Rebecca enjoys a slice of the Good Life down on the Farm

Five Ways to Well-Being Case Study and Conclusions

The Five Ways to Well-Being research is based on evidence-based actions drawn up by the New Economics Foundation – As If People Mattered.

They are simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives and are grouped into the following five categories:

  1. Connect…
  2. Be active…
  3. Take notice…
  4. Keep Learning…
  5. Give…

Oak Tree Farm member Rebecca was challenged by Chris Pyburn Public Health Manager at Suffolk County Council to see how the Oak Tree Farm measured up in terms of these five activities. He visited the farm and interviewed Rebecca before reaching his conclusions.

First of all the Interview:

This is what Rebecca said: 

“If someone had asked me what “community supported agriculture” meant a few months’ ago, I would have had very little idea what they were talking about. However, my time at Oak Tree Farm has been a revelation and has allowed me to carve out my own piece of the countryside that has improved my well-being no end.

I first signed up to the project in late 2016. The prospect is simple: in return for a small monetary contribution each week, I am one of several people to take a community share of the farm, including a regular supply of freshly grown produce. I can choose which hours I spend working on the farm – generally a Saturday morning – and which tasks I take on.

The fresh vegetables are a bonus; what I really love about the farm is that I can earmark time for me to enjoy the beauty of the countryside at a location just outside Ipswich. It gives me time to think and reflect in an environment which is very different from my professional working life. It is also an opportunity to connect with other members of the project. We have become a close-knit family, doing tasks together and enjoying the sense of community that this entails.

Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm, to provide the project’s full name, was set up in 2011, providing 12 acres of land near Rushmore for like-minded people to get together and contribute to a working farm. We have cattle and chickens as well as agricultural land and can sign up for tasks that suit each person’s interests on the day.

It’s a flexible arrangement that combines getting our hands dirty with the day-to-day work of a farm, while enjoying the benefits of a community of shared interest.

It has given me a true appreciation of the journey that our produce takes from the soil to our homes. I love the fact that I can get involved at the growing stages, and the fact I feel some ownership from my share in the farm provides a real sense of satisfaction.

Most of all, this is time for me to enjoy. The farm is an inherently beautiful place in all weathers – yes, even the rain! We enjoy community events, from barbecues to pizza from the outdoor oven, and have recently welcomed people in to visit the farm with the first open days. The farm has also been featured on Countryfile as an exemplar for a community farming project”.

Now to the Conclusions:

Chris concluded that:

“Oak Tree Farm is a fantastic example of achieving the five ways to well-being. It’s about being active, connecting with people, taking notice of the world around you in a setting that promotes good physical and mental well-being, learning new skills and giving time to others. This can have demonstrable immediate and longer term health benefits.”

Rebecca really does enjoy a slice of the good life down at the farm!

Thank you Chris and Rebecca – we think this is fantastic news!

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