We’ve come a long way since founder Maggie Haynes bought the neglected 2.4 acre site between Emsworth and Southbourne and started to gather support and funding to create an educational and community facility to practise and promote healthy food production.
Of the many activities that take place within Tuppenny Barn, ‘promotion of sustainable living in all its forms’ best describes our overall aim. With this aim firmly embedded in all that we do, we aspire to make Tuppenny Barn a beacon of sustainability for the community we serve.
We are, of course, passionate about food, and passionate about growing organic produce in particular. Through learning about growing food, harvesting and cooking it, we are able to help people understand where food comes from, the nutritional benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables and the knowledge and skills to grow our own and prepare and cook healthy fresh meals.
Each beginning of Term brings the excited chatter of school children on school trips at Tuppenny Barn. There is a proven link between deprivation, poor diet and raised obesity. It is known healthy eating is one of the key tools to reducing obesity rates, and our education sessions are aimed to help teach people the importance of cooking fresh and healthy food.
As well as running school and college visits to learn about the outdoor environment, the education centre now has a professional cooking facility and students have the opportunity to experience a ‘fork to fork’ visit where they can crop produce on site, participate in cooking seasonal produce and then sit down to eat it.
Other forms of education provided to children include a regular after school club, work experience placements, Duke of Edinburgh placements and work with students with learning difficulties. During the school holidays we run children’s workshops which always have an environmental theme, and using the smallholding as the outdoor classroom.
Tuppenny Barn comprises of two companies, Tuppenny Barn Education (TBE) and Tuppenny Barn Organics (TBO). TBO is the founding company and deals with all the organic growing outdoors as well as the shop and veg bag scheme. TBE is currently a fully constituted ‘Not For Profit’, Limited by Guarantee. All education activities and community hire comes under TBE. We have recently applied for full charity status for TBE to the Charities Commission.
An exciting new project that we have recently undertaken is to provide a formal Social Horticulture Therapy (SHT) facility at Tuppenny Barn. There is increasingly a substantial amount of evidence of the benefits of gardening therapy for improving emotional wellbeing, social functioning, improving physical health and vocational opportunities. We feel that Tuppenny will be able to provide a safe and encouraging environment for vulnerable individuals that would benefit from SHT.