Help fund a farm for the future

by School Farm CSA C.I.C.
Match Funding £6,800

About the project

Goals

Tipping Point £6,800
A Big Step for Our Farm £14,304
Growing for the Future £19,923
£13,685
tipping point
£30.000
20%
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
12hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Poor nutritional health/ affordable food. People are increasingly disconnected to where their food comes from and what has been done to it before it reaches their mouths. Food poverty in the UK is an increasing problem with low income families struggling to afford access to healthy produce. • Unemployment Youth unemployment increased by 15,000 to reach 973,000 this year. But the way growers are remunerated and treated means that most young people don’t see the traditional model of farming as a real career option. • Destruction of our wildlife and land Over the last 50 years the UK has lost a phenomenal amount of its native wildlife. The State of Nature report compiled by 25 conservation groups found that three in every five of species analysed for the report have declined in the last 50 years and one in 10 are at risk of extinction. And the evidence pointed to intensive farming practices, especially the use of pesticides, as one of the causes for this loss. • Climate change and food in the future. The global population is over 7 billion and we urgently need to consider how our food systems will cope in the coming years. We need to find methods that aren’t dependent on high energy inputs like oil and that are resilient to an increasingly unpredictable climate.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
Some 45% of all food consumed in the UK is imported from overseas. Much of it is only made possible due to the low wages and poor working conditions of workers in those countries. Supermarkets account for 97% of UK grocery sales, squeezing producers and pushing smaller local retailers out of business with aggressive pricing. • In the UK the average age of farmers is almost 58 and there are few new entrants. In the UK our soil is eroding at a rate of more than 2 million tonnes a year, having been steadily degraded by 200 years of intensive farming and industrial pollution. It’s estimated that half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. • The present food system is responsible for some 30% of world greenhouse gas emissions, with significant impacts from the use of fossil-fuel derived pesticides and fertilisers, as well as transportation and packaging.
What is your solution?
Putting power back in the hands of the local community. In the CSA model food travels straight from farm to fork. Our community benefits from receiving fresh food from a known source, which has travelled less miles, with less packaging. They understand more about varieties of food, its production methods and costs. We benefit from the security of having members, who pay in advance, which allows us to spend less time on marketing and more time on trialling new ecological methods of producing food and training future generations. • Boosting the local economy. Our local economy is enhanced by higher employment, local consumption and a re-circulation of money through 'local spend'. The New Economics Foundation has calculated that every £1 spent on a local organic box scheme generates £2.58 for the local economy, whereas the same £1 spent in a supermarket generates only £1.40 locally. • Promoting healthy communities. In the Soil Association publication The Impact of Community Supported Agriculture it was noted that CSA members reported a significant effect on their quality of life, skills and other aspects of wellbeing with 70% of CSA members saying that their overall quality of life had improved. • Using and trailing sustainable farming methods. We know it is vital for the future of food that we trial different growing technologies and methodologies and then bring them to a wider audience. Our purpose is to demonstrate these new ways of farming to others to show their economic and environmental potential. We use low-carbon methods of organic production such as no-dig gardening and want to be able to try many, many more in the future such as using horse power. • Creating futures through apprenticeships/training opportunities. We aim to demonstrate a career choice and model of producing food that is attractive to new farming entrants who may be put off by low pay, isolation and a future of decreasing stability. A number of studies have suggested that the future of farming lies in small scale food production. A study released in May by Britain’s Soil Association concluded that organic farming provides 32% more jobs per farm in the United Kingdom than conventional agriculture does. • Using a farming model which is proven to benefit the environment. On average wildlife is 50% more abundant on organic farms and there are 30% more species than on non-organic farms.
How will you deliver this?
In the last year we have • held 46 volunteer growing days though out the season (each concentrating on a specific area such as bed preparation, propagation and harvesting). • provided training and education for horticulture students from a local college. • Run a beginners ‘no dig’ gardening course of eight monthly half day gardening sessions for up to 15 participants. • Held two seasonal events for up to 50 people (but one actually attracting some 600 visitors). • Provided fresh, local, seasonal vegetables and fruit for the community, delivered via a weekly vegetable box to 20 families and direct to local shops. • Started outreach work through posters, leaflets, a regular newsletter and social media page and are developing a website. In the future we will continue to do all of the above as well as to: • Expand our growing area into a 2 acre field above our current site. • Double our CSA membership from 20 to 40 households • Support at least one full-time equivalent grower position • Develop the necessary infrastructure in the 2 acre field including edible windbreaks, sheds for crop storage, a compost loo and new community space. • Offer educational experiences including apprenticeships in partnership local colleges. • Continue to help new entrants into farming by providing space where students and apprentices can put into practice their learning and acting as a place where new entrants into farming can trial their own business ideas. • Reach the wider community, particularly those most affected by the economic downturn, investigating the possibility of offering CSA membership on a sliding scale. • Continue building the involvement of the local community through membership, volunteer opportunities, educational experiences and our events program. • Continue to experiment with and demonstrate different growing techniques. • Continue to develop networks and partnerships locally with other growers and organizations.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Get Connected! Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/SchoolFarmCSA, post our campaign on your homepage or if you are Twittering then send out a shout for us and follow us on SchoolFarmCSA.
  • 5 minutes
    Get Social! Contact your family, friends, anyone you think would be interested to let them know what we are doing! We need as much support as we can get.
  • 15 minutes
    Pay it Forward! The gift that keeps on giving! If you are thinking about a Christmas or Birthday present then why not buy a gift voucher for our Crowd Funding campaign? Giving to them and giving to us, giving to the planet, to our and our children’s’ futures!
  • 30 minutes
    Have a Think! Do you know someone with skills in business, farming, campaigning or community engagement who could help us grow in the future?
  • A few hours
    Lend a Hand! Do you have a specific skill that you could use to help School Farm CSA grow in the future?
  • Regular time commitment
    Lend an ear! Keep informed about any upcoming courses and open days by subscribing to our newsletter. Interested in volunteering with us? We have a lot of fun at the farm and are always on the lookout for people who’d like to join us whether that’s weeding, harvesting, making jams and chutneys. Drop us an email at crowdfundschoolfarmcsa@gmail.com

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

We believe in “Good food for everyone forever”, in sustainable agroecological farming techniques where being fair to the environment and the community are core principles. Our mission is to become a model farm that teaches our methods to other communities of the UK and to promote small scale agriculture as an alternative to the status quo.

Geographical coverage

Within UK

Our track record

School Farm has been running as a certified Organic garden for over 7 years now. Protecting and enhancing biodiversity all while supplying the community with fresh produce. School Farm Community Supported Agriculture started in 2012 and is near the end of its pilot phase, where we exceeded all our expectations for community support, the amount of veg we grew and setting up our core business structures. With four horticulturists (who are also all women) forming the Directorship of our Community Interest Company we have between us over 20 years working in organics, vegetable growing and teaching.

Who do we help?

We help our community be enabling them to come together to work on problems like isolation, reskilling, community cohesion and future climate change resiliency. We also help new entrants to farming through our teaching to gain the practical and theoretical skills necessary to enter into a career path that will withstand the future shocks of climate change.

How do we deliver this?

In the last year we have • held 46 volunteer growing days throughout the season (each concentrating on a specific area such as bed preparation, propagation and harvesting for up to 15 volunteers • provided training and education for horticulture students from a local college. • Run a beginners ‘no dig’ gardening course of eight monthly half day gardening sessions for up to 15 participants. • Held two seasonal events for up to 50 people (but one actually attracting some 600 visitors). • Provided fresh, local, seasonal vegetables and fruit for the community, delivered via a weekly vegetable box to 20 families and direct to local shops. • Started outreach work through posters, leaflets, a regular newsletter and social media page and are developing a website.