Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fordhall goes international!

Earlier today we had a visit from 18 members of the Japanese Agricultural Cooperative.  Membership of the organisation is approximately 95 million and includes almost all farmers in Japan and associate non farmers.

The organisation offers guidance on farming and lifestyle matters, market agricultural products, supplying production materials, loan and savings advice, and it provides facilities for sharing machinery between farms.

At present there are 709 agricultural cooperatives across Japan, which plan to amalgamate into one in the near future.

The group of 18 representative advisors and researchers came to England for 3 days to learn about organic farming and other ways of solving agricultural issues in Japan. As part of their visit they chose to visit Fordhall - we were very proud!

Becca and I took them on a tour of the farm, on a windy autumn day, with our translater in tow. We talked about the community ownership scheme and the organic farming system we run - including 'Foggage'. Then it was back to our new sustainably renovated barn for a hearty buffet lunch.

We think they found the share issue without financial dividends an interesting one to understand, but they did seem to enjoy themselves - they certainly took a lot of notes!

Here is a pic of our tour group just before they left. We would like to say a big thank you for choosing to visit Fordhall and also for our origami gift. Maybe we will get the opportunity to visit Japan sometime in return....
P.S. Don't forget we have Autumnal Family Activities this Thursday 10am-12pm, £2 per child - limited places so please book.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Activities at Fordhall Farm

We began our day today with the fantastic news that Sophie Hopkins (one of the original Fordhall Farm team) gave birth to a beautiful baby boy yesterday! Congratulations to Sophie and Hugo and welcome to the world baby Owen!

After our flurry of excitement, we got back to business. There are lots of fun activities coming up over the next few weeks beginning with….

The wonderful Jonathan Day who is appearing live here on Saturday 27th, he will be performing a mix of contemporary and traditional folk along with the talented Simon on double bass.  Jonathan has been touring the world promoting his new album Between the Worlds.  He was on Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk show on BBC Radio Shropshire last Sunday. If you missed it (or don’t get Radio Shropshire) here is the link to listen again http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00yzsnv 
During the interval a hearty Fordhall supper will be served (vegetarian option available).  Local ales and wines will be for sale too.  Tickets are only £15 and include food. 
Don’t forget that British Summer Time ends on Sunday morning 1am…the clocks go back and we all get an extra hour in bed! Hooray!

So, with the extra hour of sleep you should all be raring to go on Sunday evening when we are holding our Fun and Frights Night.  This has been very successful over the past 2 years and we are quite excited about it (see previous post for more detail).  The office smells of fresh pumpkin and apple and my desk is surrounded by skeletons and gravestones ready for spooking on Sunday!  Tickets are still available for this event, £3 in advance (£5 on the gate) Adults go Free!!
Two Little Monsters!
Still want more? We have a lovely family activity on Thursday 1st November (where has the year gone!?).  Come and join in the Autumn Abodes Activity with Beth and create cosy homes for sleepy hedgehogs and snug nests for hibernating mice.  With the winter coming in, wildlife all around the country will be gathering food and preparing their beds for the cold months ahead.  It’s only £2 per child and booking is essential. Suitable for 4-11 year olds.

For more information or to book onto any of these events or activities, please call us in the office on 01630 638696.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fun and Frights Night

Things are coming together for the Fun and Frights night this Sunday.

Last night, 14 year old Henry Stanhope delivered 50 pumpkins (along with help from his Dad); they are currently being gutted in the office ready for carving during the event.  

Henry Stanhope and his pumpkins
Volunteer Will donated apples from his garden orchard and I collected some more from Concord College this morning, these will be prepped ready for apple bobbing on Sunday. 

Lots of thought and planning is going into the creation of the Spooky Tunnel and I will be digging up the remains of Mr Ghoul to put in the feely boxes along his Creepy Trail – eyeballs, scabs, skin –the lot!

If you’re not running around Ghost Hunting, then Smoky Cauldrons will be in place to keep you warm.  Resident Story Teller will be in the Haunted Classroom and just in case you forgot your scary outfit, we’ll have a Face Painter on standby to turn you into a gruesome monster! At 6.30pm the Fancy Dress Competition will be held, every child that enters gets a prize!

Phew! When you are ready for a sit down – The Cabin will be open serving hot food and the Tea Room will also be open serving hot drinks and cake.  Now with our new alcohol license in place, local ales and wines will also be available.
Two Ghouls enjoying a Fordhall Bap and a hot drink

If you haven’t got your tickets yet, there is still time…Its only £3 in advance (£5 on the door) and the best bit is adults go free!  Give us a call in the office 01630 638696 to buy your tickets.
Beware...these monsters may be here again this year!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October Volunteer Working Weekend!!

Last weekend 13th and 14th we held our autumn working weekend. We were lucky enough to be joined by a fantastic bunch of volunteers who had come from all over the country, even from overseas, to get stuck in to what turned out to be some very mucky jobs!

The muddiest job of all was the challenge of repairing the board walk down in the meadow, for those of you who have visited Fordhall you will be aware that the meadow is quite a quagmire even at the best of times, and it certainly didn't disappoint. The board walk is a set of boards built and layed out so people can walk across the meadow without getting stuck in the mud. However, it can happily take the weight of people, but unfortunately the cows proved to be too much and many of the boards sunk into the mud. A small team of well prepared volunteers worked all weekend on designing and re-building a better and more secure way of keeping the boards above the mud, they did a fantastic job and although one or two got stuck and lost a wellie or two, they all had great fun!



Other jobs that were done were:
1) Re-roofing the portacabins
2) Weeding and clearing round the young newly planted trees
3) Fixing the fence around the picnic area
4) Designing and painting signs and items for halloween
Last but not least:
5) Sewing the yurt insulation ready for their renovation, using the many buttons that were kindly donated by supporters to give the yurts a cosy and fashionable finish.

Also, on the weekend we held the BIG draw kids activity, to get children and families into showing off their artistic sides and creating a 'Green Space' that had inspired them in 2012. This event was held on Sunday and was a huge success. The activity was held outside in our picnic area in the glorious sunshine surrounded by the farms beautiful green space, a perfect place for getting the creative juices flowing.

A huge THANK YOU!! to everyone who came and took part in the weekend and gave up their free time to get mucky on the farm. We couldn't do what we do without the help and support of all of our volunteers and it was a pleasure to see some new faces joining us for the weekend.

Hope to see you all again at the farm in the future, here's to another great weekend!

Beth Kennett

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The BIG Draw 2012!

The BIG draw is back at Fordhall for another year! Everyone is invited to come and join us at the farm to unleash their creative side in this fun filled activity where children and adults can display their artistic talents either by drawing or building models out of recycled materials.
The big draw is a free activity that was set up by Quentin Blake (the illustrator of Roald Dahl's books) to try and get children and adults alike into bringing out their artistic sides in free events. Whether you like to be precise in your drawings or have more of a rustic hand here's the place to have a go and have some fun.
Last years big draw theme was fantastic creatures where imaginations were key in creating your own unique animal, for example a 'sheep,pig,cow' combining a mixture of all three or a ten eyed, six legged mole. This years theme is '2012 Green Spaces', using your imagination and memories to create your most inspiring Green Space of 2012!

Come along and see what you can create!

Beth Kennett