Here at Stockwood we are very proud of our social impact. We are very much land based, utilising the power of nature to engage with people in various ways. Whether it be through public access with a myriad of footpaths, bridleways and permissive paths or providing support animals for Willowdene farm which helps women with chaotic or complex issues, we try to make sure every action we take has a positive impact to our locality.

Access to Land

Responsible access to the land is encouraged across Rush Farm including a bridleway, multiple footpaths, and a permissive path through the wood on the farm.  

Our tenants who work on the business park also have access to the land. There are around 100 people working on the business park, and many can often be found walking the footpaths on the farm or taking their breaks at the natural areas near the business park. This includes a bridle path, taking a walk around the farm and woodland or enjoying the 'scrape' with all types of wildlife, birds, insects, and wild flowers. There is the pond area where people can be found relaxing during a break. All this encourages mindfulness, leading to a healthier work/life balance. 

During lambing we place the orphan lambs in a lovely field by the drive where they can be visited by the businesses, and we encourage workers to interact with them. One of our tenants, an accountant, who loves animals, keeps her sheep here; they are mostly orphan lambs that she looks after. She has even been on a shearing course to learn to shear her flock and is always happy to talk to people about her sheep!

We love hosting local events, whether our own or working with the community to host events such as the popular Inkberrow Horse Show. Our close partnership with the Rush Farm team means we are often able to cater our events with Rush Farm produce - as local as it gets!

Volunteering on the farm

Wwoofers (World wide opportunities on organic farms) from around the world volunteer on the farm – learning about organic, biodynamic, and regenerative farming principles as we learn about their cultures. We would expect around 4 long term opportunities per year, resulting in approximately 120 volunteering days in total. Some years more, some less. We have hosted people from many backgrounds including those with additional needs, students and older people wishing to learn more about regenerative biodynamic farming. Post Brexit we have had more Wwoofers from the UK, and more often than not we develop strong connections and remain in touch, exchanging thoughts and ideas. We are so pleased to be able to provide longer term, in-depth and personal experiences to people who would like to develop their understanding or experience of biodynamic/regenerative farming or alternative economic models.

We also very pleased to welcome vet students from Harper Adams university for work experience placements. We hope to be able to show a different side of agriculture to the intensive 'livestock units' many vets find themselves at.

Working at Rush Farm was transformational for my career, and truly sparked a passion for ethical farming practices. The combined knowledge between Chris and Tim is immense, with both acting as astute and complimentary mentors. The farm itself is beautiful, draped with an air of serenity that was so irresistible I stayed for another 5 weeks! Between the welcoming family, the gorgeous farm, and the amazing access to knowledge it was far and away my favourite Wwoof experience to date.

Alice - a frequent Wwoofer who stayed with us in 2022 who went on to become manager of a school farm in Oxfordshire

Good, Nutritious Food

A big part of our story as a biodynamic farm is producing high quality, nourishing food for people. As we are learning, eating poor quality food has such a detrimental effect on people’s health. In addition to selling our meat to Fordhall Farm (a relatively local community owned farm with a shop) we have provided beef to people at this year’s Ashes. We have begun offering supper club experiences that will highlight how to make use of high quality seasonal, local ingredients. We love to share our food and knowledge with people as food systems are so vital to society. This has already created one local job, and as we expand our vegetable production we expect another job and many volunteering opportunities to be created. 

We are in the planning stage of increasing our vegetable production on the farm, expecting to be launching in spring next year and beginning the harvest in the summer. This is based off the success of Tim our tenant gardener who grows plants, cut flowers and vegetables. We are expanding the production through Rush Farm and will be increasing the contact we have with a local school and finding other ways of enabling local people to access our produce. The production and harvest of the vegetables will result in a number of volunteering and learning opportunities, increasing as the project becomes established. 

Renewable Energy

In 2017, we installed a £400,000 solar and ground source heating and cooling system for the business park; providing warm air in winter and cold in summer, and a system better for the tenants as well as the environment. We were very proud to be pioneering this technology at scale, as it was the biggest system in the UK at the time and was a finalist at a national sustainability award. 

In addition to the existing heat pumps and solar, we are at the beginning stages of partnering with a local company developing a system which processes rubbish generated on site into usable energy, without the transport emissions produced by processing recycling and other waste off site. Having been a pioneer project for ground source heat at scale, we are hoping to also be pioneer with this new technology. 

Our existing waste management policy supports renewable energy already, as our non-recyclable waste is turned into electricity rather than being taken to landfill.