The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm

The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm is located Rushmere St Andrew. You might have seen them featured on BBC TV’s Countryfile and Escape to the Country last year!

They offer something quite unique – a Community Shared Agriculture scheme. This is a partnership between farmers and the local community. People can come up to the farm, help with the food-growing and enjoy some of the harvest. Community Shared Agriculture schemes originally developed in the USA and Japan, and the Oak Tree was one of the first schemes to set up in the UK.

When we think about where our food comes from, we might automatically say “it comes from the supermarket”. But where does the supermarket get its food from? Much of the food we eat is grown overseas or in far flung locations across the U.K. Much of it is also laden with chemicals and by the time it reaches us it has spent time in transit, being shipped or flown or transported by lorry. So, it’s not exactly super-fresh when it ends up on our dinner plate.

By contrast, Oak Tree Farm grows food in an environmentally-sustainable way without the use of artificial chemicals. They grow all the food themselves, so they know exactly where and how it is grown. There are few/zero food miles involved and we can be eating food harvested fresh from the field just two hours ago!

They are like a shared allotment. But instead of everyone having their own separate growing areas, they grow food together in a shared area of around two acres. And, unlike a regular allotment, where you may need to put in 12 hours work a week, you only need to work an hour or two every week with the scheme.

The other great bonus is that when you want to go on holiday, you don’t need to panic about who will water your crops and keep them weeded because they have their two paid growers and a community of people to help with this. Their scheme is all about re-connecting with food and sharing the work and the rewards.

They have a limited area of land and operate through a membership system. They have some membership places available at the moment and are looking for new members to join them for 2018- 2019.

They offer three membership options:  Full Membership, Reduced Hours Membership and Armchair Membership. The costs and work hours vary between the different categories with Armchair Members doing no work at all and Full Members contributing up to two hours a week on average in the spring and summer.

One of their members Rebecca said,

“If someone had asked me what Community Supported Agriculture meant a few months’ ago, I would have had very little idea what they were talking about. However, my time at Oak Tree Farm has been a revelation and has allowed me to carve out my own piece of the countryside that has improved my well-being no end.”

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