Pippa currently has a diverse range of jobs, all connected with her work on the land. She’s a freelance horticulturalist, leads on several local community growing projects and then also works on her family’s land in West Yorkshire, England…all this is alongside being a full time mum too!
Fern Cottage is a 5-acre north facing steep sloping holding in West Yorkshire, formally used for grazing for a herd of organic beef cows. Pippa and her husband Andrew created their business ‘Those Plant People’ and started working on the land several years ago. The way they have transformed the land and the lives of all those who have connections to it, is firmly based on permaculture design.
The elements of the business include:
An orchard/forest garden, with a huge diversity of trees, mostly grafted by Andrew. Pigs were used to initially clear the land
An annual vegetable garden, using soil restorative techniques such as ‘no dig’, various mulches, and then growing polycultures of plants. The garden provides an abundance of food for the extended family and others who visit Fern Cottage
A thriving Plant Nursery – Pippa and Andrew are really developing this at the moment. They grow a fantastic range of plants designed for growing in Northern UK climate, nearly all of which they have grown either grown from seed, propagated and grafted from wild plants found on their woodland walks. Public Interest in and sales from the plant nursery are extending all the time
Healthy nutrient rich soil is at the core of the design at Fern Cottage and Poppa and Andrew have put a lot of thought and practice into composting and mulching systems and planting for maximum nutrient levels.
Pigs and sheep have been part of the design at Fern cottage previously, but for the last few years, chickens have been the only kind of animal bred and reared there. These provide eggs and meat to the immediate and extended family and local community, as well as an important component to the soil fertility cycle.
Sharing knowledge and connecting with others - Pippa and Andrew host a wide range of land based workshops and talks, both at Fern Cottage and at other sites and projects. Local volunteers spend time with Pippa and Andrew on the land and gain valuable experience and knowledge from being involved with the projects in place there. Fern cottage is also part of the Permaculture Association LAND project.
The future of Those Plant People at Fern Cottage is an exciting one, the varied range of projects there means that the business is increasing in resilience. Pippa is undertaking further work on both annual and perennial polycultures She is currently developing an easy to follow design process to develop polycultures in different climates
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