3Keel volunteers at FarmAbility
10th June 2021
As we continue to welcome new clients and new colleagues, ‘growth’ has been one of the words uttered most frequently at 3Keel recently. As a sustainability consultancy, we are of course always discussing how we can make sure that this growth happens sustainably; ensuring that it persists, but also ensuring that it does so with our values intact.
One way of doing this is to share our growth with other communities and organisations, and as such, we were thrilled to once again take a day out of our calendars to volunteer at FarmAbility: a charity that runs programmes to help people with learning disabilities engage in farm-based activities involving animal husbandry, horticulture, and seasonal tasks. By taking active part in outdoor work, these co-farmers get the opportunity to develop practical and vocational skills, as well as social skills and self-confidence which are so important in everyday life.
Similarly to 3Keel, FarmAbility continues to grow and to open new farms with crops and animals that co-farmers help tend to, and as a result, new facilities are needed to support the co-farmers in their work. So, during our two days of volunteering with FarmAbility at their Long Hanborough site, we worked alongside co-farmers and FarmAbility’s regular volunteers to fit timber cladding to their office house and to build an outhouse containing a compost toilet. These facilities are crucial to help FarmAbility provide a productive and comfortable environment for their co-farmers.
Our first day started off with a brainstorming session of what the outhouse might look like and of the benefits and potential challenges of a compost toilet! The benefits are many; seeing as a compost toilet uses no chemicals, it is a sustainable way of managing human waste, and after degrading, the waste can be used as a sustainable and natural fertilizer for the land. On the other hand, our challenges included ensuring that the outhouse was a safe and clean environment, that waste-containing bins could easily be removed when full, and that the compost toilet was fully accessible and comfortable to use for people with disabilities.
After sketching and planning, we donned our gloves and got to work; the timber cladding group started sawing, measuring, and fitting long (and heavy!) wooden boards onto the office house, and the compost toilet group embarked on weeding and gathering concrete blocks to prepare the foundation, after which rulers, hammers, drills, and circular saws were mobilised for constructing the floor and the walls. After two days of work, we had completed the timber cladding for the office building and finished constructing the main skeleton of the outhouse.
In between our work, we had the opportunity to get to know a few of FarmAbility’s co-farmers, some of whom have been with FarmAbility for years, and during our lunch we learned more about FarmAbility’s journey and their ambition to open more sites around the UK. We also got the chance to say hello to all the animals on the Long Hanborough site, including pigs, geese, chicken, and bees.
Volunteering at FarmAbility was a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the work of a truly impactful charity. It also proved to be a great team building activity; while COVID-19 has not prohibited 3Keel from growing, the pandemic has meant that many people have started their time at 3Keel remotely, with only few opportunities to meet colleagues in person. Volunteering at FarmAbility provided an excellent occasion for many of us to meet in person and get to know each other better, while also contributing to an important cause.
Thanks FarmAbility, and see you again next year!
Written by Camilla Munkedal