We live, work and play in our community. We know our activities affect other people living, working and playing in our area. Here’s a bit about what we do.
Education and play
That’s how our food business started! We opened up the farm for three successive Open Farm Sunday events, in 2007-09. We welcomed visitors to our farm for a walk and talk about how we produce food and how we look after the biodiversity and environment. Since then we have promoted Open Farm Sunday at Tonbridge Farmers’ Market in 2014.
Two local schools have been to visit. Claire visits local primary schools to teach them about growing wheat, sometimes as part of the Bake Your Lawn initiative promoted by The Real Bread Campaign. As part of the same project we gave out wheat seed at Penshurst Farmers’ Market in 2012, and then milled the resulting crops a few months later.
Our local scout groups use our fields and wood for some of their activities occasionally.
In 2014-2015 we hosted some important cover crop trials for Natural England, welcoming two large groups of farmers to see the trials. Cover crops benefit the soil in many ways, competing out weeds, preventing soil erosion, keeping hold of water and therefore preventing flooding, and some even fix nitrogen into the soil which benefits the following crop.
Sometimes we make a smell. Sorry. We don’t like it either. The more local organic waste we use, the less chemical fertiliser we need. That’s good for the planet. We use a lot of compost, which is made from your recycled food waste. So you put it in those orange lidded bins, the council take it to a big composting site near West Malling, and when it’s been made into compost, we go and get it and spread it on our fields. We spread thousands of tonnes of waste food on our land most years. It’s not smelly – we walk around on it! We also take chicken muck from Fridays, the egg producer near Cranbrook – this is the smelliest thing we spread on our land. You may also see paper waste on our fields, from paper mills in North Kent. We do not spread sewage sludge on our land. Sometimes we spread farmyard manure from the local dairy farm.
Whatever we’re spreading, we check the weather forecast before we spread. If we can spread just before it rains, that really helps damp down any smell. It is unfortunate that sometimes the forecast is wrong and we don’t get the rain. We try to spread at the beginning of the week, so that the smell is gone by the weekend.
We have hosted the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match twice in recent years. Guy has been a member of the committee which organises it for many years.
We organised and hosted Kent Young Farmers’ Clubs Mini-Rally in 2015, an afternoon when clubs in Kent had the opportunity to have fun and compete in competitions. Claire helps Kent YFC organise their Sports and Competitions programme. Claire is the current President of Kent County Federation of YFCs and enjoying it immensely!
Membership & Co-operating with others
We are members of Produced in Kent, Kent Farmers’ Market Association, and The Real Bread Campaign. We are members of the National Farmers’ Union and BASE-UK – Biology, Agriculture, Soil & Environment. This is an innovating group of arable farmers, leading the way on soil health and conservation.