At Ardeley Fete earlier this year, Tim Waygood invited me to visit Church Farm to see how his “Agrarian Renaissance” is transforming the 175 acre farm into a new model for farming. I was intrigued by what he told me, so I took him up on his offer and not only that, I went armed with Conservative Shadow Agriculture Minister Jim Paice.
The farm is genuinely mixed with Berkshire and other pigs, cattle, sheep, many varieties of poultry picking away in new orchards, vegetables, grain – in fact, food of many sorts. The farm provides educational facilities and is a hub for other services from a vehicle mechanic to a vet. The recent opening of the shop means that Ardeley is one of few villages to have a new shop – the first shop there since the 1970s – and all meat home-grown on the farm. The coffee was excellent in the busy café too.
A caring side to the enterprise is shown by the “Rural Care” base, enabling disadvantaged people to work on the farm, learning skills and making friends.
Tim showed us round and we were both impressed. He hopes to build on his model and spread it round Britain. He has already lectured about it at an Oxford conference. I certainly wish him well. The photo shows us with the cattle: L to R – Tim, me, Jim.