The Goat Meadow

1. Farm profile

 

The farm "Goat Meadow" is providing educational services and activities in the field of food processing. It is located in Lower Silesia. The area of the farm is 7.06 ha; in southern Poland and it is a medium size farm. The farm’s agricultural activities focus on an herb garden and permanent grassland producing hay used to feed animals. And of course goats; the herd of about 100 animals is acknowledged in the farm’s name.

 

2. Multifunctional Farming

 

The owners have operated the farm since 2004. They started their multifunctional activities in 2010; the main focus was the production of cheese. The owners have established two lines of business: the production of cheese and educational activities. The educational activities developed on the farm over the years. The farm joined the Network Educational Farms network to develop educational activities in 2014.

 

2.1. Situation before Multifunctional Activity

 

Before the current Goat Meadow concept was implemented, the farm was a typical, small farm which had everything on the micro scale. They were producing vegetables, some animals (chicken, pigs etc.) only for personal use. That farm wasn‘t able to develop, that‘s why owners decided to develop new niches.

 

2.2. Developing the Business Idea

 

Everything started very modestly - from two goats named Baśka and Condoleezza .The owners were more than dwellers who - wanting to find a quiet place to rest from the disturbances of everyday life and work -  bought 7 ha  farm with mountain views and the ruined cottage. Slowly, yet no concrete plans for the future, restoring them to use. Goats were used mainly as living "lawn mowers" and to ensure a healthy real milk for the newly born grandson. But it turned out that two brave goats give so much white liquid gold that Ms Bozena wondered how to exploit it. She found help in "Guide for young housewives" from the beginning of the twentieth century and mother in-law, born in the former Kozłowszczyzna (now - Belarus), where - along with the post-war displaced persons - came to Lower Silesia tradition of making goat cheese rennet.

The owners’ main activity was production of cheese from goat's milk. It was a logical step to process the goat’s milk to cheese. The main inspiration for the educational activities were customers and tourists who came to buy the cheese, asked about the organic production and wanted to see the cheese production facilities. When they saw the potential from customers, they decided to develop the educational activities.

 

2.3. Multifunctional Agriculture

 

The “Goat Meadow” is a certified organic farm. They offer high-quality traditional Polish products like the Goat Cheese Lomnicky, which was included in the list of traditional products of the Ministry of Agriculture in 2010. The cheese Łomnicki was used to promote Polish cuisine during the Eastern Partnership Summit held in Warsaw during the first Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union [www.serylomnickie.pl 2015]. Additional products from goat milk are:

  • Cream cheeses from goat milk
  • Goat cheese Ritta
  • Sir Grill
  • Goat milk and yogurt

The educational activities offered at the farm are primarily on goats and cheese production as well as ecology. During activities participants can produce the cheese. The main target group is children (preschool and school age) but also adults. One group can consist of max. 50 people (from spring to autumn). The program is adjusted to the age, needs and interests of the visitors. It can include a combination of the following activities:

  • Visit in of the farm, its facilities and meadows;
  • Feeding goats and photo sessions with animals;
  • Competitions (e.g. milking goats);
  • Storytelling, e.g. about owners, goats and cheeses;
  • Cheeses tasting and
  • Enjoying cooked meals based on goat cheese;
  • Cheese workshops.

 

2.4. Financing the New Business

 

The owners develop the business using only own funds and savings.

 

2.5. Outcomes of the Business Development

 

Currently, the income situation of farmers is good. The main source of income is engaged in the production of cheese and other dairy products. The educational activity is not a significant source of income, it is rather an add-on. As it is a very satisfying activity and promoting their main source of income – goat cheese - the owners plan to also further develop this part of their business.

 

3. Skills for Multifunctional Agriculture

 

3.1. Promoter and Staff Competences

 

The promoters are husband and wife, owning the farm. They are trained in the field of agriculture, cheese processing, as well as rural tourism and pedagogy. They also applied entrepreneurial skills like creativity, diligence, openness, which helped develop the business so successfully. Especially their openness to people and the ability to teach others and to adapt their offer to the needs of tourists - flexibility and openness and hard work at the same time are the most important features on the way to success.

 

3.2. Access to and Management of Skills and Know-How

 

The owner attended several trainings on agritourism, law and pedagogical approaches. These trainings enabled the owner train their staff and provide a more professional and efficient service. Most of the trainings were offered by the Agricultural Advisory Center and local rural tourist associations. All those trainings were formal courses.

 

4. Experiences & Recommendations

 

The owners acquire constantly new skills, e.g. by participating in various informal trainings like exchanging experiences with other educational farms. All those skills let the owner gain a wider view on the future activity and new business opportunities. For example the new activity which they implemented after trainings is the cheese making workshops for various groups (schools, tourists, etc.).

 

4.1. Implementing the Business Idea

 

Initially cheese of the Goat Meadow were produced exclusively for private use and to the delight of visitors, family and friends. All obviously very tasted. The real point to start pre-production on a larger scale was the moment in which the owner presented their products during the Easter fair at the nearby Palace of Lomnica. The tasting did not last long. The guests were so delighted that the cheese brought to the fair disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Today Lomnicki Cheese of Goat Meadows are on the list of regional and traditional products of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The cheeses have won numerous awards. Additionally, the owners have developed their education activities.

In the case of the owners - the recipe for success is primarily their openness to people. It is also the ability to teach others and to adapt offer of the farm to the needs of tourists. Flexibility and openness and at the same time hard work are the most important features on the way to success. In addition, they focus primarily on promoting the cultural heritage of their region, traditional organic food through workshops, presentations and selling their dairy products.

 

4.2. Finding Supporters for the Business Concept

 

The educational activity is a very good way to promote products and the cultural heritage of the region as well as traditional organic food through workshops and presentations. It is also a way for selling the own dairy products.

 

4.3. Promoter‘s Advice

 

The owners emphasize that the food processing activity is very well connected with educational activities. They also state that joining the National Network of Educational Farms helped to develop educational activities despite the fact that it is not a significant source of income. In addition, the owner stress that all the time they want to develop in this direction and diversify educational programs and forms. The owners insist on credibility - their food is definitely ecological and thanks to this fact certainly a long time in prevailing on the Polish market a kind of "fashion" for organic products from goat's milk.

 

4.4. Queries and Consideration

 

One of the most important activities in this area is conducted food processing activity - ecological and direct contact with customers. Innovation is the introduction of educational activities to the core business of which is the production of cheese and the promotion of organic food among children - because first of all the educational offer it is addressed to them.

 

Extra information:

 

www.serylomnickie.pl/o-nas/​

 

Case study in PDF

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