Hi friend, here's our March newsletter
We've got our AGM coming up plus some amazing news about securing a large amount of funding for the farm. Farm tenants are busy planting seedlings for the year ahead, and our Family Nature Play sessions are back! Read on for more…First here's a summary of upcoming
Events and Volunteer Opportunities
On Saturday 19th March (tomorrow) and Saturday 23rd April
we will be holding our monthly volunteer days. Meet us outside the dairy at 10 am or join in on the Haven field any time until 2 pm. All welcome!
On Thursday 31st March
we have our Annual General Meeting from 7-9 pm on zoom. Details below.
Starting on Monday 11th April
we are thrilled to announce our rescheduled Family Nature Play Days. We have 10 of these wonderful sessions coming up, made possible by funding from the National Lottery. For the full list of dates and more info on how to book read on.
At the moment we are also keen to hear from volunteers with expertise in websites, social media and book-keeping. If you're interested in getting involved behind the scenes or for more info on any of these events, reply to this email.
An update from the OCBS Board of Directors by Sarah Fotheringham
Despite the rain and wild winds that swept the farm recently, some huge steps have been made and the future is looking bright indeed. We are thrilled that we have finally made our initial payment on materials for our long awaited barn, with construction on track to take place this summer. When complete, the barn will offer huge new possibilities for us and our tenants.
The rest of the board would like to offer a huge hearty *thank you* to fellow Director Sarah Jackson who has found time aside from running her own busy farm in the Slad Valley to successfully secure over £73,000 in funding through the Countryside Stewardship scheme. This means the farm can pursue further infrastructure projects including fencing, path laying and more, and recoup the money from the Rural Payments Agency.
We are also relieved that the first stage of our necessary ash felling work is almost complete, along with the 'hair cuts' given to our 4 ancient, veteran trees which will preserve their lives. Though unfortunate, removing the ash at this point means we can secure the brook and the Haven for use by the public for future years. We are working on a ceremony to mark the removal of these trees, and will be exploring options for replanting later in the year.
We are ready for the AGM on the 31st of March and are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible on zoom, ensuring the safety and comfort of all participating in these troubled times. We are still looking for one more Director to join us and help pursue our ambitious plans for the next year. Are you interested? Do you have skills in finance or project management and would like to invest a little time in your local community regenerative farming community? If you are interested and want to know more about what the role entails and whether you could be a good fit, get in touch – we would love to hear from you.
Tree work on the Haven field
Pictured: One of our veteran Oaks after it's crown thinning hair cut. The removed brash has been used to make a natural fence that will protect the roots and base of the tree, keeping people away which protects tree health.
Volunteers Rich and Oscar install fence posts. This ancient Beech is getting frail and needs some peace and quiet. The fence designates a protected area keeping cows and people away and protecting from summer branch drop.
Our Family Nature Play Days are back!
Following their postponement last Autumn, our Family Nature Play Days are back as promised. Working in collaboration with Into Nature CIC forest school providers, and made possible by funding from The National Lottery, we are offering 10 sessions free for children to attend.
Booking is essential, please visit the Into Nature Booking Page
We would like to make these sessions available to as many local families as possible so please share with your networks and anyone who may be interested, and as always get in touch for more information.
Tenant update from Stroud Community Agriculture
Here's grower Sam in the polytunnel with thousands of seedlings for this years harvest. The salad in the background is part of the SCA vegbox scheme, just next door at Hawkwood. Talk about 0 food miles!
Supporting community engagement with nature and sustainable farming as at the core of our ethos, and so we were pleased to learn about this initiative by the Land Workers' Alliance and The Country Trust who are calling on DEFRA to create funding for food-related outdoor education opportunities. This is the sort of funding that Oakbrook Farm could use to help local children in Gloucestershire learn more and care more about where their food comes from…
If you can spare just 5 minutes, you can follow THIS LINK to send an easy template letter to your local MP – be sure to add a personal line about why this proposal is important to you.
With thanks as always for your support – we hope to see you soon.
Leigh & Sarah, on behalf of Oakbrook Community Benefit Society