could be so different. Looking at the soles's, how comfy they are, what the lining was, and even how much they weighed.

For an indepth appraisal of all the wellingtons we trialled from Hunters, to Joules, to Aigle, check out BBC Countryfile Magazine over the christmas period.

Our trial period happened to fall over a volunteer weekend, and so a number of volunteers helped me out, whilst they were working in the ditch - and apparently, they dont float!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Send your bricks to help build a community

Fordhall Community Land Initiative was founded by 8500 members all buying shares for the community farm buy out. This made history; Can we help create another such miracle?

Well, Martin Large a FCLI member who with Greg Pilley helped get FCLI off the ground with facilitation, financial and legal assistance as part of the Community Farm Land Trust Project is now inviting you to send a brick to the Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper MP in London. The groundbreaking scheme in Stroud, Gloucestershire for securing 11.5 derelict acres of Chases Green Hospital for Gloucestershire Land for People, a community land trust like Fordhall FCLI, is hanging in the balance because the government landowner, English Partnerships have changed their mind

Its not just farms that are unaffordable and inaccessible to young farmers. There is a big shortage of affordable homes for rent or first time purchasers in villages and market towns throughout Britain. Young families on average incomes just cannot afford to live in rural areas any more, as second homes and inflated house prices clear them from their communities. So what’s the answer?

Well, FCLI showed the way with setting up a community land trust, and now there are a number of pioneering CLT’s for affordable homes and community facilities getting going. In theory, Hazel Blears MP, the Communities Minister, welcomes community engagement through CLT development, saying that when government and councils ignore such participation it is a ‘sin’. Yvette Cooper MP welcomes this in housing. But their words don’t match their deeds on the ground, and so we need your help by sending her a brick together with a supporting letter.

This is a defining moment in creating sustainable, inclusive rural communities. So I invite your help to create a value shift for building permanently affordable homes for rural communities through CLT’s like GLP-and then perhaps in your area if needed!

So, Gloucestershire Land for People will be meeting later in November with Yvette Cooper MP, the Housing Minister to invite her to support our original Cashes Green Stroud proposals. But we need your timely support-and a brick. As Ben Franklin used to say, we either hang separately or together!

Please write to Yvette Cooper MP a letter to support our GLP’s Plans for Cashes Green, and that the Government gives the land to GLP for this scheme-as an important National Exemplar Pilot that will pave the way for other such schemes nationally. Say that the brick is your contribution!

Write a message on the brick like, 'For Cashes Green and Gloucestershire Land for People'; get a few other people to sign the brick and date the brick. Be sure to mark on the outside of the parcel containing the brick 'This package contains a brick for Gloucestershire Land for People and Cashes Green and a letter from..." (Security!)

Yvette Cooper MP's address: Department of Housing, DCLG, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU. Or get your MP to deliver it personally-so they can tell the Minister how much affordable homes are needed in your area.

When we meet the Minister, we will collect all your bricks for the first bricks to be laid at Cashes Green. If you put your email on the brick we can send you details of the brick laying celebration. This will be a very tangible way to show your support-and build the CLT movement that Fordhall pioneered.

Martin Large Gloucestershire Land for People
08453 457 599

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Preparation for Volunteer Weekend

Preparing the weekend ahead...This working weekend was particularly special as it was Sophies last volunteer weekend and a chance to see many returing friends.

Don't forget to put the ceilidh in yor diary - Friday December 7th, 7.30pm at The Grove School in Market Drayton. Tickets are £10 and include a Fordhall pork bap!

Now read on for an account of the weekend...
(click on November 2007 at the end of the archive list on the left to see all the pictures from the weekend)

Just Look at the Enthusiasm!

Look at all the happy smiley faces of volunteers! The weekend was well attended and lots of jobs were ticked off making a huge difference to the appearance of Fordhall Farm and really getting to grips with some outstanding jobs. Everyone worked consistently well and the new and returning volunteers founded friendships. Well done to all those who are in the photo and all those who turned up late/only for Sunday and managed to escape the ritual!

Building Work Continues

Work continued with the new farm building. Concrete was laid down and a team of guys worked very well together to move the project on at speed. All fuelled on by cake and delicious food created by the wonderful and essential kitchen staff!

Daffodil Invasion

One of the main tasks for Saturday was planting daffodil bulbs down the driveway. A productive team of keen volunteers took the task in hand and finished the job beautifully whilst others concentrated on removing nettles from hedgerows.

Volunteers Create Guy!

A Guy made from old clothes and leaves gathered by 2 chatty volunteers who created him with love and affection...I am sure he enjoyed his sort life.

Sparkler Sensations

Lots of people joined us for an exciting bring and share bonfire on Saturday evening. There were some fabulous delicious treats and generous donations of fireworks. It was a lovely relaxed evening.

Girl Power Clears Ditch

The girls dig out the ditch whilst the guys find big things to dig out to be manly! The ditch was first dug out by Arthur in 1942 and took him 18 months to clear. That is determination! Fortunately, things were a little easier this time round with more people power.

To Me, To You

Excellent team effort!

In total, over 20 gas bottles were discovered and close to 30 tyres, not to mention other items. And we only completed 1/2 the ditch! It was a really achievement by everyone involved.

Digging for Legs

And of course, some were more unlucky than others (sorry Tess!)

But all in all, it was a really fantastic weekend. Everyone pulled together to help with the biggest jobs and small teams of volunteers were scattered around the farm, each making a difference and improving areas of the farm. A 100% satisfactory weekend. Thank you to everyone involved x