MyFarm – The National Trust’s innovative new project at Wimpole Home FarmPosted by Fiona Nevile in Reviews | 3 comments
As you know, I’ve been interested in farming since the age of 9. Back then it was fantasy farming centred around my toy farm – the sprawling estate was located on a conveniently patterned carpet in my bedroom.
I visited Wimpole Home Farm with Seraphina at Easter this year. Along with hundreds of others we saw day old lambs and teeny piglets – the latest progeny of the sheep and pigs that are being raised at Wimpole. We watched the shire horses, the long horned cattle and examined the old carts and ancient farming machinery in the cavernous barn. But I wanted to find out more.
So when the National Trust offered people to opportunity to become virtual farmers at Wimpole Home Farm, I jumped at the chance.
MyFarm is a fantastic initiative from the National Trust. This is a movement that reconnects people with the food that they eat. It gives ordinary people the chance to become a virtual farmer and make decisions that affect the running and future of a real farm.
Wimpole Home Farm is unusual as it combines arable farming with rearing animals. In this day and age it would probably be impossible to make a profit with so much diversification on an ordinary farm. But Wimpole attracts thousands of visitors a year and these entry fees provide additional income for the farm. The set up at Wimpole is the perfect place for the virtual farmer to get a feel for and experience farming in its widest possible terms.
This farm is just coming out of a two year organic conversion. It has to make a profit and pay its way. Each decision made by the online farmer community affects an income stream for the farm and there are so many choices to be addressed – from what cereal to grow to which type of sheep to breed.
I’ve been a farmer for a couple of months now and have realised that farming in the UK is a far more complex and fascinating business than I ever imagined. I’ve even learnt things that I can put into practice here in our own garden.
Those piglets and lambs that we saw at Easter are raised with consideration and care but, like the arable fields that surround their pens, they will eventually become food on someone’s table. Joining MyFarm is a huge step beyond a weekly visit to a good farm shop – it’s the chance to explore where our food comes from. MyFarm offers a rare opportunity to become part of a community that is addressing and, in a small way, shaping the future of food.
To find out more please follow this link to MyFarm.
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