We are very keen to enable our students to gain purposeful lives as adults, both by caring for this important little farm and by selling good quality products. Our aim is for them to be engaged in learning to make products that they enjoy and that others would like to buy. Gradually the range has extended, always with the emphasis on skill development and quality. We sell in our shop what they help to produce:
- Woodwork: bee houses, planters and bird houses
- Rural craft: greetings cards, notelets, coasters, table mats, tea towels and mugs
- Plants: Summer bedding, tomatoes, hyacinths for Christmas
- Food: Organic eggs, vegetables, cakes, biscuits, jams and jellies
Our most recent development has been to encourage students to draw and paint farm based designs that are then printed to create beautiful, bespoke notelets and bone china mugs. Also, our generous local artist, Mrs Mary Witherow continues to add delightful farm scenes to our tea towel range and for new table mats, coasters and aprons.
Other places where we sell our products
Hand in hand with the growth of the student skills has been the development of open days and sales at the farm to fundraise. Currently we have a Christmas Fayre in November, a Plant Sale in May and an Open Farm Day at Midsummer. We are also offering popular, monthly ‘ Tea Times Together’ when the students make and share tea and cakes with local interest groups such as the WI and Gardening Club.
We also sell at other outlets, local markets and events. A recent success has been the starting of the Bee House Project from January 2017.
This project has been made possible with a grant of £6,540 from Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, which kick started the purchase of materials and teaching time to increase production of bee houses, with the aim of building enough to offer to local outlets (currently the Burford Garden Centre, Nicolson’s Nursery at Bicester and Webbs Wood in Shrivenham).
We’ve now made and sold over 200 bee houses, increasing our income and providing excellent work opportunities to all the students. This includes gathering and lopping branches, constructing and painting the exterior and drilling and filling to complete the bee house.