Here you can browse through our successful projects:
The owners needed to sell but wanted the land to continue in biodynamic stewardship.
Turning a farm and business park into a community-owned enterprise so it may remain a biodynamic farm and social hub.
A renewable energy company that re-invests surplus in biodynamic and sustainable farming.
Secured by the Biodynamic Land Trust in 2012, the 38-acre Brambletye Fields is part of Tablehurst Farm in Forest Row, East Sussex, RH18 5DP.
In spring 2019, Tablehurst was delighted to acquire five Jersey cows to start a small dairy. It’s been a steep learning curve getting everything up and running, but Tablehurst are now selling their own raw milk from a vending machine – an unadulterated farm product with next to no packaging!
Since its inception as a community farm, Tablehurst has run a small care home for three adults with learning disabilities. This is quite a challenge with the weight of regulation that applies to care homes, so they were delighted to receive a very positive report (good in all categories) from the Care Quality Commission in 2019.
In the last 12 months, Tablehurst been working hard to build up their community engagement activities, and over the summer they have a weekly “Volunteer Wednesday” week when typically a dozen people come to the farm to participate in a variety of tasks. This initiative was launched in March 2019 after a hugely successful volunteer day when about 20 volunteers helped to plant over a thousand trees at the farm.
Tablehurst also have a busy programme of community events including farm talks and walks, a butchery class and some opportunities to relax at the farm. For more information see the Tablehurst Farm website.
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Stockwood Community Benefit Society secures Rush Farm
By Sebastian Parsons
By the end of 2013, I am delighted to say we achieved our £1 million target. Thanks to loans and community shares, the Society-now a charity at law- is currently purchasing Rush Farm and its rural business park, and will become its new owner and manager.
My two sisters and I bought Rush Farm and Stockwood Business Park in Worcestershire in 2005. Then, a barren wheat monoculture, it is now a Soil Association and Demeter-certified mixed farm with a diverse landscape of wetlands and woodland, and lush pasture for 30 native Hereford cattle and 200 Lleyn sheep.
Farmland is precious; we must safeguard what little we have. But what happens when farmers grow too old to farm, or die? There is no guarantee the land will survive as a farm, especially when there are huge profits to be gained by selling it.
Access to land is a huge problem for farmers. All growers, whether sustainable or intensive, make insufficient profit to service a mortgage. Wealthy investors regard land as a safe haven hence its high price. Throughout this recession, the price of land has continued to rise.
Now, thankfully, our farm is on a path to being secure. As Stockwood Community Benefit Society establishes itself, and new shareholders join, we have a surplus of income from our business park rental for reinvestment . We can now move to the next stage. Education, the core of positive change, is built into the objects of the Society.
Our aim is to demonstrate how farming 150 acres can provide a sustainable living. Via farm-visits and web-based communications, our working farm becomes a practical teaching aid, and free communal resource for farmers and growers. Rush Farm can model how biodynamic farming methods produce healthy organisms, crops and animals, cut down cost and boost productivity.
We also want to create an amazing visitor experience for school children and our shareholder members. We have ear-marked 10 acres as an ‘inner-farm’, a smallholding for crops and rare animal breeds. Visitors can experience with their own senses the natural cycles of life, and the intricate interplay of healthy soil, plants and animals. The farm is our teacher. Now we hope it will teach generations to come.
Sebastian Parsons is CEO of Elysia and oversees shareholder engagement and finances for Stockwood CBS
Since this article was written, Sebastian has left Elysia and is now the Chief Executive of Stockwood CBS.
In 2013, the BDLT set up a separate social business called Ecodynamic Community Benefit Society.
Its aims are:
- To invest in develop and run renewable energy generation projects
- To re-invest surplus in biodynamic and sustainable farming
Our first project, called Geoff Watson (after a wind energy pioneer), is a 60KW Endurance wind turbine. Located near Redruth in Cornwall, it has been successfully generating power since June 2013.
Ecodynamic is exploring the development of other wind and solar projects in Wales, Lancashire and Devon.
We will be reopening our share offer for Geoff Watson – an investment which attracts a projected rate of interest of 5% plus a one off Enterprise Investment Scheme of 30% of the amount invested.
Do contact us if you are interested in investing.