We want to involve as many people from the community of the Forest of Dean as possible. Almost everyone in the forest has a strong sense of responsibility to sustain the forest as a unique environment. Yorkley court is an opportunity to enrich and enliven that sense of responsibility.
The benefits can be described in terms of their economic, ecological, and social effects but we believe that we can begin toe see how these aspects are deeply connected through grounding our understanding in our experience of what it means to be at home.
The economic benefits would come from the employment and training opportunities offered by the co-operative. Many aspects of the project will require specialist skills not just agricultural but implementation of renewable energy systems, renovation, low impact construction and the practice of social skills dealing with conflict and co-operation.
The most exciting benefit will be the diversity of organic food and produce grown in the Forest of Dean for the Forest of Dean. Once the agricultural systems are in place food will be readily available at less than the cost of the supermarkets.
The restoration of the farm house, cottage and barns are of utmost importance if we are to save them from complete degradation. The cottage, reportedly recorded in the doomsday book in a serious state of disrepair. Through volunteers directed by skilled professionals we will see the transformation of this building into a community resource for education, training and research.
Ecologically we would all benefit from agroecology practices that encourage an increase in biodiversity and the use of renewable energy resources. Agroecological methods look at ways to decrease dependence on off farm inputs such as chemical festilisers and pesticides by working with and encourage a diversity of ecosystems and wildlife that naturally provide the fertility for the soil and protection from pests and disease.
Arguably the most important social benefit is the chance for people to come together and participate in a decision making process that is inclusive and respectful of the values we most care about that will give the most benefit to community. It is this direct involvement with something so fundamental to our lives, food, that offers the greatest and yet simplest benefit to the community. To be part of the process of growing the food we eat is an inspiring and empowering experience. We believe it is very important that our children, the next generation have this connection to their food as a central part of their education. Grounding their learning in the economic reality of a healthy sustainable lifestyle.