The Soil Association’s Education Manager, Rupert Aker, provides an overview of the Organic Farm School:

The Soil Association is the leading organisation in the UK promoting sustainable and organic food and farming. The Daylesford Foundation supported us to deliver the Organic Farm School project, running practical courses on organic farms for people seeking new skills in growing, cooking, smallholding and crafts.  Conceived in 2008, the Organic Farm School initiative aimed to engage with the public at large, connecting them with traditional rural skills and enabling them to make a connection between the land and where their food originates.

The project was supported with promotional materials, certificates and an interactive website where the twenty host farms can upload and manage their own events. Over the three year duration we delivered over 750 courses with over 5000 people attending these practical days out – learning anything from keeping chickens, beekeeping and bread making to hedge-laying, foraging and growing organic vegetables. One attendee even set up her own small farm and veg box scheme having been inspired by an Organic Farm School course at Daylesford Farm. The Daylesford Foundation funding has enabled us to set up a project that is sustainable following the end of the grant, with over 50 courses listed on the website at time of writing.

Here are some comments from attendees on the courses…

‘Thank you for organising such an informative and delightful Hen Keeping course on Friday 15th July. Matt [the course leader] was inspiring, encouraging and down to earth!! The finale of seeing an omelette in the kitchen was super. I always thought I could cook an omelette!!’

Suzy Bilby,

Hen Keeping


‘I thoroughly enjoyed the smallholding course – Richard Smith [course leader] is so passionate and knowledgeable about organic farming you can’t help be inspired. I also went on a couple of the kitchen garden courses with Jez [course leader] – another motivating member of your team.’

Kate Fellows, Pencuke Farm,

Introduction to Small Holding and Grow Your Own


‘I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my bee-keeping course on Friday 23rd. Tanya [course leader] was an amazing and inspirational teacher who never tired of answering my annoying questions! The farm and ‘classroom’ were absolutely stunning.  Thank you so much for such a great opportunity and I hope to return for another course.’

Nicola Martin,

Bee-keeping for Beginners


‘In our 21st Century rush to satisfy our unbridled appetite for consumerism and all things technological, this farm school is a haven for the world weary. It gives everyone a chance to re-connect with nature, the soil, plants and our inner child. The opportunity is there, and we all have a great deal to gain by taking part.”

Silvana de Soissons, Chef and Food Writer,

Food Foraging