London’s Community Farm – a crazy idea that might just work?
By Ben Brangwyn 2nd June 2011
Taking food resilience seriously…
As food prices soar and the absurdity of many aspects of the globalised food system become clearer (eg in Guatemala), what could be more appealing than participating in a community farm.
This recently came in from our friends at Bioregional
Have you ever dreamt about owning a place in the country? An amazing opportunity has come up for us to buy some land together in south London: 35 acres including an existing veg farm and nursery, woodlands, farm shop, bungalow, glass houses and polytunnels. In the last few days (end of May) we’ve already raised over £500,000, so maybe we can do it?!
Together we could buy it and convert it into a community farm for people to grow organic fruit and veg together, ensure we all have access to fresh affordable healthy produce, share skills, offer training to schools, disability groups and everyone else… and much much more.
The land is only £1.15m (which would buy a flat in central London?!) so we only need 780 of us to pledge £1500 each (or more or less). With 7 million people living in London surely we can do it?! http://www.rightmove.co.uk/
There’s also a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.
php?sk=group_105242929567570 and we’ve been in the local paper: http://www.suttonguardian.co. uk/news/9043369.Residents_ offered_chance_to_own_share_ of_community_farm/
And there are examples where communities have got together and bought farms elsewhere e.g.: http://www.thecommunityfarm.
Time is of the essence: we only found out about the opportunity last week and we need to submit an offer imminently. At this stage we only need to know if you are willing to pledge – please email me with your name and the amount. And please forward to as many people as you think might be interested… If we get enough people we will issue a community share offer, if not, we won’t go ahead. So what have we got to lose?
Community shares: there are loads of examples of people getting together and buying farms, post offices, wind turbines etc. The way these shares work is that people invest a certain amount, get benefits such as discounted produce, part own the farm / are part of a worthwhile project, get involved in activity days etc (if desired) and the shares can be sold (for original price) if they need the money back.
Management: the farm would be run by the farm team including experienced growers, project manager, training staff and shop assistants. Quarterly steering group meetings would be held to discuss progress and all shareholders would be invited to the Annual General Meeting, as well as regular activity days and events and the opportunity to bring family and friends to visit their farm.
For further info, contact Anna Francis, email@example.com, 07939 060688, www.suttoncommunityfarm.org.uk.