Today on Bristol Mum I would like to introduce Tim Rutherford, a Bristol dad who plans to launch an urban community farm in Bristol: a Daddy Daughter Farm.
Tim, who lives with his wife Jodie and his 18 month old daughter in Bristol, plans to transform an acre of overgrown land in Shirehampton into a productive market garden in 2017. Using agroecological and no dig techniques, the farm would provide members with seasonal organic veggie boxes in exchange for their time and work on the farm.
The Daddy Daughter Farm will be a not-for-profit organisation will all profits made being reinvested back into the business.
Tim’s little girl, Noa, was the inspiration behind Tim’s idea to start the daddy Daughter Farm:
“My daughter was born whilst I was still studying a masters in mechanical engineering and at the time my aim with that was to go into sustainability and international development.
“However, having a child changed a lot of my perspectives and my interest in sustainability drifted away from development and more towards regenerative agriculture/ecology/permaculture.”
Originally Tim envisaged that the farm was just going to be a fairly ordinary urban market garden that allowed him to work on something that interested him but still enabled him to be a primary care giver to Noa.
Tim and Jodie were living in the Netherlands at the time but decided that they needed to move back home to the UK because of a variety of reasons.
The language barrier was proving difficult and also Jodie was missing her career and passion: adult social care, a field which she had been working in since the age of 13. A further reason for deciding to move back was so that their family could be closer to grandparents. Tim explains:
“Having Noa be close to grandparents was a big thing for us as it is a big part of our philosophy of raising children.”
While on a walk while visiting a farm in Somerset soon after moving back, Tim had a bit of an aha moment. Realising that while raising Noa by himself on a farm was preferable to placing her in childcare, it was simply not a match for trying to bring in other parents who were keen to raise their children in a similar way.
By involving other parents who wished to involve their children in farming, it would build a supportive community of like-minded people, benefitting both children and adults.
Tim and Jodie’s value of the importance of relationships with older people, added a further level into their concept of the Daddy Daughter Farm and thus, the idea of an intergenerational farm was born.
The benefits of having three generations involved in the farm will have powerful benefits for all involved, and will also tackle the loneliness and social isolation experienced by both older people and stay-at-home parents.
Tim’s aim is to get five parents, five toddlers and five elders out on to the farm for a couple of hours every morning to do some growing, planting, watering and picking of produce. The plan would then be to cook a lunch with the produce and sit around as a community and eat and chat and after lunch everyone would go home with a small veg box of that week’s produce.
Tim aims to run the farm as a market garden smallholding which would have a large field of cropped vegetable beds, a large polytunnel for growing warm crops (part of which will be converted into a space to go if the weather turns), an outdoor eating area surrounded by raised beds that are easy for children and disabled people to access, plus an area for chickens, rabbits and ducks.
As well as a space where children are free to explore and play, Tim would like the Daddy Daughter Farm to be a place where adults pass on their skills to children, trusting in their abilities to engage with the farm and all the duties needed to maintain it. He explains:
“It’s really important for us to bring people together and help them build relationships with each other, learn about sustainability, where their food comes from, how it is grown, how good soil works, what it means for food to be healthy, what it means to be organic and how organic tastes.
“We are hopefully giving children the opportunity to get into right relationship with nature and hopefully we can be the foundation for a host of children to know what it means to respect an elder and to love the natural world.”
However, in order for Tim’s plans for the Daddy Daughter Farm to be created, an amount of at least £12,999 needs to be raised by 30th March.
Tim has created a Crowdfunder to help reach this amount but at this time of writing, Tim is £10,789 off this amount so he desperately needs people to donate.
If you would like to pledge some money you can do so by visiting http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/daddy-daughter-farm.