organicARTS: Learning with the Land: Explore Create, Grow. Involves people in creative farm-based learning for a healthy future - your future; the environments future and hence the future of the planet. We are an educational charity based on an organic farm on the outskirts of Exeter and has a reputation for excellent outdoor activities with over 3000 people from many different groups including young people and families, including those who need additional support; community groups; people with mental health issues; learning difficulties; physical disabilities and people in recovery from substance abuse.
‘I just wanted to say how fantastic the course at organicARTS was they were so knowledgeable, kind and had a great ethos of seeing people as individuals who can contribute and who matter. It was a fantastic experience that will make a really positive impact on my life and my recovery.’
BUT what happens when it rains. We have been given access to the upstairs of a grain barn and would like your support to turn it into a workable space to develop our creative activities using natural materials for anyone who needs it whatever the weather!
What are we trying to achieve?
We have received funding to extend the reach of our ‘Farm Creativity Walks’ to disadvantaged adults.
Creativity walks are where people visit different features of the farm and use the materials around them in creative ways.
Making charcoal from our own willow over an open fire
It is well documented that creative activities and outdoor activities are beneficial to our well-being and it is our belief that using natural materials adds to this. Most of our activities happen outdoors, ‘but what happens when it rains?’ Despite the dry and hot summer we have had sometimes it rains and some activities require equipment which needs to be kept under cover. So we need a basic dry and comfortable space in which to work. The barn would provide this with minimal adaption: a good clear out and clean; making the floor good (it has sound joists and plates); a handrail and new platform on the stairs; a fire escape; hanging ceilings (so the swallow can still use the barn to nest and teach their young to fly!); some electrical sockets and improved lighting, and opening windows.
Imagine doing these activities outdoors in the rain!
Once the space is useable we will be able to offer creative activities to many different groups of people, and build its use into our programme of activities, we know it will be well used as there is a need for an indoor space for people to meet and work in and we are often asked whether we can provide this.
What makes our project great
organicARTS is an established and experienced organisation with well qualified staff which has a site on a working organic farm on the outskirts of Exeter. This enables city dwellers from Exeter (and elsewhere) access to the countryside for the benefit of their health and well-being. Outdoor and creative activities are well documented as being beneficial to our well-being and we are able to combine the two for extra benefit, saving money for the NHS! We will work with any people who need us and don’t focus on a particular needs group. The farm is able to provide a multitude of creative materials and its many features and landscapes offer so much inspiration and we would love to help more people that we currently do. BUT What happens when it rains? We often squeeze under cover getting squashed and damp, so a dry indoor space would make what we do even better!
Sometimes an indoor space is essential, and a space adapted towards our needs would be brilliant and helpful!
Who are we and what’s our experience
organicARTS is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee which has been established and grown since 2004. We have 8 part-time and sessional staff and 5 trustees all of whom carry a wealth of experience with children, vulnerable adults and creative and outdoor activities. Our education and arts team all have teaching qualifications as well as diverse creative practices. Each year we work with over 3000 people during education visits; in our community garden; at open days; guiding walks and providing creative workshops and walks.
Activity as part of a school education visit
How will the money be spent
organicARTS started in 2004 with nothing apart from the use of the farm and dedicated and determined people (no office, no phone, no computer etc). In the first year we held an art exhibition in the barn and on a trail and conducted 6 education visits. Last year we continued to host a similar exhibition but co-ordinated 150 educational visits, but this is only part of what we do. In 2006 we started a community garden with volunteer guidance and participation and have gradually built this up to about 120 people a year participating on 2 days a week with 2 paid staff supported by the BIG lottery who recognise the value of what we do for our participants.
'A lot of different people and organisations have tried to help me overcome and live with my problems over the years, but it was working in the Community Garden gradually taking on responsibility for my work here that allowed me to be brave enough to apply for and get a full-time job.' Community Garden Participant
One of the problems we had with our garden project was transport, we are quite far from any public transport and most of our participants have no transport of their own. We were very lucky to be given an old minibus by the Guild of Students at the University of Exeter. It gradually wore out and we launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to contribute towards a new minibus.
This has transformed our ability to offer much more variety of work to a wider audience of participants. It is used for many community organisations; workshops with Devon Recovery Learning Community https://devonrlc.co.uk/ who offer free courses as part of their Recovery College; and a wide variety of education groups including schools, nurseries, families, social service and NHS.
Thank you so much for a really wonderful day! I can't fault any aspect of it, and you were GREAT with the kids. They were in quite high spirits that day, many of them, and it was brilliant that you managed them so expertly. The activities were so well planned and thought through, the timing spot on....everything was beyond my expectations, so thanks!!! Chagford Primary
Our creative work includes the use of materials which can be produced by the farm – clay, wool, willow, wood etc.; linked recycled materials – mosaics, materials etc., and the inspiration of the farm for sketching, writing, painting etc. These activities are included in all the work we do as well as stand alone workshops and our Farm Creativity Walks and it is for this aspect of our work that we are desperate for indoor space!
A mosaic being created on the garden wall using recycled tiles and crockery
We also offer Open Days in conjunction with the farm; Awaydays for companies to help them fulfil their Corporate Social Responsibility and provide team building and celebrations for their staff as well as supporting the work we do with disadvantaged people.
Thank you so much for your interest and support, please help us to achieve the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow by spreading the word to friends, family, colleagues and social media contacts.
We have a myriad of different rewards, many of which will enable you to visit and experience our amazing site on this working organic farm.
You might enjoy an original work from one of the artists who work with organicARTS
Have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a well-loved organisation and the people we work with
However you support us it will include a big THANK YOU from all of us at organicARTS