A farm is a place of change. Not only do the animals grow and change throughout the year, but one can also see the change in the vegetable fields during the different seasons. Change is also happening within the people who lead the farm. As in all areas in life, people come and go. It’s been a few months now since Arjen left Newton Dee farm and Gideon changed his workplace to the bakery. Now our beloved Newton Dee farm is lead by two women: Coralie and Ginny. Also, Daniel – who worked in Murtle before – has joined the Newton Dee farmers.
A new team has been created and even though the new farmers are still in the process of finding their place on the farm, one can certainly see that they are heading in a good direction. This is due to all the work and effort the new workshop leaders are putting into making Newton Dee farm a workplace where respect for the animals, and for each other as well, is making sustainability the highest of principles. It is safe to say that Newton Dee farm has been given into good hands.
Coralie, who came to Newton Dee farm about one year ago and who took over the farm together with Ginny back in November, has had lots of different experience in the agricultural area and definitely knows what she’s doing. One can feel that she has a clear vision for the farm and that she’s working hard to achieve her goals. Even while I was interviewing her for this article she was constantly aware of her surroundings and of what’s going on at the farm. I was honestly impressed by her dedication and passion for what she’s doing.
However, not only Coralie but also Ginny is contributing a lot to making the place work. Before Newton Dee, Ginny had never worked on a big farm, but in her childhood her family had a small croft with pigs, sheep, chickens and ponies and she also used to work on an organic farm while she was in art school. The land has always played a big role in Ginny’s life and while I was interviewing her I could really feel that Ginny has the right attitude towards the farm work; I could hear the passion in her voice when she was talking about her new life as a farmer.
Enough now about the new workshop leaders - I think it’s time to put some focus on the farm itself, so here we go: Newton Dee farm is not only geographically at the heart of the village, but it also plays a central role for the whole community as it is producing quality food for the various households in Newton Dee. At the moment, there are 24 dairy cows, which are milked once a day. Their offspring are either sold, kept for breeding or used for meat production. Amongst the other animals one can find - an Aberdeen Angus bull, 50 sheep (lambs are due in April), 200 laying hens, 40 chickens, 20 ducks, as well as 2 geese. Furthermore, there are 3 little cats which always linger around the tea room and which can also be considered as part of the farm animals (however, they are obviously not there for food purposes!).
The Newton Dee farmers try their best to make the farm as sustainable as possible and are constantly trying to improve the existing system. For instance, they would like to find more ways to process excess milk. They also want to continue to improve the grazing system. Another plan for the near future is to carry out a survey about how much meat the different houses need; by finding this out they are hoping to be more exact with the meat production so that fewer animals have to go to the mart and more meat consumption is happening within the community.
One can see that there’s a lot going on in this workshop and Coralie and Ginny certainly do have a lot of plans for the future. Right now, however, they are still in a learning process and are figuring new things out about the farm every day. Therefore, the number one priority at the moment is just to manage the place. Nonetheless, after having talked to them both, I can say with certainty that the future of Newton Dee farm is looking very bright.