This 41-acre (17- hectare) farm, just outside Stroud, was purchased by the community through the Biodynamic Land Trust in November 2015. Previously known as Lot 3, Hammonds Farm, the community renamed it Oakbrook Community Farm, inspired by the land’s beautiful spring-sourced, oak-lined brook. The farm is Demeter certified organic and in conversion to biodynamic.
The recently established Oakbrook Community Benefit Society (OCBS) signed a 100-year lease with the Land Trust in April 2020. OCBS is developing the farm infrastructure and raised £125,000 from a pioneer share offer. The funds will be used for tracks, fences and a barn. See the OCBS website for more information.
The farm is currently home to a cluster of farm enterprises.
stroud micro dairy
Stroud Micro Dairy, run by farmer Kees Frederiks, produces raw milk, kefir, yogurt and cheese for the people of Stroud thanks to its Holstein-Jersey cows. Following its establishment in March 2017, Stroud Micro Dairy now farms 36 hectares with Oakbrook Farm’s 13 hectares at its core. The micro dairy runs on a community membership basis.
A volunteer at Stroud Micro Dairy, Ellie Price, established her own business, Ellie’s Eggs, rearing pasture-fed chickens. The chickens move slowly (usually weekly) around the farm. As a result their enthusiastic scratching helps to aerate the sward, and the chickens can fertilise lots of the grassland. It is also good for the chickens to be on new pasture regularly as there will always be new bugs for them to find and they don’t get bored. In turn, this helps keep the high quality of the eggs and is also the best way to prevent parasitic worms. Eggs are available via Stroud Micro Dairy.
stroud community agriculture starter farm
Now home to “Nell’s Patch”, this is a 4-acre market garden established under the umbrella of Stroud Community Agriculture (SCA). It allows new growers to develop their skills with the support of SCA. There is a polytunnel and small greenhouse to assist with growing vegetables and raising seedlings.
Designed by Christian Gruetzmacher, the Bee Observatory is a meeting place for humans and honey bees. The project aims to encourage individuals and groups to discover and develop their unique relationship with bees. There are three self-built observation hives on display plus a national hive with surprise observation features too. The garden hosts free open days for the community.
A new experimental agroforestry project, Oakbrook Orchard is run by Jessie Marcham and Sarah Robertson. They planted their pilot phase in December 2020. This consisted of 22 apple trees with an understorey of soft fruit and daffodils. They hope to operate on a Community Supported Agriculture basis, supplying a seasonal fruit share to members.
The Zerodig plots run by Mario Peters and Christopher Upton replicate a forest’s sustainable growing system. This removes the need to plough, stores carbon and builds soil health. The beds at Oakbrook are ready for the growing season.
Visiting Oakbrook farm
The farm is located near the gates to Hawkwood College on Painswick Old Road, Gloucestershire GL6 7QW. The entrance is through a gate about 50 yards south of Hawkwood College’s entrance. Please feel free to walk on any of the marked public footpaths.
’This project is a brilliant demonstration of how restoring and enhancing the ecological fertility of land can have huge social and economic benefits for local communities. Re-localising our economies around sustainably productive land, as is the case with this land in Stroud, can help provide food security while providing education, training and job opportunities for local people’