Site accessibility improvements
Although we have direct vehicle access to the site via Horebeech Lane, our main access point for the public is on the Cuckoo Trail, a short walk or cycle from Horam public car park. Although there is a public bridleway which passes through the land, we’ve identified another location which will provide easier access. At this spot we plan to build a wooden entrance gate, notice board and “honesty box” for sale of Hathor Farm eggs and other produce and products. We’d also like to commission a set of wooden sign posts to enable visitors to navigate the site more easily.
Online shop development
Our new website (launched in December 2015) is a key component in our marketing and sales strategy. We already have functionality in place which provides a basic booking facility for workshops and events. Our plan is to develop an online shop front which will enable us to process booking payments for events as well as provide a channel for direct sales of Sacred Earth products including biochar, Sacred Seeds and Hathor Farm products and other handmade items produced by members of Sacred Earth’s extended community – e.g. willow baskets, carved wooden spoons and bowls, knapped flint tools.
Sacred Earth is keen to support the emerging field of Ecotherapy, particularly with regard to tackling nature-deficit disorder (through our Earth Steward Apprenticeship and other educational programmes) and encouraging counselling in the outdoors, animal-assisted and horticultural therapy to take place on the land. We’re working with Oliver Bettany (a counsellor and ecotherapist) to develop this aspect of our vision. Initially this will involve the construction of a dedicated ecotherapy space (probably a large willow dome) in a quiet corner of the land – an outdoor therapy space which will be rented by Oliver and other nature-oriented practitioners in the area for one-to-one and group therapy sessions.
Adopt a nut tree scheme
As part of our aim to foster greater resilience in our local food network in the future, over the last few years we have planted a number of fruit and nut trees on the land. We’re planning to purchase a number of infant walnut and sweet chestnut trees with funds we will be receiving as part of our fundraising activities in 2016. This new grove of nut trees will be set aside for our “Adopt a nut tree” scheme – an agricultural, social and educational project focused on getting families involved in agriculture and thinking about issues such as food miles and food sovereignty. In financial terms, the aim of the scheme is to cover some of the costs of purchasing the trees in the first place.
Woodland crafts area
The preservation of rural crafts is an important objective for Sacred Earth, an aspect of our educational and social aims. As a result of industrialisation and globalisation (amongst other factors) skills which have been handed down for centuries are in danger of being lost, an issue which is increasingly receiving recognition. Consequently there is a renewed interest in learning these skills, a workshop market which we’re keen to capitalise on. We plan to build a woodland crafts area and invite a variety of craftspeople to come and teach workshops throughout the year, potentially generating a significant income for the organisation.
Growing endangered and “at risk” herbs (in partnership with Sacred Seeds)
Our resident herbalist Alice Bettany has a particular interest in growing endangered and “at risk” herbs in the garden at Sacred Earth, primarily in order to establish a sustainable source of important medicinal herbs which are in danger of being wiped out. Additionally, sales of these herbs (fresh, dried or in tincture form) to other herbalists will provide a useful secondary income for Alice and a small additional income for Sacred Earth. We’re planning to make a bulk purchase of Goldenseal rootlets which, once established, can be responsibly harvested every year to be used in Sacred Seeds herbal products or sold via the website.