We need your help to raise the £30,000 towards a wonderful resource to support our community, wildlife and the future of organic farming.
"I'm a huge fan of Ben and Charlotte's, and a great admirer of all they've done at Fordhall Farm. If you're interested in a sustainable future for British farming, how could you not be? It's not just what they've achieved at Fordhall - it is the virtuous cycle of inspiration that they've sent spiralling out from their remarkable little corner of Shropshire." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
We care about organic living, wildlife, animal welfare and people. We have strong team values that ensure this philosophy, started by the organic pioneer Arthur Hollins, continues.
By supporting us and becoming another one of our landowners you are helping to support a project which is working for a better future. You are supporting a place that welcomes people of all abilities and backgrounds, and you are supporting a family heritage which seeks to create change in a positive and proactive manner.
In return, you will get a vote in our AGM, regular updates and of course a share with us makes you a Fordhall landlord forever.
Whether it is for a gift or for yourself, we look forward to sharing the Fordhall journey with you all.More information on community shares can be found by downloading the documents below.
We need to replace our cold and draughty porta cabins. We need more space to run and expand our community projects. Our current provision is not adequate for our growing needs - our community deserves better.
The new building will provide:
The project has started, but we need £50,000 to put the final 'bale in the wall' so to speak. Please help us reach this last hurdle.
Fordhall is a 140acre organic farm based in rural north Shropshire and it has been farmed organically for over 60 years.
Revolutionary farmer, Arthur Hollins (my father) was born at Fordhall in 1915 and later took over the tenancy of the farm aged just 14. Despite the push for 'new' chemical farming, in the 1940s he adopted organic principles to which he remained faithful for the rest of his life. By the year 2000, Fordhall Farm was under serious threat from big business and the bulldozer. Our family was on the verge of being evicted and his life's work was about to be reduced to ruins.
In 2004, my brother, Ben and I (then 19 and 21 and photo below) returned from college and university to lead the fight to save Fordhall. By 2006, with less than six months to raise £800,000 to buy the tenanted farm outright, we began to sell £50 non-profit making community shares. When people read about our plight in the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Country Living and many more publications, they immediately supported us - it was quite amazing.
Now, quite remarkably, Fordhall is England's first community-owned farm - with one farmer, Ben, and no fewer than 8,000 landlords - a number that is increasing all of the time.
The land remains organic to this day. The cattle and sheep are 100% grass-fed reared using a system called Foggage farming and the pigs are naturally free-range. The Fordhall Community Land Initiative (FCLI) is a Community Benefit Society with charitable status and it now owns Fordhall Farm (through its 8,000+ shareholders). It manages the farm as a popular open community resource. It leases the land to a tenant farmer, currently my brother (Arthur's son), Ben Hollins.
Fordhall is testament to what can be achieved when community, farming and nature all work together. Mountains can be overcome and the sometimes insurmountable challenges can become possibilities.
It has been a whirlwind journey since 2006. Fordhall has transformed from a run down and derelict farm, to a wonderful community resource. We have renovated our Old Dairy building, created a number of free open access farm trails, created a care farm working with adults with learning disabilities, a youth project working with young people struggling at school, opened a café, a farm shop, we rent out yurts for glamping, offer volunteer opportunities and run many school visits every year for thousands of children.
This construction will not only be supportive of our community, but it will be supportive of our environment too.
More information on the materials and green credentials of this build can be found at HERE
"This building will honour Dad’s legacy, both in its construction and in what it represents, a place that is built by the community for the community. Dad always believed in people, just as much as he believed in his vital workers in the soil – the microbes and the worms." Charlotte Hollins
School children love nothing more than playing and experiencing the outdoors - we just need to give them the opportunity to do so.