Shillingford Organics is located in Shillingford Abbot, a small village just three miles west of Exeter.
Set in a sheltered valley between Alphington and the Haldon Hills, the farm’s rich Devon red soil is perfect for growing arable and horticultural crops and has been fully organic since 2002.
Almost all of their veg is grown on this 50 acre site, which includes 9 polytunnels, allowing them to produce a range of tasty vegetables, salad and herbs all year round. The small team is made up of 15 workers including seven full-timers and is split into three groups with two growing teams and a packhouse team who manage their veg box scheme.
One of Greenlife’s best local organic farm suppliers, Shillingford Organics also supply other retailers in Exeter and around the Totnes area, plus local cafes and restaurants. In addition to this, they run a stall at the weekly Exeter farmers market and the twice-monthly Bovey Tracey market, and supply around 600 households in and around Exeter with a weekly veg box.
Growing in harmony with nature
Shillingford Organics work in a way which is in harmony with nature to encourage biodiversity, improve the soil structure and biology and minimise their use of resources as far as possible. For example, they have around 300 apple trees, most of which are planted in agroforestry strips; a method which improves soil fertility and quality – helping to prevent erosion from wind and rain – and also creates a habitat for wildlife.
Active in the community
Shillingford Organics provide opportunities for both adults and children to connect with the farm and learn about where food comes from and the practice of organic farming. They operate a farm school which runs weekly afterschool clubs for primary age children, pre-school groups in the morning, and home-schooling days across the seasons, as well as hosting school trips for local school children. They produce an excellent monthly newsletter and host open days, volunteer days and ‘WWOOFers’ for adults to learn about organic farming.
What’s a WWOOFer?
WWOOF was founded in 1971 in the UK. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, a worldwide community that promotes awareness of ecological farming practices and sustainable lifestyles. WWOOF aims to further the global organic and sustainability movement and also to allow individuals to participate in cultural exchanges, experience rural living and gain practical skills in organic farming and gardening. It is currently possible to go WWOOFing in more than 130 countries around the world.
Learn more about WWOOFing on their website wwoof.org.uk