The couple have been given the award for services they provide to the community beyond farming on their 400 acres. These include their inspiring educational sessions run for children and public open days to encourage further understanding of farming.
James and Emma Loder-Symonds manage Nonington Farms. They said: “It’s a great honour to be nominated for this regional award and makes all the hard work worth it. We are really excited about the future of Nonington Farms and working together with the community.”
Commitment to education
Over the past year, more than 1,000 children visited the farm for educational lessons. James and Emma have a strong commitment to education and engaging people of all ages with farming and the natural world.
The couple use the farm as an outdoor classroom, giving practical hands-on experience by offering free tailor-made field trips to local groups.
These include Seedlings Farm Group for the 0-5s and school visits from reception to year 13.
The subject content covered is broad, and includes maths, art, science, design and technology, and history, as well as health, citizenship and economic education.
They also run education programmes, take part in LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday, and host local farmer discussion groups, local community and interest groups, placement years for students, and adult guided learning walks.
Embracing sustainable environmental measures
A lot of their time is spent looking after the natural capital of the farm.
This includes woodland management and the implementation of sustainable environmental measures.
Over 20% of their farm is in a conservation scheme and their initiatives focus on wild bird and bee plots. Thirteen out of sixteen possible Red Listed bird species visit the farm and the couple also take part successfully in Natural England’s East Kent grey partridge recovery scheme.