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Farm project is the best in Britain

Posted onPosted on 9th Oct

A vegetable growing community project has been crowned Britain’s best countryside social enterprise at the Rural Business Awards (RBA) 2017.

Rhubarb Farm CIC in Langwith won the Social Enterprise/Community Project of the Year category at an awards ceremony compered by Jules Hudson, of BBC’s Escape To The Country.

The farm says it is about “growing people” as well as vegetables, and supporting those in rural communities with multiple and complex needs to gain confidence, take training, make friendships, learn about growing and, wherever possible, move towards employment.

Judged a “fantastic scheme” by the RBA team, the farm takes drug and alcohol misusers, ex-offenders, people with mental and physical ill health, people with physical and learning disabilities, school students struggling with their behaviour, isolated older men and people with dementia.

The enterprise grows about 50 varieties of fruit and vegetables, supplying on a small scale local farm shops, the Welbeck School of Artisan Food and a group of customers who have weekly veg bags under a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme.

Jennie Street, managing director at Rhubarb Farm CIC, said: “Our dedicated team works tirelessly to help people in the area build their skills and confidence and to have our work recognised is a fantastic achievement and an illustration of our team’s hard work and high standards.

“To be recognised alongside other outstanding rural businesses has been an unforgettable experience for us.”

The awards are the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses.

In their third year, they are run in partnership with the CLA and Amazon.

Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said: “Farm shops, food producers and rural start-ups are a vital part of the UK’s economy, generating over £230 billion every year.

“It is fantastic to see the breadth of talent on display across our rural communities and I am delighted so many hardworking businesses have been honoured.”

“The stories of these successful rural businesses are incredibly inspiring and just go to show the immense talent that exists at the heart of our rural communities in the UK,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon.

“I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to those who were successful in the awards, and to thank all those who entered and shared their successes, and wish them the very best for the future.”

Pictured are Jennie Street, left, and Rhubarb Farm manager Anita Ollerenshaw.