Martin’s Motivation 

I identified several problems and wanted to find a solution to them:

  • Excessive food miles
  • Heavy reliance on unsustainable, plastic packaging 
  • Use of petrochemical fertiliser for food production 
  • Forgetting how our forefathers grew food
  • The system that ties so many into cheap, processed and imported food
  • Obesity, in part, due to poor diet
  • The lack of knowledge about food. Where it comes from, how it’s treated and how it’s wasted 
I asked my friends, family and the local community about these issues to see if we could come up with a solution. We discussed the idea of a farm shop but having many vehicles doing one journey wasn’t going to help with the amount of fuel being burnt and added to food miles. They talked about wanting to be more ethical in their food choices but found it extremely challenging to know what to do and which model to follow. They all agreed that plastic packaging needed to go. We moved onto the idea of making a community sustained allotment, where the farm does the work, growing to your needs. It’s the solution to not having the space, the time or the inclination to grow food for yourself. We all remember our grandparents’ veg patches and how wonderful the strawberries tasted. We agreed that we need to go back to seasonality in food. They wanted help to use what we can grow locally with interesting and tasty recipes for everyone to enjoy. The idea of High Barn Farm was born. We are doing this as a social enterprise, which means putting the profits back into the business to further diversify the range we offer.

There are, of course, challenges to this. There’s various pests to keep away from our tender plants. We are doing this biodynamically, using companion planting. The pests from one plant will be eaten by the pests of its neighbour. It does result in a few holes in your cabbage leaves but we think it's worth it. I know this is tough but I am a very stubborn man. This is going to work.

I am a commercial farmer and I plant seeds every year and raise animals to best practice guidelines. It is on a large scale, involving heavy machinery. Before High Barn Community Farm, nothing grown on this farm was eaten in this area. Some things end up in Egypt! This will be on a smaller scale and much more specialised.

We are High Barn. You are High Barn. We are farming for our community. High Barn are ethically producing your local food needs. Local food for local people.