Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust (DMAT) has announced the development of a new farm project – FARM@DMAT – to allow students to learn and interact with the local environment.

DMAT is currently finalising plans which will see the development of the farm over the next five years which will be located in the East Okement Valley in Okehampton, on the 13 acres of land directly adjacent to Okehampton College, through a lease agreement with Okehampton United Charities Trust. 

The trust’s leadership has said that it hopes the new FARM@DMAT will enable them to offer vocational training and qualification and allow all pupils to have regular, planned access to the land for well-being, outdoor education and enrichment opportunities. 

Dan Morrow, chief executive at DMAT, 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.”

It is hoped that once the site is ready, children will be able to plant and harvest their chosen vegetables which will be used in school dinners. The trust also hopes to eventually yield enough produce to start a local veg box scheme. 

Barbara Manning, project lead of FARM@DMAT, said: “I am thrilled to be leading this exciting new project. 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.”

To kick-start the programme, DMAT is developing dedicated growing spaces in each of its schools and is welcoming collaboration with local farmers, land experts, and volunteers. To find out more and get involved, contact [email protected].