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General Features

Volunteers at Fordhall Farm

You saved our farm

Shropshire brother and sister Ben and Charlotte Hollins have saved the organic farm that has been their home since they were born. Now the work begins. Fordhall as a community resource, and an educational facility.

Fordhall Farm was one of the world's first organic farms. When the landowner needed to sell, tenants Charlotte and Ben Hollins were determined not to let the land go to developers.
But first they needed to raise 800,000 to secure its future, not for themselves, but for the community.

video Video: The fundraising begins! >
video Video: Prunella Scales visits the farm >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

Their deadline 1 July, but as of 30 June Fordhall Community Land Initiative, the charity formed by Charlotte and Ben has enough money to take up the landowner's offer of first refusal. Through the sale of shares and interest free loans, the farm's future is secure.

30 June 2006: 800,000 pounds has been raised. Now you, the community own the farm forever.

Charlotte on BBC Breakfast TV
Charlotte announces success on BBC Breakfast

There are five and a half thousand shareholders across the country, Fordhall also has some celebrity supporters in the form of David Bellamy and Prunella Scales. This is a unique attempt to put a working farm into community ownership for the benefit of everyone - farmers, stakeholders and wildlife!

It is also tackles the issue of how to encourage young farmers to work in the industry when land prices are very high for individual farmers. Charlotte Hollins explained the ethos of the scheme: 'The Fordhall Community Land Initiative reaffirms the relationship between the landscape and the way it shapes the prosperity of rural communities.'

The farm has been the venue for a whole host of charity fundraising events from working weekends to Christmas fairs and a charity dinner and auction is planned on 15 July to keep the money coming in. There is also the opportunity to go on a guided walk of the 140-acre site by booking in advance on 01630 638696 and to take part in some good old-fashioned hard labour on one of the working weekends.

As the countdown approaches zero in the final week of the appeal, Charlotte, Ben and some of the Fordhall volunteers recorded an audio diary.
audio Fordhall audio diary - day 1 >
audio Fordhall audio diary - day 2 >
audio Fordhall audio diary - day 3 >
audio Fordhall audio diary - day 4 >
audio Fordhall audio diary - day 5 >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer
Ben and Charlotte's mum, Connie, with volunteers.

Now Charlotte and Ben have achieved their aim, they hope to keep up the educational and community side of things as an important part of the farm's daily work, as well as continuing to tend the cows, pigs and sheep.

Charlotte and Ben Hollins have been actively campaigning since 2003 to stop the family farm from being sold by the landowner. Situated in a gorgeous spot just outside Market Drayton, the farm has been organic since Ben and Charlotte's father's decision at the end of the Second World War.

For more information, contact Fordhall Farm Community Land Initiative on 01630 638696 or visit their website:

Fordhall Farm >
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last updated: 09/07/08
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