Farm businesses wanted to join Herts farm on organic transition

Woodoaks Farm has a vision to create a hub to serve the local community quality produce
Woodoaks Farm has a vision to create a hub to serve the local community quality produce

Farmers who are interested in regenerative agriculture and sustainable practices are needed to co-create a food and farming hub on a 300-acre Hertfordshire farm.

Woodoaks Farm is hunting for collaborators to help change the way it produces and distributes food, with a focus on sustainability and tackling the climate crisis.

The successful farmers and food and land entrepreneurs will create new businesses based on the Maple Cross farm.

The farm already has a successful craft brewery, a café, a resident artist and an artisan wood worker.

Gifted to the Soil Association Land Trust by farmer Sally Findlay in November 2020, Woodoaks has a vision to create a hub to serve the local community quality produce.

The aim is to become a model for nature friendly, sustainable farming, which produces healthy food and enriches the lives of the people who live nearby.

To achieve its aim the farm is seeking farmers, producers and entrepreneurs to join a cluster of food and farming businesses.

Through their different offerings, these businesses will then support each other to build relationships with local customers and develop community-focused supply chains.

Soil Association chief executive, Helen Browning said this was a 'fantastic opportunity' for businesses and individuals to help co-create a "vibrant food and farming hub which will serve the local community."

"We want this to be a place which people can enjoy and connect with nature," Ms Browning said.

“We will fulfil Sally’s wish that it transitions to organic and becomes a showcase for a regenerative system that will support a climate friendly, nature rich future, providing livelihoods for a diverse community."

The farm has been run by the Findlay family since 1922 and operated as a successful mixed arable and dairy farm.

The farm will begin to transform into a "centre for organic excellence", the Soil Association said, "producing great food in a way that’s good for people, nature and climate".

Programme manager at Woodoaks, Rose Lewis said: “We think the farm has huge potential as an incubator for start-ups, existing businesses and local entrepreneurs."

Individuals and partnerships who are interested are being told to register their interest from the end of this month.

They will then be invited to visit the farm in October and November to look at possibilities and discuss their ideas.

“Even if you have just a kernel of an idea and the passion to succeed, we would love to hear your proposal," Ms Lewis added.

"It could be anything from a market garden to a micro-dairy, a bakery or even a forest school – or perhaps an artisan craft business making homewares.

"We have plenty of space to create this entrepreneurial hub for innovative organic food and farming businesses.”