Bradley Nook Farm
Jay and Katja are currently transforming their Farm
Jay Wilde’s family bought the farm in 1956 and Jay helped his father run it as an organic farm until his father’s death in 2011. As a long term vegetarian, Jay found taking the cows to be slaughtered to be very unsettling and was always on the lookout for alternatives. In the summer of 2017, after speaking to The Vegan Society, the 59 year old farmer decide to give up 59 of his cattle to a UK sanctuary to be cared for. He felt so guilty sending the cows to be slaughtered that he could no longer operate the farm the same way he had in the past and believed he could create an alternative business model that did not rely on animals as commodities. They have kept a handful of cows on the property as they truly care for the animals and enjoy their presence.
“I feel so much better farming this way. It’s a weight off my shoulders. It’s certainly not a normal thing to do as a farmer, but I’m happy about it. I miss the cows, however it’s nice to think of them living a nice life in a sanctuary now. It just became more and more difficult taking them to slaughter.”
Jay and Katja are planning to build a permaculture farm and vegan cooking school on the farm property now. They hope to add a restaurant as well to the operations. Jay and Katja believe they have a unique opportunity in their community to show the true “farm to table” lifestyle, teaching visitors how to grow the food and also how to prepare plant-based dishes. They are in the middle of transforming and have had their challenges with figuring out what was best for their life, their remaining animals and the future of their land.
FARM & TRANSFORMATION FACTS
- The Hillside Animal Sanctuary, near Frettenham in Norfolk, took the cows in to be cared for permanently at their facility.
- Jay and Katja kept 12 cows on their farm to continue to care for themselves.
- They are planning to lease out some of their very fertile farmland for crops during their transition.
- The farm was originally a dairy but Jay’s father converted it to a beef operation in 1997.
- They host a yearly permaculture gathering every August on the farm, called The Northern Green Gathering which is an educational event with a focus on activities and events that promote renewable, off-grid, local living.
- Because England is such a densely populated country, there is already saturation with large commercial organic produce distribution. Jay and Katja hope to use their proximity to consistent tourism to become a unique event destination focused on permaculture and food.