Hello and welcome to our new-look newsletter!

It's a bittersweet treat from us this month as we say goodbye to Ellie and her eggs – read her personal goodbye below. Plus we're announcing some exciting events for families during October half term, and new job opportunities with Stroud Micro Dairy!

First here's a summary of upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

  • Bee Observatory volunteer days are still taking place fortnightly on Saturday afternoons. Contact bee.observatory@gmail.com for specific details. 
  • Our Farm Hand Team are also looking for people keen to get stuck-in removing barbed wire from the brook. A physical, messy and super-fun job! 

For more information, or if you have another way you would like to get involved, you can always get in touch via admin@oakbrookfarm.org.uk

Goodbye and Thank You from Ellie

After an amazing three and a half years of Ellie’s Eggs here at Oakbrook, this Autumn I feel it’s time to move on and have a change so I have decided to pass the business on. I have always had a love of animals and farming; however, with relatively little experience it was tricky trying to find a way to seriously get into the farming world. I never really pictured myself setting up a business, but at the time, whilst volunteering at the micro dairy, the idea and opportunity presented itself so I just went for it! 

It has been an incredible experience, through which I have had a lot of joy, learnt so much and gained a massive amount of confidence in my farming abilities. I am extremely grateful to Oakbrook Farm for providing this gateway for me, and being the place where I have had such tremendous time. Thank you for saying yes to the chickens!

I especially want to thank Kees as well, who has always been supportive and helpful, both initially and throughout with the chickens, for giving me a job at the dairy where I have had an equally awesome time, and for letting me drive his tractor.

One of the most rewarding things about having the chickens has been to see and hear how much joy they give, both with their personalities and their eggs. Thank you so much for all the lovely words of appreciation over the years.

Although it will be sad saying goodbye to the girls, I am happy to report that it is not the end of everything! I am passing the equipment on to new and exciting Cultivate Abundance, who in the coming months will be setting up a new chicken enterprise Abundance Eggs, to be selling through neighbouring Stroud Community Agriculture, (and possibly elsewhere too) so members of SCA watch this space!

Announcing our Family Nature Play Days

 

We are so pleased to announce dates for our first in a series of Family Nature Play Days being organised in collaboration with Into Nature CIC. Funding from the National Lottery means we are able to offer the whole event free to children, and we would especially like to hear from families who lack access to time in nature and those who live on a tight budget. Booking is essential. See below for more details and please help us get the word out by sharing with your contacts.  Do you know a family who would benefit from some time in nature during half term?

Would you like to work with Stroud Micro Dairy? 

The SMD team have two kick start placements that they are currently advertising for. Kickstart is a government scheme to help those between the ages of 16 and 25 into work. If you know of anyone who might enjoy working with cows and would like to gain experience on a dairy farm please get them to contact their local job centre or follow the link below to apply.

https://findajob.dwp.gov.uk/details/7004306


They are also looking someone that has a bit of livestock experience to train up as a relief milker. The position would be for 1-2 mornings a week and would suit someone who would like to regain some sanity by getting out of the office or needs work to fit around kids and school. Ring Kees on 07594533648 if you are interested.

A visit from Siobhan Baillie MP


In response to her request, last month we showed our local MP around the Farm.


We talked to her about the climate emergency, the collapse of just-in-time food supply chains, and the need to heal the damage to the soil caused by intensive farming. 


She was polite and enthusiastic, but we wonder whether we managed to convey the seriousness of the current situation, and remain curious to see whether her interest will be reflected in the way she votes in Westminster.

Biodynamic Preparations


The use of herbal and mineral preparations to improve health and vitality of the soil, compost and crops is a mainstay of biodynamic farming. 


Left you can see Kees with the Horn Silica preparations ready for application which is achieved using a knapsack sprayer.


Horn Silica promotes the metabolism and assimilation of plants and enhances plant health by increasing their resilience. 

Could you use some woodchip?


Oakbrook members and supporters are welcome to help themselves to the huge woodchip mountain near the entrance of the farm. Fantastically versatile, and it smells pretty great too! 


If you are able, there is a completely optional suggested donation of £2 for any large bag or £5 per m3 for larger amounts.


We would love to see it go to good use!

Finally, here's an update from our Land Coordinator, Christian;

  "It's great to see so much interest in the Haven Field which has seen an increase in public bookings. As well as our regular tenants at the Grove home education project, a number of other community groups are now holding activities on the Haven including Outdoor Church and Stroud Woodcraft. 


  Stroud District Council will soon be helping us to install fences as part of their flood management programme. This will enable us to remove the remaining barbed wire fencing and install a permissive footpath along the brook, with pedestrian gates which will improve public access. 


  Lastly, all materials for our new compost toilet have now been sourced and construction will take place with our volunteer team over the next month." 

That's all from the Oakbrook team for now.

We hope to have exciting news about the new barn construction later in the Autumn; until then have a wonderful October!