Event Date: 6th September 2023
Venue: Wye Organic, Goodrich Village Hall, Goodrich, Ross on Wye, HR9 6HX
Kitty Stainsby, Judith Williams, Rich Summers, Rob Bunn
Kindly funded by the GREAT project, this was a farm to fork event starting with a walk round an inspiring PfL certified farm in the heart of the Wye Valley. Guest speakers from across the food chain include Kitty Stainsby - Stock Manager at Wye Organic, Judith Williams - Forest of Dean Food Hub and industry renowned Rich Summers of Summers & Co covering a range of topics including direct sales, food hubs, butchers, restaurants and the carcase. The event also provided a fantastic opportunity for those attending to talk to a diverse range of people within our community with an evening social meal built into the agenda to maximise this.
Key Outcomes of event
● There were 20 attendees from a total of 17 farms (full attendee list included below)
● From the evaluation forms, the responses given were very positive with overall event satisfaction at 4.75, content of the session, 4.7, opportunity to ask questions, 5 and ability to network with other farmers, 5.
“Great event, very useful content”
General Event Overview
The focus of the event was to bring people together to explore ways of maximising the value of livestock produced in regenerative systems. A varied, multi functional agenda on the day, provided thought provoking inspiration to those attending, of potential ways to help them maximise routes to market for their businesses.
After registration and refreshments, we all gathered together and did round the room introductions to include who you were, where from, what your business was and the livestock you keep. Undertaking this is such a good way to help people find out more about the people attending, but also help facilitate conversations throughout the day.
Lift sharing in a few cars, we headed out onto the farm and heard from Kitty and partner James, how they manage their cattle (Herefords) and sheep (Easy Care) enterprises, seeing a group of cows and calves and a group of store lambs at grass, before returning to the village hall for the afternoon session.
Over the course of the afternoon we heard from all 4 speakers, with plenty of opportunity for questions and further discussions. Rob showcased Pasture for Life & Supply Chain, with a detailed example of an established successful collaboration between two PfL businesses to maximise routes to market. Kitty gave a detailed overview of how she manages the marketing and relationship building side of her business. Judith gave a particularly useful, detailed insight into the Forest of Dean Food Hub and Rich Summers concluded the session by giving us a butchers perspective, the challenges, reality, insight into what the customer wants, before then moving on to talk about the carcase, including some really useful ways of adding value to and upselling cuts - with lots of questions!
After the formal sessions, we spent the remainder of the evening enjoying a delicious shoulder of lamb meal prepared by chef Simon. Conversations flowed and with the village hall needing to be vacated by 8pm and some folks still keen to chat, conversations moved outside whilst we got tidied and packed up!
Throughout the course of the afternoon, there was a really friendly, collaborative feel, with many folks meeting for the first time, but keen to engage with each other from the outset.
Speakers: Kitty Stainsby - Wye Organic, Judith Williams - Forest of Dean Food Hub, Rich Summers - Summers & Co, Rob Bunn - Pasture for Life
Facilitation: Ruth Pullan