Forget Crowdfunding, were COWfunding
A few years ago, in 1786, a young man called 'Robert Burns', together with his brother, Gilbert, signed the lease of a small farm called 'Mossgiel'. Having fallen on hard times this young partnership did not last for long with Robert swapping the plough for a celebrity status soon after and ending up as being recognised as one of the greatest scots who ever lived.
Moving on a couple of hundred years, and with the land of West Mossgiel Farm being tenanted by our family for 3 generations, back in 2014 we were a dairy farm being slowly squeezed out of business by the retail super-powers. We were losing £10,000 per month, milking the Mossgiel Girls (the pretty awesome Ayrshire cows who stay on the farm with us) 4 times per day to squeeze every litre from our cows as cheaply as possible and were not enjoying our farming life - things had to change!!!
We decided enough was enough, so instead of using the girls as milk machines, we wanted them to be as happy as possible whilst working with nature (instead of chemicals) to grow their food. We were also determined to take the power away from THE MAN - we would decide our future, not the commodity traders and supermarkets.
The first step was money - we were in serious debt and our bank were not supportive of our 'radical' ideas so we were forced to sell half of the girls in December 2015 (one of the hardest days of our lives), but from there we chased our dream of being a family run, Organic dairy farm and bringing the awesome milk produced by the Mossgiel Girls directly to the market - so we launched the totally unique products;
'Mossgiel Milk' - an old-fashioned, non-homogenized milk that has a special super-power when used in the speciality coffee scene 'Mossgiel Ethical Veal' - a fully sustainable source of rose veal, using ethics instead of tradition to shine a new light on a once deemed unethical food.
Today we have been producing Mossgiel Milk for 18 months and we are thoroughly enjoying our journey! The Mossgiel Girls are milked twice per day, they graze the lush Ayrshire grass in the summer and a forage diet in the winter that we harvest in the summer months. In Ayrshire - the summer can sometimes feel like winter and the girls notice this too; They love being outside chewing the cud and eating the grass, but often, after heavy rain, the land leading to the fields becomes muddy and compacted - making the girls (and Farmer Bryce) feel a bit down in the dumps.
Our cowfunding campaign is set out to sort this - we want to build cow friendly roads around our farm to let the girls walk along to the lush pastures without drudging through the Ayrshire muck on the wet days. Our tracks will be made by a super-environmentally friendly procedure called 'soil stabilisation', which means we dont need to use any heavy trucks to haul massive amounts of stone and other materials to the farm - lowering the carbon footprint and keeping with our vision of farming as naturally as possible.
We know the amount of money is BIG, but the tracks will not only help the girls get to and from the fields in comfort, but they will also allow us to work with our soils in a better way - to stop 'soil compaction' which stops water draining away, stops plants growing and stops our amazing soils from removing carbon out of the atmosphere. Our soil is the most important part of our farm and is made up of organic matter, air and water. Soil organic matter allows us a base to grow grass from, the grass absorbs sunlight and nutrients to grow the grass and absorb carbon from the atmosphere, the girls eat the grass, turn it into awesome Mossgiel Milk and more organic matter (or cow shit as it is best known....), the organic matter goes back onto the fields and the cyclical process continues - if we damage our soil, we damage our farm and our environment. This is why we really want your help to build our cow roads.
Thank you for taking the time to read our message and please get in touch if you would like to know more about our family farm,
Farmer Bryce, Wife Amy, Boss Arran and all the Mossgiel team