Some of our Quality Team spent last week in Helsinki, working with teachers from Finland, Norway, UK and Denmark, teaching and discussing integrative education and assessment as part of our Erasmus funded project. An excellent week was had by all!
Text: The dust has certainly been stirred up in the UK agriculture sector following the Brexit result of last Thursday. In my last blog post the big issue was the fate of Roundup and glyphosates in the EU – the renewal of the licence for these being delayed and a decision will rest on further study of potential negative effects of glyphosate in the food chain. A significant role, from an agroecological perspective, that has been played by the EU is the regulation of GMO’s and many member states have opted out of growing GMO’s. It remains to be seen what emerges in a Brexit UK. The NFU states on their website that farmers in the UK have been frustrated by an “excessive use of the precautionary principle” (see www.nfuonline.com – article of 24.06.2016). Now that the vote has been cast what does this mean for consumers, who will want to be sure that developments in agriculture continue to be carefully scrutinized?
Message on behalf of the Biodynamic Land Trust
Please pledge support for the community buy-out of farmland abutting Hawkwood College land on the West, North and South.
Hammonds Farm is now for sale, from 1st June. This arable and beef farm is within close walking distance of Stroud. It surrounds Hawkwood College land on the North, West and South. The Biodynamic Land Trust is working with Hawkwood, local farmers and organisations to see if together we can secure the land as a community asset.
This is a rare opportunity to secure a beautiful area of land on the doorstep of Stroud town for environmental, economic and community benefit and we need your help to make it happen.
“Hammonds farm has huge potential and this is a unique opportunity to develop an exceptional community resource near to the town and surrounding our beautiful Hawkwood grounds. We are enormously excited about the prospect of collaborating with the Biodynamic Land Trust, Stroud Community Agriculture and other organisations to support the Biodynamic Land Trust to secure the land and all that it could offer for the local community”. Alicia Carey, Principal, Hawkwood
What are we trying to do?
We need to raise £360,000 to buy this land.
Why? The local community is bursting with people with food growing initiatives. If this land can be secured, then we can co-create a new ‘Stroud Valleys Farm’ (Name TBA). This will support a range of existing activities and generate new projects such as:
- Stroud Community Agriculture based at Hawkwood and Brookthorpe to increase food production with more land
- A starter farm for young entrant farmers
- A cluster of farm enterprises producing a range of good food from farm animals, arable and horticulture, addressing local needs for vegetables, dairy, meat and soft fruit
The potential benefits for the local community are huge:
- Sustainable organic, biodynamic farming that improves soil fertility, reduces the carbon footprint and increases food quality
- Community connected activities through permissive access, festivals, events, volunteering, arts activities and therapy/care farming
- Enhanced landscape, biodiversity, wildlife and environmental value that will make the farm into a special place, a ‘green oasis’
- Education and training in sustainable agriculture, horticulture and ecology with Hawkwood
Right now, the urgent priority is to secure the land.
Hammonds Farm information
Come and see Lot 3 of Hammonds Farm for yourself on Wednesday June 17th at 4pm, meeting at the gates of Hawkwood College on Wick Street! A farm sale brochure is available from email@example.com A map and more information is on www.biodynamiclandtrust.org.uk The whole farm is approximately 180 acres, with a farmhouse and farm buildings, to be sold together or in three lots. We are interested in Lot 3, around 41.12 acres, which is west of Hawkwood, as we think this is achievable through a community buy out. However, there may be enough support from donors, community share investors and large investors to secure the whole farm in partnership with the BDLT.
How can we secure this land?
Hawkwood College and Stroud Community Agriculture support the BDLT securing this land, along with other people and organisations. Stroud has a history of successful community co-op land buy-outs. The Folly Wood community buy-out by Stroud Co-op Woodlands, took five days from initial email to auction! Stroud Common Wealth helped pioneer community co-op investment nationally assisting the Fordhall Farm community buy out in 2006, when over 8,000 people invested £800,000 in community shares.
The Stroud based Biodynamic Land Trust, a charitable co-op community benefit society, has developed this work of securing farms through community buy-outs, such as for Tablehurst Community Farm, Sussex, Stockwood’s Rush Farm near Redditch and Huxham’s Cross Farm, Dartington, Totnes.
You are warmly invited to help secure this farmland. We need your support NOW so we can make a bid for Lot 3. Please RSVP by 18 June telling us what support you can give e.g.:
- Pledging to invest £250 in community shares (10 instalments possible)
- Investing in ‘an acre share’ at approx.£9,000 an acre
- Making a long or short term interest free loan
- Making a gift to help raise the share offer, feasibility and business planning costs
- Helping organise and publicise the community buy-out
- Passing this Invitation to Pledge on to friends, colleagues and family
You are invited to view the farm on 17 June at 4pm, meeting at the Hawkwood College gates, Wick Street. Some of us will walk there from Star Anise Café, departing at 3.30pm. If we have raised at least £75,000 in pledges by 18 June, then the BDLT will match this sum, and decide to go ahead with contacting you with a Community Share Offer. There will be updates on the www.biodynamiclandtrust.org.uk website and the BDLT Blog.
If and when the bid is accepted, we will contact those who have made pledges.
This is a crucial moment in Stroud’s history of community ownership, which goes back to raising public subscriptions for building the Sub Rooms.
Please join us to secure this community farm.
Yours with best wishes,
Martin Large, Director, Gabriel Kaye, Society Secretary
How to RSVP your support or pledge:
– Email on firstname.lastname@example.org