Don’t Just Go Local For Lent!

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Elizabeth Truss MP and MP for Charnwood Edward Argar feeding the apalcas at Roots Thorpe FarmMany of us will have given something up or taken something up for the 40 days and 40 nights that lead up to Easter, but does it really have to stop there? We have taken our local for lent philosophy and are rolling it out all year, so much so that we are looking for the support of local people... and local charities. 

For the last two years we have held a harvest festival at the farm to celebrate food and music and raise money for a charity close to our hearts. This year rather than just one charity we are looking to support a number of local charities. We know that many members of our extended Roots Family – the Roots shoppers are involved in some incredible causes, often those that mean an awful lot to them, but they are smaller lesser known charities that rely on the kindness of people for support, so we want to help. 

If you are involved with or know of a charity within a 10 mile radius of Roots that could do with a helping hand, be it new kitchen equipment, materials or supplies or are raising money for big items like a new roof, more support workers, food, clothing etc then pop on in and see us, bring some information about the charity and your involvement and we will add to our target total board – let’s see just how many people on our doorstep we can help while celebrating food and music. 

Not a local lady but a VIP - We had a special visitor to the farm in March, Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs – Elizabeth Truss accompaniedby the MP for Charnwood Edward Argar. As you know I love farming so it was great to have a person of such importance come and visit us, I am still a little unsure why she chose me, but very glad she did. 

We showed her all the things we are doing and have had to do to diversify, as although Dad and I are farmers through and through, just working the land unfortunately won’t pay the bills, and as sad as it is, we need to keep on changing to fit with the times just to keep us farming. There were many things in the shop and on the farm like our school visits, work with charities each year and our resident rascals that interested the Secretary of State, but the thing that her whole team were very impressed with was my finding a use for everything and keeping character in all I do – namely the lights in the parlour – I really should have considered making a job lot!! 

As well as lots of children visiting with local schools as part of our link to the Food For Life Partnership and an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Monday, we have unveiled a couple of new faces on the farm that may keep our younger visitors interested. A resident cow and sheep – but not just any cow and sheep, ones that you can ride!! They are great fun for children, obviously I had to give them a go just to make sure Harriet and friends would like them!! 

The last year has been a huge learning curve for Fliss and myself, Harriet has changed our lives in so many wonderful ways, she has already given us many ideas and new perspectives for Roots. Family time is so important and we are lucky that she doesn’t mind being carted around the farm or farm shops on our days off – only now wherever we go we look at what there is for her to do and see, where we can enjoy time with her often over a nice cuppa or bit of cake, or most importantly where is child friendly and you are not treated like a second class citizen if your child makes a noise! 

We have always wanted Roots to feel like a family, for people to feel comfortable here and for children to enjoy being children, we now understand the wrong colour straw in a drink can be the difference between a great day and a testing day out and a child woken from a nap is often not the friendliest for a good half hour!! By having Tractor Ted or cartoons playing in the coffee shop and the altering of the feed shed to make way for our animal rides we hope that more mummies and daddies and grannies and grandpas will think Roots is a go to place, where it doesn’t matter about a bit of spilled juice and you may even be able to drink a hot cup of tea while the children enjoy being children. 

It is the little things – and on that I am off for a hot cup of tea while no one is around or calling me or holding onto my beard! 

Look forward to seeing you soon at Roots  

George x