Nestled above the stunning Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean is our third rural site, Duffields Farm. Our first location in Wales, Offa’s Dyke Path runs down the middle of our land and the English border hugs a stream along the farm’s boundary.
The farm is run on a small-scale and in a sustainable way that enhances the ecology of the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean next door. Livestock includes a flock of Lleyn ewes and a smaller group of Suffolks, together with a small herd of Beef Shorthorns. As well as our chickens and ducks, there’ll soon be Pedigree Welsh pigs, goats and a house Jersey cow for our own dairy needs. Our kitchen garden – with amazing views over the valley – provides us with as much of the fruit and vegetables as we can grow.
We have a small hillside woodland, which visiting young people will help us to manage for our firewood and for greenwood projects too. We’re looking forward to getting to know more of the local community, and are very grateful for the warm welcome already received. Our first school visits at Jamie’s Farm Monmouth will take place in January 2018.
Inspired by her observation of the profound relationships that could be formed when adults and young people shared stories, Ruth trained as a teacher in 2008 and worked as a secondary school English teacher for a number of years. In 2014, Ruth became the Vice-Principal at the Steiner Academy Hereford – a state-funded school striving to hold to an ethos which nurtures and celebrates the child whilst ensuring an education which meets the demands of the 21st century. It is Ruth’s belief that self-esteem is key to success, and interactions with and within nature are key to self-esteem, which has finally brought her to Jamie’s Farm.
Ruth grew up in London and graduated in English at Birmingham University in 1997. In 1999 she started working at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts and initiated the Festival’s programme for families and young people which is still running today under the banner Hay Days. .
Dan is a born and bred country man who has spent all his life working and living in rural Wales and England on farms managed by his father. For 12 years before joining Jamie’s Farm he ran his own business in the Cotswolds specialising in farm maintenance, conservation management and farming cover. Along the way his picked up lots of skills, made great friends and cemented his passion for all things country.
In more recent years Dan been looking for a way to share his knowledge and help others to enjoy the beauty of the countryside and the experiences that he has been lucky enough to have had growing up on a farm. Jamie’s Farm Monmouth is the perfect home for this and he looks forward to welcoming each group of young farmers. He is responsible for the running of the farm and looking after all the livestock with the help of his trusty dogs.
Beth graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Occupational Therapy and has since completed a postgraduate certificate in Sensory Integration, and trained as a Sleep Practitioner. She has worked as a therapist in schools with children and young people with autism and language and communication difficulties, and most recently within a children and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) supporting children with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge. As therapy coordinator, Beth leads group meetings and has personalised therapeutic conversations with all young people who visit the farm, in order to help them piece together pathways for their future success on returning to school. Beth grew up in Monmouthshire and loves being outside; she spends her spare time walking her dogs and horse riding.
Since graduating with a degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, Sam has worked with young people in many different roles, including as a science teacher, a mentor to teenage girls, and a tandem front-rider for children with disabilities. Across all these roles, Sam has seen the power of positivity and fresh air to engage young people both physically and emotionally.
Sam is an avid fan of nature and the outdoors, which she feels can inspire both reflection and playfulness. She is particularly interested in how wildlife and farming can benefit each other, a concept she explored during her recent PhD at the University of Bristol. Sam can usually be found covered in mud on her mountain bike and loves cooking hearty, nutritious meals to fuel her outdoor adventures. Her appetite for producing fresh, home-cooked food is something she shares whilst cooking with young people at the farm.
Tim is a passionate educator and grower who believes firmly in the power of the outdoors to form, soothe and inspire us. He has worked as an outdoor educator in the Swiss Alps where he helped young people to face their fears and build confidence through climbing, biking and hiking their way through the mountains. More recently, Tim was responsible for our city farm in central London, Oasis Farm Waterloo, where he kept animals and young farmers happy and nourished in the heart of town. He has a previous life as a journalist and digital producer and in his spare time he is an editor of The Land Magazine, an occasional publication about land rights.
A keen gardener, Tim is responsible for the fruit and veg garden at Monmouth and working with young people to produce as much of our own fresh produce as possible.
For the past seven years, Dave has worked as a teacher in both inner-city London and a rural Somerset school, including in a pupil referral unit. This has given him a real insight into the difficulties young people can face and provided him with effective strategies and a real passion for helping them to help themselves.
Having previously worked as a car mechanic, book editor, street fundraiser, hospital caterer and on the decommissioning of a nuclear power station, Dave has an eclectic set of experiences on which to draw in his role, which helps him to quickly build rapport with a wide variety of young people. Having grown up in Essex and Devon and studied English at the University of Southampton, he has travelled widely, including trekking in the Himalayas and cycling across parts of Europe.
During her time studying Spanish and Business Studies at Edinburgh University, Ellie stumbled across Jamie’s Farm and became an avid supporter of the charity. She joined Teach First as a teacher of Spanish and English in London, later moving to Bristol to teach in an Alternative Provision school specialising in the social and emotional wellbeing of the young people. Before joining team Monmouth, Ellie volunteered at Jamie’s Farm on numerous occasions and was able to see the powerful impact of the experience on the young people that came to visit.
Horses have always played a central role in Ellie’s own life. They have been a source of calm and provided space for reflection and connection and she is passionate about sharing this with the young people and facilitating therapeutic experiences with the horses. Ellie loves living in the countryside in a low impact way and exploring the outdoors come rain or shine!