Great news - Farm School will be running a small number of groups (booking dependent) with limited capacity from September 2020. Please check the group details in the sections below.
Our payment system is now functioning- please book your places online.
What have we done to reassure you during Covid-19?
1. We manage capacity
As always, we limit our capacity to 10 bookable spaces maximum per group (one or two children maximum can book accompanied by one adult only) which is a maximum of 20 adults and children at one time.
2. We run courses for the same group of people every week
Each course will have the same group at the same allotted time each week for the whole 6-week half term. Spaces are available for booking, one space per child, adults don’t need to book.
3. We facilitate distancing by being outdoors in a large natural site and also by:
- Using our newly built and floored open shelter with spaced out benches and work surfaces with wipeable tops to allow enough space for each family.
- Providing a disinfectant hand gel on-site, and using two spaced out handwash sinks in addition to a double washing up sink.
- Being mindful while planning for our sessions to spread participants out at work areas (weeding in separate beds, cooking and food preparation on different work surfaces, and harvesting from different plants, or alternating the tasks, for example).
What do we expect of you?
- Book your course well in advance (a maximum of two children and one adult per family).
- Carefully read our handbook, and Covid-19 policy, and return booking forms by email before the start of the course, both will be sent out in a welcome email upon booking.
- Stay at home if you or anyone in your household displays symptoms of Covid-19.
- Respect Social distancing by following the guidelines in our handbook and the group leaders’ instructions.
- Bring your own gloves, bowls, water bottles/ flasks, and cutlery.
Have you got any questions for us?
Please don’t hesitate to either
- Or text us on: Bronwen: 07816398667 Fatma:07517153293
- Or message us on our Shillingford Organics Farm School FB. Page here:
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 fenced environment with a number of growing beds, a tent surrounded by plum trees (the hug) a conservatory and;
- An open outdoor community shelter where we do our food preparations, and herbal/ medicinal concoctions.
- A herb garden to explore and learn about different native herbs and their medicinal properties.
- An orchard with many varieties of apples, pears, and plums
- A woodland of native trees lined with a freshwater stream
- Two polytunnels one used for growing, and the other as a shelter and for sowing and drying herbs and seed saving.
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 ecosystem 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 these days range from sowing, planting, 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 variety 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 an 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 traveling in Europe helping on various farms along the way including helping with the olive harvest in Castagneto 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 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 a 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 halfway 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 Ph.D. that 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.