During this dark winter time of introspection and soul searching I know that many people have been asking themselves the questions, ‘what can I do?’ ‘what can I do to make a difference?’.Faced with the overwhelming evidence of the IPCC report that starkly demonstrates that if we human beings do not radically change the way we live now our present trajectory will lead to inevitable climate collapse, societal collapse and ultimately possibly our extinction.
We may choose to change our lifestyle choices, take political action, civil disobedience or any other means. Anything that beats passivity which, in these times, in my view, is not an option.
Both On the Hill the social enterprise and Oxen Park farm the 55 acres of beautiful fertile Teign Valley land are working together to explore ways in which all who are involved can create examples of how things could be done. On the Hill is taking a radical approach in the way we educate our children. We aim to overcome the disconnection with the natural world while working to develop emotional literacy and a sense of self-necessary to face the challenges of an uncertain future. Our medium is land-based experiential learning where participants have the opportunity to be involved in transformative experiences and meaningful work on the land, building resilience, eco-literacy, practical skills, a deeper sense of self and of community and relationship to the natural and farmed environment.
We are committed to making this land available for educational, social and therapeutic purposes as well as exploring ways of farming that are appropriate for the needs of a collapsing climate. Converting some of our pasture land to woodland is part of this as well as extending our vegetable production, planting fruit and nut trees, looking at the possibilities of biomass crops and crops for fibre and engaging in the ongoing discussion about the role of grazing animals.
Our tree planting began in the winter of 2016/17 and will go on indefinitely. We will be planting 400 more trees this Feb and March bringing the total so far to around 2000. There is also a lot of follow up work involved in the aftercare of those that were planted over the last two years. We have a large population of fallow deer living on the hill, they like to eat trees so rather ironically we have to protect them with plastic guards, these get knocked over or have weeds growing through them and last year we lost some in the drought so more mulching is needed.
Please come and help us on Saturday, Feb 16th and on March the 23rd when we will be carrying out this work, cooking delicious soup, meeting new people, engaging in rich conversations whilst doing something tangible that will all contribute in a small way to absorbing some excess carbon dioxide.
We look forward to welcoming you.
Come and join us on a volunteer day at the Farm this spring - we will be looking after trees and planting some more on the 16th of February and the 23rd of March. Find out more here.