Ben and I attended the National NFU Conference in Birmingham on Monday and Tuesday this week. The two days were extremely interesting and a great inspiration to us both. We did our best to network with all the ‘big wigs’ of the farming industry, explaining the Initiative and asking for their support.
The farming industry is changing all the time and not always for the better. The problems faced by Ben and I as farmers, are mirrored in many other farms across the country and this was highlighted again at the conference, which only served to fuel our determination for the Initiative to succeed as an example to other farms across the country.
The Fordhall Community Land Initiative was created to overcome many of the difficulties such as high land prices, a lack of security in the market place and accessibility to farmland, for farmers. It has done this by placing Fordhall Farm in community ownership; for community benefit; for perpetuity; which in turn allows the public to be reconnected to the land, and to have access to farmland that is managed in a way that they want. The ultimate result is a structure that promotes sustainable development in society as well as in farming – it encourages, educates and promotes the pasture to plate cycle and that all important reconnection.
We spoke to many farmers at the conference about the Fordhall Community Land Initiative to see whether they supported the idea or thought is was crackpot! And they all said in their best farmers accent (although not at the same time of course):-
“Bloody Good Idea”
As we attend more of these networking events and conferences we are realising and learning about the national significance and benefits of putting farmland into community ownership. More farmers are looking for ways of securing their future and of helping to reconnect consumers and the public to farming and the landscape. Fordhall is growing everyday as an exemplar project and as the first of its kind in the UK all shareholders and supporters are playing a fundamental role in this.