Greenfields Farm will be a community and educational resource primarily for the children and young people of Calne and North Wiltshire. The farm is supported by Springfields Academy, a residential special school in Calne catering for children and young people with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
The farm will form part of the Learning Outside the Classroom curriculum which will be operational from September 2012. This approach values the therapeutic effect of being in the outdoors, experiencing the seasons and having an understanding of nurturing and growth.
Young people will be encouraged to grow their own food and look after our livestock so that in time the farm becomes self supporting. They will be taught about sustainable food production and the importance of high welfare standards when caring for animals.
The farm will be open to the local community and beyond as an educational hub and leader in good agricultural practice.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Many of our young people do not engage in conventional classroom based learning. Many have suffered loss or trauma and experience very high levels of anxiety and depression. We know from past work that being in the outdoors, undertaking meaningful work especially that involving looking after plants or animals can have a powerfully therapeutic effect.
We want to encourage empathy and responsibility in our students and having to tend a garden and look after animals is a great way to achieve this aim. This will also be an opportunity to teach young people about the provenance of their food, that meat does not start in the supermarket but comes from a living animal that needs to be cared for in a humane manner.
We want pupils to understand about the need for local, sustainably sourced food that they can produce themselves and gain a real sense of achievement in doing so. We want them to be able to make informed choices about the food they eat.
Steps to get it done:
This project is at an early stage of development but we have big plans. The aim is to be self supporting by selling our produce, initially to the Academy and later to the local community. This will give pupils experience in marketing and selling and enable them to develop vital social skills that so many of them lack.
The farm will also become a community hub for weekend and holiday activities for local children and young people and provide therapeutic placements and work experience for some adults. We would like to extend the educational base by offering not just our school students accredited courses in agriculture and horticulture but be a teaching centre for local smallholders and growers so we can share experiences and best practice.
We want to engender a love of the environment and instill a sense of respect for all living things through our practice.
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