Growing farms in the UK

Wicker basket with freshly picked produce on the ground

The day after my mother’s funeral (glitter and gold in her honour), I got my dream job, as marketing and communications manager for the Biodynamic Land Trust, a charitable community benefit society.

The Biodynamic Land Trust grows farms. Founded in 2011, it secures biodynamic and organic farmland for community-ownership, 300 acres so far.

I am excited to be with an organisation working at the grassroots. The grassroots is where it’s at.

How does a community get to own a farm? Through buying community shares.

With interest at an all-time low, many investors are thinking ‘outside the bank’. By investing  in (withdrawable) community shares in an ethical enterprise, money can do good. 

Three freshly-laid eggs in a child's hand at Huxhams Cross Farm

Take Huxhams Cross Farm in Devon. Secured by the Biodynamic Land Trust in 2015, it is achieving great things thanks to community investment. The farm is in conversion to biodynamic agriculture. Its previously-bare fields are regaining fertility through green manures and soil-nurturing biodynamic preparations. 

The fledgling farm has planted 900 orchard trees, two acres of soft fruit, and 3,500 agro-forestry trees. It has a hundred chickens and two Shetland heifers.

Run by food-growing and wellbeing experts, the Apricot Centre, it has also raised a new barn, developed access to parking and organises a weekly box delivery with fellow local farmers, offering vegetables, fruit, eggs, and spring water from Dartmoor.

Signpost at Huxhams Cross Farm

The farm needs electricity and to harvest water, and to build a training and wellbeing centre. The centre will enable cooking, on-farm processing, and on-farm therapy for children (being on a farm is incredibly de-stressing for kids and increases the therapeutic offering). 

Are you inspired to help Huxhams Cross Farm? Invest now in Huxhams Cross Farm community share offer.

Children helping with harvest at Huxhams Cross Farm

POST SCRIPT

I made marmalade on Sunday.

Preserving pan with warm marmalade

I was about to compost the pith and pips when Michael said: whoa, and now its citrusy-ness fibre goes in every smoothie.  By the way, if you can get organic Seville oranges, do. More orangey.

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For several years I have kept my mother, Fay Winkler, in marmalade.

She was my marmalade’s biggest fan.

Her testimony is below.

 

6 responses to “Growing farms in the UK

  1. Great news about the job! Hope it goes well for you. There’s nothing quite like homemade marmalade. Keep busy!

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  2. Very best wishes for the job ahead Elisabeth.
    Glad to see your photographic skills are improving over the years – loving the dreamy ‘spatula lick’ 😉

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    • Ha ha! If irony was not intended (for I am indeed no photographer) then I must confess none of those pictures were taken by me. Images of Huxham Cross Farm from the farm, and the others are by my partner, Michael. But I believe I do a good line in hamming (or should that be jamming?) things up. Thank you, John!

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  3. Sounds great! When people buy shares, they expect to get a return on their money, called a dividend I think. Is that the case here?

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  4. Thanks for the question, PJW. Some community shares do indeed offer a return for their investment. Currently, however, Huxhams Cross Farm does not offer its investors a financial return.

    The ultimate goal for a community-owned farm such as Huxhams Cross Farm is to be so viable that it can offer a dividend.

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