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Ruskin Mill

Herbal Apothecary are working with Ruskin Mill Trust to create a range of tinctures produced with biodynamically grown herbs.

For over 30 years, Ruskin Mill Trust has provided Specialist Independent Education to children and adults with complex needs including learning difficulties, autistic spectrum conditions and disabilities. Our provisions offer both day and residential placements and applications are welcomed all year round. Ruskin Mill run multiple colleges in different locations around the UK.

Herbal Apothecary are delighted to be partnering with Ruskin Mill in the development of a brand new range of herbal tinctures.

Ruskin Mill Clervaux Site, near Darlington

Clervaux Trust

Clervaux Trust is located near Darlington, north east England. Intended as a provision for learners from the age of eighteen onwards, Clervaux Life offers adults supported living in houses in Darlington, work experience in social enterprises such as the Trust’s Darlington bakery and café, and training and education opportunities at their 100-acre site at Croft-on-Tees.

Clervaux Grow Biodynamically

Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition.

It recognises the interconnectedness between humans and the earth and seeks to promote a healthy relationship between the two.

At Clervaux they grow food and herbs biodynamically. It’s a method of agriculture which seeks to nurture the health of the planet, alongside the health of the grower.

How We’re Working Together

James Fearnley, our CEO, is also a trustee of Ruskin Mill. James had wanted to get this project off the ground for a number of years and finally, in 2021, we had the resources to do so.

We started small, with the intention that this project grow into a sustainable enterprise with many benefits. Initially, Ruskin Mill and Herbal Apothecary are producing a small range of herbal tinctures:

In 2021 we produced a couple of sample products – a Raspberry Leaf Tincture and an Artichoke Leaf Tincture. Neither of these products were made available to our customers – they were purely used as a way of testing our production processes and ensuring we could produce a high quality tincture from fresh herbs.

Herbal Apothecary Help with the Harvest!

Working with Ruskin Mill staff gives us a fantastic insight into both their work with the students, as well as their approach to biodynamic agriculture

Jack Barber

These products will be tested both by us in our lab, as well as by practitioners who regularly use raspberry and artichoke tinctures.

At Herbal Apothecary all but one of our tinctures is made with dried herb. Our Ruskin Mill products will all be produced using fresh herb, which we know some practitioners prefer.

We are in the process of planning which herbs to grow through the spring and summer of 2022, and are looking at the possibility of having more than one of Ruskin Mill’s 13 colleges help to produce these crops. Our hope is that eventually Ruskin Mill students will take responsibility for growing and harvesting the herbs, under the supervision of staff.

Low Food Miles

Clervaux is only an hour’s drive from Whitby. We’re excited to be producing tinctures which are both high quality, grown without any chemical pesticides of fertilisers, as well as being grown locally to us.

Low Food Miles

Full Traceability

These products are fully traceable. We’ll know exactly where the herbs are coming from. We’ll even know who grew and harvested them! There’ll be a direct link from the plant to the practitioner!

Fully Traceable, From Plant to Practitioner!

Project Timeline

Below is an approximate timeline for major milestones. Currently we do not know how many individual herbs Ruskin Mill will be able to grow successfully, or in sufficient quantity for our needs, but we will update this page with more details as time goes by.

Autumn 2021

  • The first biodynamic crops are harvested
  • Production of two sample tinctures

Winter 2021/2022

  • Testing of tinctures both in the lab and with practitioners/patients
  • Designing of packaging and publicity materials
  • Planning of planting schedule for 2022

Spring 2022

  • Planting of crops

Summer 2022

  • Early harvest of available herbs – dependant on what is grown
  • Processing, bottling and distribution

Autumn 2022

Yarrow Flowers and Artichoke Biodynamic Tinctures, Produced Summer 2022

Winter 2022/2023

  • Planning to expand the project throughout 2023
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