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REYTA Finalist Just Beverley shortlisted nominee o2 community publication award 2017
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Molescroft Farm - diversifying to meet people's needs

Molescroft Farm is an efficient farm dedicated to producing top-quality food whilst caring for wildlife, the environment and the wider community. It’s over 600 hectares in size, which now hosts a variety of smaller businesses which work alongside the main arable farm. 

Camilla Parsonage and her sister, Tamara Hall, who is the Managing Director of Molescroft Farm, have a passion for ethical farming and for engaging with the public to show the way in which their food is produced. Their farm is part of ‘Open Farm Sunday’ when they showcase the way in which they manage the land and the wild-life that shares the land with them - in fact, Tamara is Regional Co-ordinator for the scheme. There is always a high level of interest from the public and children especially when they visit the farm on its Open Days.

This high level of engagement has been the instigator for Molescroft Farm Children’s Nursery, which opened on  September 4th. Camilla said: “Tamara and I grew up on a farm. We would go out for the day, coming back when we were hungry. Kids can’t do that today - the world is a different place. But here we can allow children to experience something of that uncomplicated life where they learn through play and practice rather than through structured teaching. The nursery has allotment to grow its own vegetables; the kids can see the sheep (from Beswick) which live under the solar panels and watch the pigs (which belong to the Pig Club) being fed and watered so they learn food comes from. Parents can get involved, too.”

The Nursery, with its accessible ethos, fits well with the Community Allotments which were set up in 2012. Tamara won a Nuffield Farming Scholarship looking at community-supported initiatives; had a 4-acre field which was not suitable for farming and with the aid of a Lottery Grant, Molescroft Grange Allotments Society was born. All the allotments were taken within days and there is a long waiting list! Call 07909 905233 if you would like to find out more about the allotments.

Another field which has gotten a new lease of life is now a Dog-walking Field. The field was an old grass field, not suitable for farming. Horses kept in it kept getting out! The idea was instigated by a lady who has sled-dogs who had nowhere to let her dogs off the leash, but it is also useful for dogs who have issues with other dogs or unreliable recall. It is very busy! Sessions can be booked for 30mins or 1 hour through: www.molesfarm.co.uk/home/dogfield

Frith Farm has also set up at Molescroft Grange, growing vegetables and salads using chemical-free methods which are sold through community supported agriculture (box) schemes and to local businesses. Volunteers who work on the farm get paid in vegetables! People who purchase the boxes are encouraged to share deliveries. To find out more, visit: www.frithfarming.com

Along with luxury offices, all highly-insulated and heated from the solar panels and a biomass boiler, is Creations Furniture Repairers and maker of curtains, blinds, loose covers and soft furnishings. Creations have two workshops at Molescroft Grange - the soft-furnishing workshop is the place to go for your soft furnishing needs. Creations can reupholster chairs and sofas - even car seats - in fabric or leather and are experts in French polishing. Contact them on: www.direct-furniture-repairs.co.uk

 Parsonage Equestrian is run by Camilla and her husband Gary. Both have competed in national and international competitions and won many medals. Gary was part of the British 3-day event team at the Atlanta Olympics, is Technical Advisor for British Eventing and was, until recently, Chairman of Selectors for the British Pony Squad. Both are now involved in coaching and teaching. Camilla coaches the British Team which won silver at the recent European Championships in Belgium. They are building a cross-country course for training purposes, which will be a huge local resource for people who wish to compete whether at amateur or higher levels.

Tamara and Camilla are so enthusiastic about the future of the farm that it is infectious - and you do wonder what other ideas they will come up with! But at the heart of all of their schemes is good stewardship of the land for the health of the people who benefit from it - and long may that continue! www.molesfarm.co.uk  

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