The founders of the Stockwood Community Benefit Society have clear values rooted in sustainable agriculture and ethical business and they promote the Business Park as a great place to work if you are interested in these things. Yet our doors are kept open to all who come towards us, whether the prospective tenants values and interests match ours, or not.
We have made this clear and pro-active choice because we are inclusive and we do engage in conversations with our tenants about what we do, and why we do it in the way we do. For some tenants this is interesting and it engages them. A sense of community emerges as we go on farm walks together, or even more when we work together, for instance during lambing in 2013. The appalling weather meant that some of the Ewes didn’t have enough milk to feed all their lambs and so help was needed to fed those ‘orphan’ lambs. This help was provided in part by some of the Business Park tenants.
The Elysia Partnership which, is selling the Stockwood Estate to the Stockwood Community Benefit Society, built the Dr.Hauschka skincare brand in the UK and rode the wave as organic became fashionable in the late nineties and early to mid-two thousands. We were happy that what we believed in was so popular and was making such headway in the market. Then later in 2008 when the credit-crunch came we were shocked at the way organic appeared to become un-cool because it was perceived as a luxury and as something expensive and of bad value.
We realised that organic has become exclusive and that, as a movement too, it, perhaps without meaning to, managed to say “you are wrong” to everyone who was not part of it. Of course the part of society that was not organic was much larger than the part that was, and in effect the organic movement was alienating themselves from the mainstream. Time showed that was actually a dangerous and unsustainable approach. We therefore are absolutely clear and proud that we have values around sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture and ethical business and we want to engage with as many people as possible about these values, and that means being inclusive and open to any respectable tenant that wants to rent their premises from Stockwood Community Benefit Society.