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Sustainable Shakespeare – Autumn Update from Mary Arden’s Farm

Find out how Mary Arden's Farm has been becoming sustainable in autumn 2022

Isabelle Butterworth

From making the most of leftovers from our spooktacular Halloween event to collaborating with community group Leaf Education a lot has been happening at the farm this autumn. Find out more below…

Ben the donkey eating a pumpkin in the middle of a field covered in autumn leaves. Ben stands in the middle of the picture, with two empty pumpkin halves to his left.
Ben the donkey reducing food waste

Jack O’Lantern Leftovers

Autumn is the time for pumpkins, and we have lots of pumpkins at Mary Arden’s Farm, as the visitors to our Halloween Family Fun days will tell you. However, the staff at the Farm don’t just use Pumpkins for carving Jack O’Lanterns. Many of our animals have been eating the pumpkin leftovers from our Fun Days. Not only are the pumpkins a tasty treat, which our animals enjoy, but pumpkin seeds act as a natural de-wormer. Here is a picture of our donkey, Ben, enjoying a pumpkin!

Keeping Birds Safe

Unfortunately, this autumn has also brought an avian flu prevention zone and compulsory housing order across the whole of England. This is because of a large number of cases of Bird Flu in both domestic and wild birds. We are working hard to ensure that our poultry at Mary Arden’s Farm are kept safe and healthy. We have flocks of chickens, geese and ducks, all of which need protection, so they have been moved into special indoor accommodation to help keep them safe.

We are asking everyone who comes onto site to disinfect their shoes on arrival, to help stop the spread of the disease from local wild populations of birds. Our staff have all been told to be on the lookout for signs of the disease in our birds and in wild birds around the site, so that we can act quickly if there are any sign of illness. If you are visiting Mary Arden’s Farm in the next few months, please follow our guidelines to help keep our birds safe.

Collaborating with Leaf Education

A community group that is working for the preservation and development of a nature reserve in Alcester has invited us to participate in an educational programme with local secondary and primary schools. The first event is scheduled to take place soon and we will be working with young people to make sustainable decorations from natural materials found around Mary Arden’s Farm. The event will be led by our Farm Administrator, Laura Taviner, who also works as a natural artist. She will be joined by Elizabeth Lake, Educational Lead for the charity Leaf Education.

This will be an exciting project and will make use of natural materials, such as hay and willow. It will also be a wonderful and creative way for us to reuse natural materials from around our site, which would otherwise go to waste. We hope to share our creations with you in a future blog. This activity is funded by Stratford District Council and Alcester Town Council, along with contributions from local businesses. We are very grateful their generosity has enabled us to undertake such a wonderful opportunity.

To find out more about our work to become net zero in our carbon emissions by 2030 visit our Sustainable Shakespeare page.