The powers of our natural world
A few months back, when the evenings were still warm, my family and I spent a weekend out at Rock Farm, just outside of Brighton. But it's not quite what it sounds like, Rock Farm is not an ordinary farm, it's a haven, a safe place to reconnect with the powers of the land.
A little bit of context for you... "Rock Farm grows produce on six acres of community land in West Sussex, offering access to horticultural therapy and community gardening for a range of volunteers and vulnerable groups. The fruit and vegetables are sold at Florence Road Market, among other outlets, and supply a range of other One Church food projects including Chomp for low-income families and the Winter Nightshelter."
We came to know about Rock Farm through our weekly visits to Florence Road Market where we met Ben and his family. Ben develops social projects aimed at drawing people out of isolation and into meaningful activity. He is part of the incredible team changing lives at One Church in Brighton. Since One Church took over Rock Farm it's been inspiring to hear about everything they're doing and planning to do there and even better to see it in action.
After a 16 mile cycle, that included a fair few hills on the way out of Steyning, we were definitely ready for a hearty meal. We got the BBQ going and everything we cooked was either from Rock Farm or the butcher who lives just down the road. Our food miles were more like food metres.
The smell of sautéed green beans filled the air as we threw the sausages on to the grill. There is nothing better than knowing exactly where your food has come from and actually being able to see it growing around you.
Ben walked us around the plot and talked us through their ideas for each and every metre of land you could see. The way in which One Church is working with the land is so different to the way most farms work these days. Instead of fighting with natural occurrences and trying to alter delicate ecosystems they work alongside mother nature and learn from the land to develop ways of producing healthy, happy crops. By working with nature in this way they are creating a sustainable environment that cares for both the land and the people.
"Moving forward, Rock Farm is developing permaculture growing strategies that care for both the land and the people in an ecologically cohesive environment. At the same time, Florence Road Market is moving toward sustainable long-term relationships that invite an expanding community of people to join in both conscious shopping and earth care within real community." - One Church
The benefits of reconnecting with the natural world are endless and for vulnerable people Rock Farm provides a caring, well-balanced space in which the land and those caring for it can thrive and heal.
The entire evening was spent enjoying local food, with a beautiful group of people, around a glowing fire under a starlit sky. I really don't know what more you could possibly need in life.
If you would like to know more about the incredible work One Church are doing and how you can support them head over to their website: http://onechurchbrighton.org/