Leadership And Management Of Horticultural Production In Biodynamic Practice

What’s A Social Enterprise?

(1.1) A social enterprise is a business style that is orientated towards doing good for society. I have been in touch with a social enterprise based in Northampton, that recycle garden tools. The tools are refurbished by homeless people, that are trained and employed by the social enterprise. This helps people learn new skills and get back on their feet through meaningful work. Profits from a social enterprise are re-invested to back into the organisations to further support the social objects, over any personal gain or increased shareholder value.

Social enterprise is adopted by Ruskin Mill, students and staff can develop social enterprise that arise from the land, and this creates meaningful work that is interrelated with the community, economics, and society on a real world level.

Leadership & Management Of A Social Enterprise

(2.1) Management is necessary to orchestrate the vision of a social enterprise, and ensure consistency, and direction throughout the organisation. It uses a hierarchical structure to impose order from the top down. Leadership is a skill that is harnessed to provide direction and navigate through challenges. Anyone can show leadership.


Preparing For A Regulatory Inspection

(3.1) Evaluate and progress changes made following the previous Demeter inspections


(3.3) Analyse the impact of the most recent updates to Demeter standards on the holding

Animal Husbandry Plan

In the valley we keep chickens. We currently have a Cockerel and 8 Hens. On average during the longer days of Spring and Summer, each hen lays one egg per day. The chickens are fenced in with an electric fence, that gives them about 12 meters squared of fresh grass. Every couple weeks we move the area, to allow the grass to regrow.

During the winter the chickens were confined to a smaller area, due to the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu). They are not allowed to mix with wild birds during this time. We put the chickens into a small polytunnel, with an outdoor run with a netting to stop wild birds from entering their area.

(4.1) The chickens have their wings cut so they cannot fly over the fence. An electric fence is turned on every even, to stop foxes and other predators. They are also closed into their houses once its dark. We provide them with water, and food. Their food container can be filled up, to provide a flow of food for a couple of days. Each week their houses are cleaned. The soiled wood shavings are added to the long-term composts, as their manure is full of nitrogen, but it needs time to break down before usage as it is very acidic. Fresh wood shavings are then collected from the green woodwork shed or shredded paper is collected from the offices. Its important to frequently clean their houses.

Eggs are collected during the week by students, dated with a pencil, and then delivered to the café once we have a amount worthy of a delivery.

The chickens also require an stimulating environment, to keep them active. Spreading their food out across their run lets them spend the afternoon searching for pellets among the grass. Recently, we noticed that the chickens were going under their houses during the day to shelter from the sunshine. With students we built a ‘chicken shack’ which the chickens really enjoy. They are able to sit together in the shade, or even jump onto the roof of the shack. Having a range of environments is important for their health. The quality of the eggs is noticeable, the yolk is very vibrant.

The quality of the eggs is related to their environment. The large run provides lots of insects, fresh grass, and spaces to keeps them happy.

(4.2) Develop a revenue/budget forecast

(4.3) The chicken eggs are taken to the café, and used to make quiches, spanakopita, frittatas, cakes and other dishes which are sold to the public and students lunches. The eggs from the Valley, subsidise the café. But we don’t produce enough, so they café has to still purchase eggs from other sources. We are considering doubling the amount of chickens in the valley, as going form 8 chicken to 16 chickens doesn’t increase the labour by a significant amount. Yet, it means we can double our egg production, as we have the space and resources to have 16 chickens.

If we do get more chickens, then we would get the Cotswold Legbar, that produces blue/cream eggs. These could then be distributed at the farm shop.

Managing Animal Husbandry

(5.1) Chickens require day-to-day care. First thin in the morning is to turn off the electric fence, then open the chicken houses. They leave the houses in their pecking order, and one hen usually stays in the nest box. They run around quickly, examining their area, before settling down, and searching for food.

They require a supply of water. Every couple of days their water is replenished, as it is stagnate water. A poultry water dispenser, allows you to fill enough water to last a couple of days. This is practically helpful during the weekends, as you can fill it up to the top on a Friday, and they will have plenty to last them until Monday. You can also do this with their feed.

(5.2) Its important to make sure their fence is secure, as sometimes it is knocked over or their are gaps. If a chicken escapes or a predators enters, then it will end badly.

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