bfa shortlist

2022 Diversification of the Year (Large)

South Brockwells Farm,
South Brockwells Farm Partnership,
East Sussex

SOUTH Brockwells is a family farm, established in 1976, and currently run by husband and wife team Chrissy and Arron Wells, Sarah Robinson and Caroline Tasker, who joined to launch their farm school and mobile farm. The farm business has gradually evolved and although South Brockwells is home to three main diversifications, each aspect links together and creates a circular enterprise.

The family run a commercial flock of sheep, consisting of about 150 breeding ewes and, over the years, have worked towards breeding a sheep able to thrive on their land. In 2011, they began growing asparagus for customers across Sussex and the farm shop, which originally opened seasonally for game, was expanded and is now open all year round selling home-reared produce. With Chrissy and Sarah both qualified horse riding instructors, the livery stables were a natural diversification and they also cater for equestrian events, holding various activities on-farm, the most well-known one being their cross-country circuit – which is, they say, one of the most scenic in the country.

Originally built in 2017 by Arron, who is a carpenter by trade, it has evolved to more than 100 cross country jumps and is a cross country schooling venue which is open daily for riders from April to October. Their latest diversification has been into education. All the team are really keen to promote the industry to the wider public and the move has seen them take on Caroline Tasker, a former teacher. They currently work with six local secondary schools and three primary schools, plus children who are in foster care or who are being home educated visit weekly to support their education.

The Mobile Farm includes their sheep, kids, lambs and goats and has visited nursery schools, care homes and received positive feedback. Chrissy says: “With ever-increasing costs, pressures on tenant farmers and future uncertainty, it has been essential to embrace change and keep thinking creatively about how farming can be successful on a small East Sussex Farm.”

What the judges said:

“South Brockwells Farm have diversified in multiple ways, but all with one core aim at the centre of it all, and that is to ensure the farm’s future.
Each diversification – from the farm shop to the new educational set up – is inextricably linked, and it is inspiring to see how all aspects merge into one to become one successful circular business.
But their passion for farming is clear, and they have refined their business over the years, even down to matching livestock to their specific land, in order to streamline and become as efficient as possible.
It is a dynamic, forward thinking family farm, run by people who are truly enthusiastic about this industry and what it has to offer. “

On winning, Caroline said: 

Caroline – We lost our grandad a few months ago who was the original tenant on the farm so this is a nice end to the year. The mobile school plays a massive part in expanding the children’s horizons. “