Over the past decade, e5 Bakehouse has invested profits into something tangible: 70 acres of arable farmland in Suffolk. Fellows Farm has become a place where we can explore ecological farming methods and select and grow specific grains for the team to mill and bake with. As many of our supporters are aware, centuries of extractive agricultural practices have diminished soil fertility. Back in 2014, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated that ‘if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years’. We are becoming increasingly conscious that a sustainable relationship with food and the way it is produced is key to our long-term survival on this planet. We know that soil hosts a multitude of organisms, especially mycorrhizae and bacteria, that are vital to growing food. Developing methods to sustain these organisms whilst continuing to produce food is essential, as is finding a method of farming that is in harmony with nature, rather than glibly using finite resources such as fertiliser or waging war on pests and diseases.
We initially purchased a 13-acre arable field in mid Suffolk, and here we first grew oats, buckwheat, modern wheat, and finally a heritage wheat (Lys Brun), which we were delighted with. It looked magnificent in the field, out-competed weeds, scavenged nutrients and produced a delicious loaf of bread. We saved some seed and milled the rest at e5 Bakehouse. Several years later, we purchased another 55 acres near the original site, and here we have planted 200 fruit and nut trees as the beginning of an agroforestry farming system, where cereals are cropped in between productive and beneficial rows of trees.
The farm is managed for biodiversity, with five new ponds dug to create hubs for wildlife, along with 15 acres of permanent wildflower meadow and other areas in environmental stewardship. There are several beds of willow that are coppiced for basket-weaving by Femke. On one acre of the farm, we have established a no-dig market garden where we produce much of the fresh ingredients used in the Bakehouse’s daily lunches, with surplus sold in our shops.
The whole farm is certified organic by the Soil Association, and we are part of an active community, sharing information through our network. We are members of the Land Workers Alliance (LWA) and the East Anglian Grain Alliance (EAGA). We tend to have one long-term volunteer staying on the farm and also welcome local volunteers to join to learn about the methodologies employed in this organic and regenerative farming practice.
If you’re interested in volunteering at the farm, please don't hesitate to contact us. Fellows Farm has a wood-fired oven which is often fired up for events and also a yurt and campsite available for visitors.
Please visit their website for more information, upcoming activities and to book a stay!
In 2019 All staff was invited to visit Fellows Farm for a two day event with organised workshops such as building a wood fired oven, foraging, thai massage and flatbread making. There was lot's of delicious food that everyone helped to prepare, a lovely campfire was lit and a sound system was installed to dance deep into the night.