This month we worked with our Northern and Welsh partners. Just before the beginning of November, we welcomed Cardiff Children Services back to the farm. As well as being busy, hardworking farmers, there was lots of joy and laughter in our Welcome Barn one evening when we all came together for a wonderful Halloween celebration. This involved pumpkin carving, craft activities, games and lots of delicious food.
The young people of Co-op Academy Priesthorpe really impressed us with their kindness and real perseverance to get jobs done. During this week, we had lots of fun playing games indoors and exploring the outdoors and getting muddy.
As well as our residential visits, we have run day visits this month, providing opportunities for us to share the farm with local groups. Newport County Council visited the farm and were a great help with cleaning out the pigs, chopping wood and exercising our two horses, Sam and Timmy. Despite being on the farm for a short amount of time, it was clear during the end of day reflection meeting that the young people very much enjoyed being active and forming new friendships. They were also very proud to have spent the day without their mobile phones!
At the end of the week, a group from Overmonnow Primary joined us for the afternoon. These children visit once every half term. During this visit, they did a brilliant job of looking after our piglets, taking our dogs for a walk and planting broad beans – the final seeds to be sown in 2023.
We ended the month with Co-op Academy Leeds. The young people did an amazing job of pushing themselves out of their comfort zone to show all of their potential in a different environment. We loved seeing their amazing teamwork to successfully complete a couple of cow moves.
Marguerite, our Visit Coordinator, and Jo, our Head of Farm, visited Cardiff High School to catch up with the young people who visited at the start of September. It was wonderful to hear the young people speak about the positive changes they have recognised in themselves since their time on the farm. We celebrated everyone’s experience by reading out their certificates, we had a fun game of 21s and the young people did an amazing job of getting the adults out first!
Bronny, our Visit Coordinator, visited the all-girls group from Co-op North Manchester, who stayed at the farm in October. Everyone got into the festive spirit early, and all enjoyed sharing memories whilst making Christmas decorations. After lunch, time was spent in the Food Technology room, and everyone made their own batch of delicious Jamie’s Farm cookies to take home.
Both groups were thrilled to watch their highlights film and hear messages from the Monmouth team. Wonderful follow-up visits with two brilliant groups of young people supported by superb staff actively working to keep the legacy of Jamie’s Farm going.
We have great successes to share in terms of our farming this month. Our conservation grazing projects have now finished for the year after a great success. We have also had an inspection from the Health and Safety Executive, who said “out of the 100+ farms we have visited in South Wales this year, this is the safest”. They were particularly impressed with our risk assessments, vehicle, fire and water records, accident reporting, livestock protocol and general site care. Huge thanks to all of those involved in this. Dan, our Farm Manager, could confidently tell them that all of the Jamie’s Farm sites would be very similar.
Out on the farm, Hagrid the Lowline bull is in with Polly, our house cow. We hope she will be in calf soon. Love is very much in the air, while we make preparations for next Spring!