Friday, December 21, 2007

Sophie's Last Day At Fordhall Farm

Well, the day has finally come. It is my last day in the office and in between eating chocolate cake, I am trying to get everything in a resonable order so the new person in January doesn't have to adapt to my abstract filing systems. I have been involved in the Fordhall Community Land Initiative since Feb 2005 and still believe it is a fantastic and inspiring project. But it is time for pastures new! I am off to assist in a primary school and orphanage in Kenya Jan - April then I will return looking for a new project to get to grips with.

I have been very privilaged to work and meet with so many fantastic people. I have a particular fondness for all the volunteers. They vary in ages, skills and availablity but they are all great - from those that come every week or every working weekend, to those that come once or twice throughout a year. Everyone is remembered and equally important.

Likewise, all the people who we meet when out and about or who drop by with tools and other things to donate are incredibly important to the sustainability of the project. Everyones enthusiasm, no matter how moderate or extreme, builds together to ensure the momentum of the project does not wane. It is this, and the chance to learn so much more and meet so many wonderful people, that makes everyday so rewarding and interesting.

Thank you and I'm sure I'll be back to join in as a genuine volunteer at some point in the future!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and an exciting HAPPY 2008. May it be filled with laughter.

Sophie x

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Awards and dances - it's all go at Fordhall Farm!

CONGRATULATIONS to Fordhall Community Land Initiative for winning the award for 'The Most Care and Consideration Towards Volunteers' in Shropshire. This exciting award reflects not only the hard work that goes into making volunteers welcome and feel appreciated, but also the fact that so many volunteers reguarly return and all seem to enjoy themselves! It was a real compliment to the Initiative.

Also - Congratulations to Sophie for being in the final for the Best Volunteer Manager Award. Here she is, pictured with Mark from Volunteering England.

To celebrate the award and to introduce the Christmas spirit Fordhall Farm held an exciting, blood pumping ceilidh at the local secondary school. In total 65 enthusiastic people joined together to try and follow the steps whilst having lots of fun and filling the room with laughter. There was a lovely buffet and a delicious Fordhall pork bap.

A huge thanks MUST go to all the volunteers who helped pull the event together on the day - decorating the hall and ensuring everything ran smootly on the night. All your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Onwards to another exciting year ahead with new challenges and ambitions. We hope you enjoy the journey!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Aftermath of the BBC Good Food Show

It is an unexpected joy to be back in the office today. I (Charlotte) attended every day of the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham representing Fordhall Farm and the Fordhall Community Land Initiative. Our first time at the exhibition has been a tiring, yet enjoyable 5 days.

There were various other helpers along the way including Yvonne, Sophie, Julia, Bryan and Elaine. All contributed to a very successful exhibition. We sold books, shares and of course meat - whilst Ben was at the farm looking after the animals and working in the butchery to keep us well stocked!

It was an interesting show, with some days being extremely slow and others being busier. Some of the highlights were meeting shareholders for the first time and talking to customers direct through the 'Meet the producer' workshops we were involved with.

These were Food Tasting workshops with Jimmy Docherty from Jimmy's Farm in Essex (from the TV series 'Jimmy's Farm') and Jonathan from Welsh Farm Organics. Both are great people and great fun to work with. In a similar position to ourselves, they rely wholly on customers buying local food.

It was especially encouraging to see the number of people at the weekend workshops, who were all keen to meet the local producers and who all had an obvious affection for good local food. We need them to continue disseminating the important benefits of buying locally. Not only for the environment, but also for the small farmers future, and of course your health through the quality produce you buy and eat in return.

We spoke about many issues including health, organics, supermarkets, and good sausages!

I am sure we will form stronger links with both Jimmy and Jonathan in the future.

P.S. Dont forget our Ceilidh (BARN DANCE) in Market Drayton this Friday at 7.30pm. There will be plenty of food and drink, so great fun whether you spend the night dancing or chatting. See you there