Where – Near Market Drayton, Shropshire, UK
When – 18th April 2014
Who – Charlotte Hollins (co-founder)
What – England’s first community-owned farm – 1 farmer, 8000 landlords – all about community, farming and nature working together.
Why – Facing eviction in the early 2000s, Charlotte and her brother Ben fought to save the farm by selling shares to be able to buy the tenanted farm outright. With thanks to a media campaign creating huge amounts of support, Fordhall is now a community land initiative, running as a farm and a popular community resource.
How – Fordhall has a cafe, farm shop, various walks around the land for people to enjoy, yurts to stay in, a community garden, working weekends, and various workshops and events, all for people to come and enjoy. They engage young people in sustainability issues mostly through their education programmes and school visits. They are constantly investigating ways of increasing sustainability thinking in subtle ways, according to the audiences they are catering for.
Find out more – www.fordhallfarm.com
Personal reflections – Inspiring story – great to see it in reality. Interesting approach to inspiring environmental sustainability; unlike most other initiatives I’ve been looking into, it is by nature engaging with a different, maybe more mainstream, kind of audience, which Charlotte suggested requires a more subtle approach to inspiring greater action towards environmental sustainability. The focus on community, and the environmentally sound farming techniques used fundamentally contribute, but I think I should maybe see how school trips run, or go on a volunteer weekend, to understand how much more Fordhall embeds principles of sustainability helping people take ownership and leadership over these issues in those more specific settings. Charlotte invited me to share any thoughts or suggestions I’ve got for getting people more engaged so I’ll have to have a bit more of a think…