In light of the current uncertainties around the spread of Coronavirus we have CANCELLED all Farm School April/May 2020 educational groups-
Families who have already booked shall be REFUNDED by the end of this week (22/03/2020)
For Farm School and Event enquiries please contact Fatma:
Mobile: 07517 153293
Farm School Story and mission
Farm School concept was conceived on a frosty morning in the purple sprouting broccoli field in Shillingford Organics in December 2015. In April 2016, 17 families ( adults and children) from the local community started coming to Shillingford Organics Farm School to learn about food and where it comes from. As well as running seasonal community events, Farm School runs educational weekly sessions throughout the seasons either for a morning or after school engaging children, and adults, in farming hands on activities ranging from composting, sowing, to harvesting, cooking and sharing their own crops. Our mission is to grow an environmentally responsible generation; promoting a healthier and more sustainable food culture that is both good for us people and our planet. Three years on we’ve grown to 40 families coming weekly to Farm School weekly educational groups in July 2019. Such growth invited and called for three new group leaders to join our team, please scroll down to Farm School Leaders to find out about us.
We are very lucky to be in the heart of the organically run Shillingford Organics Farm, a great model to learn from, a haven for wildlife and a variety of habitats endowed with beautiful red fertile hilly fields.
Farm School is a South-facing child-run mini farm within a safe environment with a number of growing beds, two polytunnels, a conservatory, a chicken run and soon an outdoor kitchen. We also run and enjoy access to:
- A forest garden where children learn about the natural 7-layer of edible forests
- A herb garden to manage and learn about different native herbs and their medicinal purposes
- An orchard with many varieties of apples, pears and plums
- A woodland of native trees lined with a fresh water stream
Most of our site maintenance and community events are managed and run thanks to volunteers and Farm School directors’ generous time commitments, passion and skills.
How we achieve our mission
1. Farm School Educational Groups
Farm School runs weekly afterschool clubs for primary age children (April- November), pre-school groups in the morning, and home-schooling days across the seasons. Through our educational groups we aim to help children develop a sense of curiosity and gain the skills they need by running their own mini farm to establish a life-long relationship with our land, based both on harmony and gratitude.
During these groups, children are engaged in fun, hands on, farming activities. These vary from soil preparation, composting, sowing, to caring for and tending on plants, harvesting, cooking and sharing their own crops. At farm School we believe in the interconnectedness of everything in nature, where learning goes beyond food to a much bigger eco system made up of micro-organisms, and wildlife.
To ensure inclusivity, our pricing policy is to go for the lowest rates in comparison with other similar land-based educational activities with similar number ratios, each group runs with a maximum of 8 children. Our current rate is £5.50hr
2. Farm School community events
Farm School runs a number of annual community events where people adults and children are invited to be a part of the farm life for a day, activities on these days range from sowing, planting, to harvesting and cooking healthy, and sustainable food. Booking is essential for our community events for a small charge to help us cover costs. Healthy, plant- based organic lunch is always available on the day, also for a minimum charge of £3/person to cover ingredients costs (a seasonal soup, served with freshly picked salad, and local bread). We use fresh produce from the farm, Emma’s Bread, and other ethically sourced ingredients. On our events we work closely with environmental organisations and local businesses to promote ethical and responsible living for all, please get in touch if you would like to join us in any of our events.
3. School trips
We have hosted a number of successful school trips where children learn about the seasons, food, wildlife and nature. We offer a veirety of programs and can tailor activities according to the groups’ curricular needs. Please get in touch for details.
Shillingford Organics Farm School CIC directors:
Fatma Sabet: Farm School director & creator
Martyn Bragg: Owner of Shillingford Organics and Farm School director
Nadine Schaefer: Farm School community director
Farm School Leaders
Bronwen is a teacher brimming with ideas and passion. She is a qualified secondary school Art, Photography anf Textiles teacher and has three young girls of her own. She has a wealth of experience in Growing, Art, Cooking, music, story-telling and has led many community projects. She is passionate about creating a rich and fertile learning environment that is limitless, allowing children to learn in their own unique way. Imagination and sense of wonder is something she believes to be very precious and should be nurtured in all areas of learning.
When she is not chasing her three girls around the park she loves to paint and draw. Particularly, artwork for children about magic and nature. Foraging is a new passion. Discovering and cooking-up new wild flavours that her children like is exciting. Cycling along the Exe river with all her girls in tow is a favourite family activity. To keep fit Bronwen does aerobic dance to Drum and Bass.
‘I grew up in Croydon, near South East London and then worked in London for two years after studying Advertising and Marketing at Lancaster University.
In 2010 I decided to change course and went travelling in Europe helping on various farms along the way including helping with the olive harvest in Castegneto Carducci in Italy. I loved the outdoor work and came back to the UK to begin helping at Sturts Farm Camphill Community for a year and a half. My love for working on the land led to me to take on an agricultural apprenticeship at Ruskin Mill College in Stroud from 2012 to 2014. After this I went to South America to work on family farms in Argentina and Peru mainly focusing on their vegetable production. Since February 2016 I have been part of the growing team at Shillingford Organics and now I hope to bring my enthusiasm for the land to Farm School.’
I started Farm School in the spring, 2016 where I use food as context for children to grow first-hand knowledge of plants and the environment. As well as leading Farm School groups and community events for adults and children, I worked part time simultaneously with Shillingford Organics growers for 1.5 years, this has enabled me to gain the horticultural knowledge necessary to develop Farm School educational program, which continues to evolve as Farm School groups grow older and bigger. I am also half way through a Biodynamic training course at Ruskin Mill Trust which enables me to gain a different perspective on food growing and education. As well as running Farm School groups with Farm School leaders on weekends, I am currently doing a PhD which focuses on the role of school meals and food education in developing healthy and sustainable school food culture. My dream is to grow our learning community of young children and adults for a healthier and more sustainable future of food, where it is no more a commodity, but sustenance for us people, and our planet.
Jenny is a qualified nursery and primary school teacher who is excited about sharing her passion for growing food with young children and their families. She is completing a Master’s Degree in Diet, Nutrition and Health with a focus on Child Nutrition and believes that Farm School is the perfect setting to develop positive relationships with wholesome food and creating connections with the land.
She has been a volunteer at our community events for a number of years, although you may not have seen her for a while as she has been working in a kindergarten in Finland. Here she saw first-hand how beneficial outdoor activities are for learning and also for fostering a love and an appreciation of the natural world.
She loves to be outdoors and enjoys wild swimming, cycling, allotmenting and exploring Dartmoor with her two young daughters.