We just cant believe its 2021! At the start of the year it is fair to say we were set on our plans, with the aquaponics tunnels on order and a successful winter product season behind us we felt ready to take on the challenges 2020 had in store for us. We can all relate to the fact that Covid 19 was not part of these plans and way beyond any challenge we would have expected to face. But it came and a whole year later we have success, hard moments and growth to share.
Marget Atwood (Poet) described very clearly this year “How can you navigate the rapids? Move faster than the water and pull behind a boulder when you need a breather” This year brought us obstacles but also brought us our fair share of triumphs and we have been embraced and supported by our OBG more than we could have even imagined.
Our Back Garden was able to resume our Alpaca experiences back in June once we could meet larger groups outdoors. We were so excited to be able to welcome our customers back on site and it felt like the perfect experience for families to enjoy some unique time together away from strangers and amongst the alpaca herd. In order to expand our outdoor activities, we launched “OBG moments” which included picnic slots, date nights & afternoon teas. We feel extremely privileged to have teamed up with Blue Fig Deli who has provided our customers many gorgeous alfresco meals and we hope to continue to build on these going forward.
Lockdown gave us a chance to elevate our offering here at Mill Meadows Farm. We were able to complete our office and visitor toilets; Finish our Shepherds hut and private garden; build our gazebo in our home paddock, complete a bridge across the river Ems to bring an additional element to our alpaca walking route, just to mention a few. And if this wasn’t enough we took on the opportunity to host an open air opera event on the farm back when 30 was a great number for outdoor events, working with Beechwood Opera it was a day filled with amazing spectators and beautiful sounds. Time was something we didn’t plan on having this year, but lockdown gave us the space to expand and grow.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment to highlight is the aquaponics project development. Throughout this year despite bad weather conditions early on, COVID delays and just learning by doing we have moved forwards with the building of 2 large poly-tunnels , 3 fishponds , 2 fish rearing tanks and most critically the building of the plant growing system in 1 of the poly tunnels . The whole is just about ready for the trout fingerlings to arrive and for us to start the plant propagation needed for 2021 production . It’s been scary, hard work but fun and we can’t wait to reach the point that we have fish , vegetables and plants ready for market later in 2021.
After almost six months of covid it was hard to hit winter with more restrictions but our local markets and shops allowed us to get an opportunity to sell our Alpaca wool products in person alongside our website. We feel incredibly lucky to have seen such positive responses from customers. With the high street in trouble, being a small business, it has felt perhaps this was our year to prove our worth. Having a fully transparent supply chain we feel proud to have been able to bring the Uk market alpaca wool products and experiences we feel extremely proud of.
We want to say a huge thank you for all the support we have received from our OBG family, to those who volunteer, customers who visit and our partners in all our experiences & events. Thank you to our community here in Westbourne village for always supporting us and getting as excited as we do about developments on the farm. Lastly, we are so grateful to be a family that through all the challenges this year has thrown at us we finish this year as excited as ever to be part if the Our Back Garden journey.
Our continued promise is to be the best caretakers of our environment. Providing unique products and experiences inspired by our everyday lives … Bring on 2021 we have so much more to share with you all!
Lots if love and well wishes.
Team OBG & The Alpacas