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Local Food Directory

This is our free directory to local food producers in suport of the Cornish Diet idea: 80%+ of your food produced in Cornwall. Miles better value than any supermarket : Reduction in food miles and energy use + Better for the local economy: more jobs + Increase in food security + Better animal welfare + Better social cohesiveness + Better value for money + Better deal for farmers + Better quality, fresher + Reskilling in traditional food preparation.
Free entries for Cornwall based food suppliers. Just click on 'Add new comment' describing your local food business or use the 'Contact us' form to send in your advert/ message to publish.
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PaulS's picture

Cottage Farm - what we do and why we do it

Cottage Farm: organic, sustainable and carbon neutral, powered by renewable energy. An exemplar organic farm of the future

Here at Cottage Farm we have demonstrated that it is perfectly possible to farm sustainably and in a resilient manner, that is without using fossil fuels but still utilising machinery and energy. Every single aspect of our business, farm, house, lifestyle, travel and involvement in the community is driven by the need for sustainability and resilience. I have given presentations about that at The Royal Agriculture College, The Transition Network conference, the Eco-Innovations conference held at Westminster Hall and various other meetings, including speaking in Parliament to MPs from an All Party Parliamentary Group. More on that at www.TransitionNC.org (click on Local Food Producers Directory and Cottage Farm).

Cottage Farm is an organic, sustainable, carbon neutral farm powered by renewable energy with near zero use of fossil fuels, one of the first in the country.
We rear native breeds almost exclusively on grass with minimal use of supplementary fodder, following a high welfare regime and sell fresh organic meat boxes. When delivering our boxes, we use carbon neutral means of transport and reusable boxes.

Having bought Cottage Farm back in August 2005, not having had any farming experience at all - soon after I learned about Peak Oil, our aim was to establish a food producing business with a zero carbon footprint, serving our local community & other customers at affordable prices by cutting all our fossil fuel consumption.

We converted the farm to organic status, established a herd of local rare breed Red Ruby cattle and a herd of native rare breed Wiltshire Horn sheep and now we supply our neighbours and others with fresh beef and lamb boxes at below the price of conventianal meat due to cutting out fertiliser, feed and energy costs and removing all intermediaries by selling directly to customers.

At the same time we have completed conversion of our house and farm to zero carbon footprint, reducing our carbon footprint from 7 tonnes CO2/year to –0.7 tonnes CO2/year on the house alone, representing a decrease by 110% (as measured by the Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust) In addition, as an organic farm, we sequester into the soil some 150 tonnes of CO2 annually.

First we reduced consumption with loft and wall insulation, draft proofing, low energy and LED light bulbs, A rated appliances, wind up radio, solar security lights, replacing electric kettle by a hob kettle, connecting washing machine and dishwasher to both hot and cold water and other measures.
We then switched our space heating from oil-fired boiler to wood burner and wood fuelled Rayburn for cooking (and heating). We also installed a Heat Store, which is powered by 40 Solar Thermal tubes, a wood burner and an immersion heater to provide hot water and to feed into the existing central heating circuit to distribute the heat from the heat store around the house. Solar Thermal and wood burner is an excellent combination providing plenty of hot water and space heat 365 days a year.
We use our own wood from the farm, which we cut, prepare and dry ourselves using various specialised tools. The trees in hedges and a 2 acre wood is maintained to ensure plentiful supply for future generations.

Electricity is provided by a combination of a wind turbine and PV panels, both with on-grid inverters, which produces power every day of the year. Our water comes from a bore hole pumped using the home grown electricity.

We also make our own 100% bio-diesel from waste vegetable oil, which powers our car, our Landrover and the farm tractor, and is used to deliver our meat boxes. That means that all the work done on the farm and all our deliveries as well as our general driving is almost completely CO2 free.

So far we planted some 200 trees to supplement our 2 acre wood to have something to burn in future years. We also stopped cutting hedges to encourage trees to grow, replanted an old orchard with old Cornish varieties of apple, pear, cherry and plum, as well as establishing a soft fruit garden.

We grow own vegetables, as well as keeping chickens for eggs and geese for special occasions and we're starting to experiment with Permaculture.

We are active members of the Tamar Valey Organic Group, a research group of practicing organic farmers working with the Duchy College and Clear About Carbon.This year we have oversown our permanent pastures with an innovative mix of several old variaties of grass, legumes and other fodder plants, such as chicory, lucerne, and yarrow. All these varieties are perennials with extensive root systems and high feed value.The aim is to ensure 100% grass feeding by extending the season in both directions, by achieving high drought resistance and by saturating the soil with root systems to eventually allow overwintering in the fields.

Our sustainability ethos also extends to the type of machinery used. Almost all our machinery was bought second hand, all mechanical with no electronic components and thus maintainable and repairable by local mechanics, helping to maintain local skill base and keep value circulating in the local community.
Another aspect of our methodology is to sell our produce only directly to end customers, cutting out all the intermediaries that would otherwise absorb the majority of the profit, leaving the farmer with a minimal return. We deliver directly to our customers, but limit deliveries to only a few specific days in order to minimize food miles. Our customers receive regular newsletters updating them on developments and explaining the various innovations, our methods and motivations.

To help spread the message, I am a founding member of Transition Cornwall Network and Transition North Cornwall, for which I administer the website: www.TransitionNC.org, which is packed with over two thousand items helpful in converting to a sustainable lifestyle and to maximizing resilience. Notable sections include News, Events, Local Food Directory, Local Renewable Energy Suppliers Directory, Local Services Directory, and Learning Section, each with unlimited free space made available to each supplier or source. TransitionNC now has over 1300 members and is one of the largest Transition groups in the country.

We are featured by Superhomes, Grand Design Great British Refurb, the Sustainable Development Commission, the Transition Movement, Farming Futures, The Royal Agricultural College, Cornwall Today and others. I am now also being invited to speak to various groups on these subjects to demonstrate that organic carbon neutral farming free of fossil fuels is possible and that every farm in the country could be and should be a net energy exporter. Recently we have been selected as finalists for the national BBC Food and Farming Awards in the sustainable Farmer of the Year Category and thus will feature on BBC1 and Radio4.
Superhomes (www.Superhomes.org.uk) is a charity building up a national network of exemplar energy efficient older retrofitted homes of which Cottage Farm is the first Superhome in Cornwall. Superhomes require that each member has cut their carbon emissions by at least 60%. We have reduced by 119% (i.e. we are carbon neutral and we export carbon neutral energy to the grid). As members of Superhomes we hold regular monthly Open Days, where members of the public learn about, touch and feel the various energy saving measures and renewable energy devices and are inspired to do likewise, saving themselves money on energy, as well as enjoying an organic farm walk to look at our land and animals.

The best place to find out more about Cottage Farm is in our Local Food Directory: www.transitionnc.org (click on Food Directory and look up Cottage Farm) or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fieldpower-Organics-at-Cottage-Farm/142171... or listen to an interview with me on On Your Farm: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b015ygx0

Fieldpower Organics: delivering organic produce in London without costing the Earth: recently established new service, which delivers organic produce from Cottage Farm and later from other local organic farms to London addresses once a month by our carbon neutral transport – the first such service anywhere in the country. See www.bigbarn.co.uk/marketplace/vendors/Fieldpower

In summary, we believe that Cottage Farm is the most advanced exemplar organic farm of the future anywhere in the country. We produce food in a sustainable, carbon-sink and resilient manner and are finding that we can do so at a lower price than conventionally produced food. As energy and fertiliser prices soar in the years ahead, this model of farming and living will likely take over from the conventional method. The model is entirely reproducible and expandable to any larger size. Feel free to contact us.

Cottage Farm, Jacobstow, Cornwall EX23 0BU. Tel 01840 230 548, email: Cottage.Farm@tiscali.co.uk
Sustainable organic farm powered by renewable energy
2011/12 finalist BBC Food and Farming Awards in the category of sustainable Farmer of the Year
2010 and 2011 finalist Cornwall Sustainability Awards

On-line shop: www.CottageFarmOrganics.co.uk and for London:
www.bigbarn.co.uk/marketplace/vendors/Fieldpower

www.TransitionNC.org (Click Food Directory and look up Cottage Farm)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fieldpower-Organics-at-Cottage-Farm/142171...

Founder member Transition Cornwall and Transition North Cornwall (www.TransitionNC.org)
Founder member Powerswitch.org (www.Powerswitch.org)
Speaker at national conferences, House of Commons and local groups on the future of energy, food and farming.