Case Study: Court Farm Scarecrows
We ran an innovative harvest celebration that blended online community participation with the "offline" outdoor exhibition of the Women's Institute scarecrows and our first ever sunflower crop at Court Farm.
Titled "WI Scarecrows + Sunflowers" Amateur Photo Competition, it began in August 2015 and ends this Sunday, Oct 4, the end of the British Food Fortnight.
We collected 30 "Centenary" WI scarecrows from the World Garden exhibition of 80 of the 6 foot creations at Lullingstone Castle, bringing them by cattle trailer to Court Farm. They became a huge hit, especially when the sunflowers began to bloom behind them on what is now known as the Fence Gallery.
Young and old were both thrilled by the clever arts & craft of the Women's Institute branches in West Kent (7000 members) that had created such entertaining features to our spectacular sunflower field. Many asked "harvest questions" about why the flowers were planted, when will they be harvested and above all, is Andrew, the farmer going to plant another crop next season? We have delighted the community and new fans of Court Farm by explaining we must leave the roadside field fallow for a year but yes, we will plant sunflowers again in 2016 in a different field, to which Kent Beekeeping Association volunteers have offered to run guided tours as the sunflowers attracted a multitude of bees - and other wildlife as some visitors noted!
Because of the number and quality of photo entries we created 2 categories "Experimental Sunflowers" and "WI Scarecrows + Sunflowers". We've invited some art professors from the University of Creative Arts to judge the winners and runners up in the coming weeks. The prizes are "luxury meat trays" of our own food products made at Court Farm Butchery & Country Larder!
We also ran an Open Day at Court Farm on 29 August which featured a pop up cinema and before the movie, kids and families attended a large BBQ in marquees overlooking the Medway River and valley. We held the family-friendly event on our croquet lawn for the first time, next to our early medieval Hall House home and converted oast houses.
The kids loved eating our beef burgers and playing under the marquee where we had children's activities for them. The group enjoyed spending the morning and afternoon on the farm where the children were able to run freely and ask about farm life and how we produce food in the Butchery & Country Larder.
The farm shop was open the whole day and did excellent trade as a result of the Open Day, Pop Up Cinema and BBQ on the croquet lawn. Early in the morning I led a Medway Ramblers group from Court Farm, down to the local village and back past the North Downs (chalk cliffs surrounding our farm). The Ramblers who attended loved the walk and many left with bags full of British food - most of it our own lamb & beef, and meat and groceries from our local suppliers!
HARVEST HEROES 2015 videos from the field! We are published these every Tuesday on our Facebook page: