11th Aug, 2020

Farm opens its doors to visitors and investors at annual summer fete

Ross Crawford 10th Aug, 2018

THE farm that inspired the long running BBC radio programme The Archers is holding its summer fete this Saturday, August 11.

Rush Farm at Stock Green is the UK’s only 100 per cent community owned farm – and it’s also offering local people the chance to buy into it.

Run by Stockwood Community Benefit Society, the 190-acre farm is run to the highest Soil Association organic standards, farming traditional Hereford cattle and Llyn sheep flock.

It already has 300 investors and is seeking to raise £500,000 through a further share offer.

People can find out more at the fete or just go along to enjoy themselves – entry is free and the event runs from 11am to 4pm and there are lots of attractions including draught horse rides, a fair, music and willow weaving workshops.

Rush Farm has a rich legacy. BBC Radio 4’s farming series, The Archers – the world’s longest -running radio soap opera was written and recorded at Rush Farm in the early 1950s.

More than 300 investors have already invested their savings to make a return, wildlife thrives alongside a productive farm, rural employment is secured, and renewable energy is generated.

Four years on from opening the farm up to investors, the society has demonstrated the model works by paying the five per cent dividend in every operational year. They now want to scale this up across the UK.

Sebastian Parsons, Chief Executive of Stockwood CBS said: “Stockwood showcases that it is possible to have a thriving and sustainable farm business that enhances the wellbeing and security of the local community.

“We’re asking people to ethically invest in a project that will have decent returns and high social and environmental impacts.”

The farm also features a business park which has a high retention rate and full occupancy in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Fern Hodges, investor of Stockwood CBS said: “Apart from a great interest rate, it’s good to know my savings are doing something positive.

“Stockwood is more complex than the other organisations because it combines organic farming with running a business park in ways that are as environmentally sustainable as practicable. It also educates young people about food production and the environment. It’s a really interesting mix.”

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