Charlotte Hollins

Fordhall Community Land Initiative

Agriculture

West Midlands

We own Fordhall Organic Farm, after a national campaign to save it from industrial development and place it into community ownership in 2006. The farm became England's first community-owned farm following the sale of 50 non-profit making community shares to over 8,000 community shareholders worldwide.

The Fordhall Community Land Initiative now provides affordable access to land to new and young entrants to farming, whilst also providing long term security (something not available in modern tenancy agreements). Alongside this, the land is also utilised for the benefit of the local community, by the community landlord. A care farm operates to support adults with learning disabilities increase their life skills, build independence and help them integrate into the wider community.

A youth project supports vulnerable and struggling young people through the use of practical tasks to help build confidence and self-esteem. Free access to the farm is provided for all visitors to help raise awareness of organic farming practices and the connections between food and nature. Over 70 educational visits are run each year, many of which are offered free to surrounding schools. We can now offer overnight accommodation for school groups through the newly built Straw Lodge.

Over 100 volunteer placements are offered each year to support the unemployed, to help combat loneliness, build experience, and support mental well-being. A local and organic food cafe provides a gateway to new visitors, offering freshly cooked nutritional food at affordable prices. Ultimately, we want to highlight and encourage an appreciation for good food, our environment and those who work on the land.

To help generate income we also offer accommodation in our onsite yurts, meeting room space, and accommodation and space for holistic retreats.

Fordhall is a place that nurtures wildlife, loves food and welcomes everyone.

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