The seed of Oakbrook Community Farm was initially planted in 2015, and several hard years of graft and determination have brought us to where we are now.
The 42 acres that make up our farm were purchased by the Biodynamic Land Trust through a community buy-out, realising the dream of a publicly-owned biodynamic farm in Stroud. In 2020 our initial share offer raised £120,000 for much needed infrastructure, before which our founding tenants including Stroud Micro Dairy toiled to establish their enterprises with only the most basic of facilities. By 2022, we now have 5 established tenants, over 90 shareholders, and hundreds of community supporters. And we’re only just getting started.
Throughout this time, the founding vision and values of Oakbrook Community Farm has united us. As we look forward to the future, these are the principles that guide our work…
Oakbrook Community Farm is possible through collaboration and makes collaboration possible. We operate as a whole farm and seek to work with our tenants on the basis of cooperation and mutual support, and seek to promote them wherever possible. We help to make small businesses viable by facilitating joint infrastructure for different tenants with shared ideals, and we take responsibility for our own financial viability in order to maintain the whole farm. Whilst we facilitate access to farming for those who would otherwise struggle to operate, our tenants are self governing and free to organise themselves.
Oakbrook Community Farm exists because of and for our community. We seek ways in which our community can be practically and emotionally a part of the farm, and seek to be transparent and approachable in all our operations. We will seek to encourage and support volunteering, training and educational opportunities within our tenant enterprises and across the whole-farm infrastructure, believing that involving volunteers brings benefits of cost-effectiveness for the land and its users, and empowers public stewardship of the land. We have ensured that the whole farm is accessible via permissive footpath, and intend to extend these routes so that more people can access the land.
Oakbrook Community Farm heals the land, practicing conservation beyond farming. As a Demeter certified farm and by adhering to these principles, we are healing the land and offering opportunities for farming education. We seek our ways to support and regenerate ecosystems beyond our basic farm operations, such as by undertaking regular land health audits and committing to implementing recommendations. We understand that people are part of an ecosystem that is dependent on the rest, and that by working in harmony with nature and improving the health of the soil, the flora and fauna on our land, everybody benefits.
Oakbrook Community Farm strives to be a nourishing and healing environment for all. We recognise that lack of access to the natural environment is a barrier to people's mental and physical well-being, and so we seek to maximise accessibility of our land to this end, by developing the Haven as a community resource for retreat and nourishment. Within the context of a working farm, we look to support opportunities for education and physical activity by welcoming volunteers and visitors. We value the important role that nutritious locally produced food plays in improving public health, and try to help people learn about and participate in farming and growing, believing that as we are more connected to the places our food comes from, we value it more.
Oakbrook Community Farm is pioneering sustainable farming practices for the future. We hold biodynamic and organic accreditation for the farm as a whole, ensuring that all operations on the farm are inline with these principles, and we strive to be an example to other organisations seeking to pursue community farming with biodynamic principles. Alongside our tenant farmers, we are prioritising food security for the future and seek to provide Stroud and it's localities with a sustainable, healthy food supply. Oakbrook Community Farm understands that modern farming practices are environmentally unsustainable, contributing to climate breakdown, ecosystem degradation and soil death, and we are committed to pioneering a better way.