All (farm) hands on deck: Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust to open school farm

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2024 - 15:11

Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust (DMAT) has announced the development of a new farm project – FARM@DMAT – to promote and champion the benefits of land-based learning, support students to access the wellbeing benefits of the environment and celebrate the rural heritage of the local communities.  

The farm will be located in the East Ockment Valley in Okehampton, on the 13 acres of land directly adjacent to Okehampton College, through a lease agreement with Okehampton United Charities Trust. 

Whilst it will take time to prepare the land, plant and harvest their chosen vegetables (such as potatoes and onions) once ready, the produce will be taken from farm to table, with the vegetables being used in school dinners. The Trust also hopes to eventually yield enough produce to start a local veg box scheme. 

DMAT is currently finalising plans which will see the development of the farm over the next five years, at which point they aim to be fully operational with a full yield of produce. Part of their vision is that FARM@DMAT will enable them to offer vocational training and qualification routes for all DMAT students, and for all young people throughout the wider community to have regular, planned access to the land for well-being, outdoor education and enrichment opportunities. 

To kick-start the programme, DMAT is developing dedicated growing spaces in each of its schools, making FARM@DMAT an integral part of the ethos, education and land across its schools. 

FARM@DMAT will be an initiative for the whole community to ‘dig’ into. The Trust is welcoming collaboration with local farmers and land experts, and is also actively seeking volunteers to support with the project. To find out more and get involved, contact

Dan Morrow, CEO at Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust, said: 

“FARM@DMAT is precisely what we want DMAT to be all about -- being firmly rooted at the heart of our communities, and I can’t think of a better way to capture that than for students to plant and grow those roots themselves. We are really proud to launch FARM@DMAT as part of our ambition to ensure every single one of our students will get to experience and learn from the beautiful countryside we have right on our doorstep.”

Barbara Manning, project lead of FARM@DMAT, said:

“I am thrilled to be leading this exciting new project. Whether on the spaces in the individual schools or on our dedicated East Ockment Valley site, FARM@DMAT will bring lots of exciting new opportunities for our students and wider community. I can’t wait to see the smiles on our students’ faces when it comes time to harvest what they’ve grown, eat a school dinner using our produce or watch as a student discovers a new passion for farming.”