Henrietta and James
We moved to Somerset with our four children from London 18 years ago, somewhat to our surprise. With a strong motivation from our Christian faith, we had spent the previous 15 years focusing on community building projects across the UK and micro-business start-ups in South London. Having always wanted to broaden our focus to include declining communities in rural areas, we discovered Stream Farm.
So, we bought it lock, stock and barrel in 2002. It had a small herd of 28 Dexter cattle and a small flock of 26 Hampshire Down sheep. We have increased the herd to over 160 and the flock to 275 or so. In 2006 we received formal organic status and are certified by Organic Farmers & Growers.
We had no farming experience and got by on a wing and a prayer (to say the least!). Now we have moved on and maybe do not need the wing. Our beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, fresh and smoked rainbow trout, water and apple juice have all won gold at Taste of the West between 2016 and 2019. We have also won the award for Best Local Meat in Bristol three years running.
Our vision is to have as many families as possible earning a sustainable livelihood from small-scale farming businesses, complementing each other and cross-selling under a common brand. To that end, we have started quite a number of businesses on our 250 – acre farm and we train up and gradually hand over the day-to-day management of each one to a share-farmer who comes usually for a couple of years or so at a time.
Our hope is that through this model Stream Farm is able to show that the British countryside is far better served by large numbers of small farms or farming businesses selling their produce directly to those who are going to eat it rather than by just a few huge farms selling to the supermarkets.