We are excited to feature Nick because he is extremely resourceful and always looking for low-cost and easy options for making his small farm run effectively.
1.Can you tell us a bit about you and your farming setup?
We are a small community farm, started 6 years ago with the intention of re-inventing tiny family scale agriculture. Motivations are climate change, food security, sustainability etc.
We are on a 5 acre plot, deep in a Pennine valley with plans to expand. We have several businesses within the whole: a veg business; a fruit tree nursery where we sell trees to community groups etc; and a teaching business where we seem to be developing a USP of alternative provision – for the ones who fit better into an outdoor setting than a school.
We also have a nano dairy, of 3 jersey cows, and are working towards sales of unpasteurised milk. Two pigs lap up the whey from cheesemaking and apple pulp from cider making from the nearly 1000 trees we planted 8 years ago.
We have nominal support locally, but the real support is young people coming to stay and work on the farm, for food and accommodation, from all over the world. Often the BEST people and future leaders. We have a strong sense of changing lives, globally.
2.Can you tell us the story of the latest tool you added to your farming setup? What works? what doesn't work?
This summer we made two new gadgets. A solar fruit drier, out of the polytunnel front door (we take it off in summer) vented with a solar fan. But the key to its success is slates: Black, heat absorbing and we had them already!
The other is a development of a simple milking machine we bought. We successively replaced the parts until we had the capacity we needed, and it ran on 12V from our solar supply. The cows like it, we like it, it’s easy to use, simple and cheap.
3.What is the most important tool you use? What's so good about it?
Probably the most useful thing we have is a supply of re used black one ton water tanks (IBC’s). We use them for all sorts: chopped in half for movable grow beds; for water storage that stores heat passively in the polytunnels; chopped down to make a hay feeder for the cows; to drag stuff around the farm; for a duck pond, or a gosling nursery; we even just use them for drinking water storage!
If you want to hear more about Nick's tools or ideas you can get in touch through Incredible Farm facebook or twitter, or send us any questions and we will pass them on.