LOCALS could be forgiven for thinking the new year had brought more than floods and gale-force winds to the area.
A YouTube video showed a flying saucer-shaped object on an area of land used by Tuppenny Barn to grow organic fruit and vegetables.
However, the circular object turned out to be more down-to-earth than first thought once it was seen in the context of its surroundings.
In order to promote the final stages of the creation of its eco-friendly education centre, Tuppenny Barn had taken advantage of a generous offer from a Chichester-based video production company to create a bird’s eye view of the building using a hi-tech mini-copter – a broadcast-quality camera fixed under a mini helicopter.
The result was some remarkable aerial images of the new education centre within the 2.4-acre organic smallholding between Emsworth and Southbourne.
“We always knew we were creating an impressive building using the latest environmentally-friendly techniques,” said Tuppenny Barn director Maggie Haynes.
“But once we saw the aerial images, we knew we had a remarkable place which we hope will stimulate people of all ages into thinking and learning about the environment as well as taking a greater interest in where their food comes from.”
The three-minute video was launched on YouTube just before Christmas and has attracted hundreds of views.
It was created for Tuppenny Barn by Big Wave Productions, whose regular work involves shooting award-winning science, wildlife and adventure documentaries for leading global broadcasters.
Sarah Cunliffe, Big Wave’s managing director and creative director, said: “Encouraging people to grow their own fruit and vegetables and to cook and eat great food is something we feel really passionate about.
“Several of our TV programmes are about highlighting environmental and conservation issues in the natural world, so supporting Tuppenny Barn and its great outreach work is something we really wanted to do.”
Readers can view the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVCCpWteZoE or see it by following the link on the Tuppenny Barn website at www.tuppennybarn.com
The video marks the final stage in fundraising to complete the education centre which will be offering a wide range of practical and environmental courses to local schools and community organisations.
Tuppenny Barn already runs a number of courses, but the centre will enable the social enterprise to extend its programme throughout the year.
It will also house the site shop which sells locally-grown organic fruit and vegetables on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as offering a catering-standard kitchen for those wishing to follow the trail of food that is grown on the smallholding to its preparation and use in meals.
To help develop activities at the education centre, which was designed by John Wyatt of Wyatt Design and Build, of Chidham, Tuppenny Barn will shortly be advertising three new jobs at the smallholding. Two of the positions, a centre manager and an education officer, are funded by the West Sussex Social Enterprise Network.
The third post is for a person to manage the site shop and develop the organic enterprise’s weekly sale and delivery of organic fruit and vegetables.
“Creating these new jobs is a sign of how serious we are about developing the services we offer at Tuppenny Barn,” said Maggie Haynes.
“We will be able to offer bespoke courses and events to local schools, interested organisations and individuals in our purpose-built education centre, with an increase in our commercial horticulture activities.”