Everyone in the community has a contribution to make
The Danby Health Shop
A community enterprise, which is serving the wider locality
Our micro bakery initiative, bringing healthy artisan bread to our community
The Craft Group
Our highly-skilled makers and menders are producing a variety of handcrafted items in a range of fabrics
Our home-makers are keeping our households beautiful and their housemates well-fed
Camphill Community Ventures Ltd.
The Danby Health Shop
In April 2016, the Botton co-workers bought the Danby Health Shop with their pooled income. They formed a not-for-profit company called Camphill Community Ventures Ltd. for this purpose. It has been a steep learning curve for the all involved. Learning to run a viable business is a challenge enough, but the health shop presents the additional challenge of over 2000 stock lines from dozens of different suppliers, and the need to develop a specialist knowledge of the shop’s many health foods and supplements.
Having taken over the business from a much-loved family, we always had our work cut out. However, we feel that the local community is beginning to warm to the concept of a community enterprise running their village shop. A sign of this was the recent invitation to address the village Womens’ Institute!
The shop already provides a workplace for one individual with a learning disability, and others have expressed an interest to join the team. Besides this, several people with no direct connection to Botton volunteer to work in the shop on a weekly basis. It seems that the shop has already become a community-building initiative in its own right!
In short, real health begins with the food we eat, and broadens out into our need to be part of a rich community, and to lead our lives with spiritual striving. This has always been the task of Camphill, and has never been more needed in the world.
A biodynamic kitchen garden
The Vicarage Garden
The Vicarage Garden is a little piece of land (half an acre) made available by Michael Hazelton the vicar of Danby to the Esk Valley Camphill Community. It is located on the way from Botton Village to Danby.
We started working on this land at the beginning of October 2016. The basic idea is to have a biodynamic kitchen garden for the use of the members of the Esk Valley Camphill Community, but also to build up a network of people involved in it at different levels.
The vision is to create a Community Supported Agriculture project which consists of a partnership between growers and consumers where the responsibilities are equally shared. People from the locality can join it and also people who live somewhere else, but who believe in the idea behind it.
The location of the ‘vicarage garden’ makes it a great opportunity to create a strong connection between the new Esk Valley Camphill and the wider local Community.
It is an open space for local volunteers and the camphill coworkers.
We strongly believe in Biodynamics as a way to relate to the Land. We are looking to develop associative partnerships with the Seed Cooperative, (a new independent BD project), and the Health Shop in Danby.
We had also other small and bigger contributions from people willing to support the project. This includes manure from a local farm, and a new polytunnel has been donated by dear friends of our community.
The Vicarage Garden is a communal garden with the aim of feeding a group of people but also a space where everybody can share their passion for food, plants, animals and creativity.
Longer term, we would like to procure a local farm as a base for our new community. We see the Vicarage Garden as a humble beginning on our road to this bigger dream.
Helping raise funds for the community
The Craft Group
The craft group started in a small way with one person doing mending for the community, often accompanied by someone who played the piano! In another corner of the community someone else was busy making colourful candles in her kitchen. More people wanted to join and to make craft items that could then be sold at local markets.
There are now 2 different groups that each meet once a week, as well as the candle making. A line in hats has been developed with people who have learnt to knit again, or for the first time, as well as learning a new skill in working with a small ring loom. Items are created by working with different textiles and designs and there is a focus on creativity.
The groups tend to work with the seasons, creating different items to be sold at the appropriate time. The sales help to raise funds for the community. Because each item is hand made, each is unique. Altogether, there are about 15 community members of different ages and abilities involved in the groups.
There’s lots of fun and conversation as well as learning of new skills and rekindling old ones! Some of our “from the Craft Room” products can be found in our online shop.
No-one works alone
Every householder knows the work it takes to keep a home beautiful – work that is often done alone and goes unacknowledged. We see housework as a sphere of work in its own right – one where new skills can be developed and a sense of responsibility can grow.
The midday meal is an important feature of daily life and the preparation of it a major task for a household team. There is huge satisfaction in preparing food for a hungry horde, particularly food that has been grown in the community, and even greater satisfaction in seeing the meal being enjoyed.
There’s the laundry, the cleaning, the re-cycling and those little extras that can be so easily forgotten, but make all the difference: flowers for the sideboard, fresh candles for the table, the Advent wreath, the Easter eggs.
Perhaps most importantly, no-one works alone. There’s always a second pair of hands to call on, someone to chat to at tea-break and someone to give encouragement and show appreciation.
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Camphill Youth Conference 2019