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Suffolk Rural college expands its enterprise flock by opening new farm shop

News overview

A college that was set up in 1970 to originally train new generations of people in the agricultural industry has just opened a farm shop.

The Suffolk New College Suffolk Rural campus opened the doors of this new venture at the start of January 2024.

SNC Farm Shop

Everything sold in the store – that resides on the site of a former workshop – has been created or produced by the college community.

Products include calendars, bird boxes, eggs, gift cards drawn by art students, plants grown by the horticultural team, poppies created by welders, and a vast selection of meats.

Future plans will see the opening of a floristry shop just in time for Mother’s Day. The selling of fresh vegetables will also take place and as the temperature improves, teas, fresh cakes, and coffees will be sold in an outside area.

Lynsey Wilson is a director at the Suffolk Rural campus and has played a leading role (with the support of her colleagues) in helping set up the operation. Lynsey explains the reasoning behind the opening of the new facility. She said: “We converted an old workshop that was a redundant space to keep the costs down to a minimum and we have invested around £30k of a capital bid fund into setting the farm shop up.

Sarah jay and Lynsey Wilson at the Farm Shop

“The idea behind this is to give the learners an opportunity to create their own enterprises and also see the journey of food production – from the farm to the fork. I think in recent years, people have wanted to buy local and understand where their food comes from and this is partly why we created the business. Everything we sell has been created in-house.”

In terms of the grand opening, Lynsey said: “I’m very excited. We did a soft launch that was very successful and we will be employing a shop assistant in the coming weeks.

“We’ve had lots of excitement in and around the college and our community.

“My message to everyone is, come in, ask as many questions as you like, we have lots of offers on all of the time so come in and pick up a bargain, buy local, and maybe when you do pop in, ask about information on one of our leisure, full or part-time courses.”             

Daniella Hobbs, 16, from Ipswich is on an animal care course at Suffolk Rural and recently checked out the shop. Daniella said: “This is my second time in the shop. Last time I bought some meat for my dog and he loved it. The service has been great, prices are good and it’s nicely decorated.”

Lily Wright, 16, Sudbury is also on an animal care course and had a look around the farm shop recently. Lily said; “The atmosphere has got a nice vibe. This is a rural college associated with farming so I think it’s a good idea to have this shop.”

Lily Wright and Daniella Hobbs in the Farm Shop

The opening hours are Fridays from 12 to 5 pm and there is free parking in the main car park of the college. (Opening times will be expanded to include Wednesdays and Thursdays in the near future).

Also new for this year, Suffolk Rural is offering birthday parties for youngsters who have an interest in farming.

Available at weekends and during non-term times, prices are £150.00 for up to ten children and include egg collecting, tractor rides, animal petting, and hands-on farming activities.

For more information about the shop or farm parties you can 01473 382909 or email

Posted 5 February 2024