What are we asking you to fund?
In brief, our call to action is for crowdfunding which will be used to:
1) Run and continue to develop our online platform homegrown.earth which includes its own bespoke social-media styled platform behind a secure log-in.
2) To launch and run our digital campaign training school and online courses, to empower farm businesses and communities to change our relationship with food and agriculture.
3) Run an extensive, fully budgeted advertising campaign to promote local food production and consumption, and influence positive policy change.
4) To produce a year's worth of podcasts and documentaries to bring farming and the public closer together, creating a much broader understanding of where our food comes from and what challenges we must overcome.
5) To launch and run a bespoke analytics platform, providing farms and communities the digital firepower to compete with big money and make change happen.
Please take the time to visit us on social media (@homegrownfuture on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and at homegrown.earth, where you can explore what we are building and what we already have running that we need your help with - for example our #FeedThePeople campaign.
What are we trying to achieve?
The world is changing rapidly around us, from trade to the climate itself, and our food and our environment is not as safe as it once was. Over time, communities have become detached from one another and we have become more distant from not just each other but the countryside around us and the food on our plates. With complex politics in the mix, and a new world of digital campaigns which drive real world consequences, society and the farms which are part of it are at risk.
It is time for all of our communities to reconnect and grow together.
We want to bring us all closer, helping farmers learn how to communicate more effectively about the work they do and the challenges they face, and helping the public see beyond politics by showing everyone where our food comes from, how change may affect their lives, and why our environment deserves their protection.
We want to inspire a better future in which we are all closer to the nature we rely upon.
What makes our project great?
Home Grown is our path to this brighter future.
We are creating a community which exists both online and offline, from Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, to podcasts and our centrepiece: homegrown.earth, an online hub of information, data, training, delivered within our own social media-styled forum.
We are also creating an identity. A symbol which connects our food, our climate, and our home and a set of values which guides and drives us. When we talk about agriculture, crops, the weather, planting trees, or a change in policy, we will make sure everyone knows they can trust not just our words but our intentions.
In the future this identity, our seal of approval, might even allow producers to proudly show people where their goods come from and help consumers to easily recognise a sustainable and responsible supplier.
We are ploughing a rough field and growing a new way of talking about and engaging with agriculture from seed.
Before the winter floodwaters even subsided, on Sunday the 1st of March 2020 the Mail on Sunday reported on leaked emails in which a Government adviser argued the food sector is not 'critically important' to the economy – and that agriculture and fishery production 'certainly isn't'. The headline read “Britain doesn't need farmers” and came as the UK was due to release its negotiating position for US trade talks, amidst continuing pressure from American interests to lower food standards and increase our reliance on imported food.
British farming is particularly at risk from the multiple trade negotiations taking place in parallel. Additionally, with a government-led shift in the approach to subsidies, agriculture is facing a sea of change. Not all of which is for the better.
Farmers themselves have also been under reputational pressure due to Brexit, facing criticism from both sides of the divide for either criticising the government’s handling of the process and the risks to farming as a whole, or for the level of support given to the voting to leave the EU in the first place. Lost in this torrent of events and toxicity are the positives of agriculture: the sustainable practices which protect our climate, the ecosystem which feeds us, and the stories of real people doing their best to keep doing a hard job in an increasingly difficult environment.
People are struggling to keep pace with the changes in the way we communicate and, because of this, important voices have struggled to be heard in the noise. Not everyone has a budget to compete with millions spent on Facebook advertising and not everyone has the skills to create or manage a successful online presence.
We think farming is important. Sustainability is important. Food is important. Our fields, woodlands, and hedgerows are important. Our wildlife and livestock are important.
Above all else, we think people are important and we believe they should be talking more about all of these things - and how we make sure they are still there and growing stronger in the future.
Home Grown is a starting point, a place where we can start to bring communities together again. Where we can reach out beyond political divides and break through the noise of headlines to have real conversations about our countryside and how it is kept safe.
On our website we will provide information, reports, and news, keeping everyone informed on what’s driving, changing, and impacting our ecosystem. Farmers who believe in our values will also be listed in our public directory too, showcasing their produce and business information for free.
We have already set up our skeleton website on a self-funded basis to show our intent and speed up the deployment process once the funding is secured. You can visit the skeleton site at https://homegrown.earth and our social media infrastructure is also already in place - we can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the username @homegrownfuture.
We will also be telling stories, with twelve online documentaries a year showcasing the successes and challenges faced by our farmers. In addition, we will produce a fortnightly podcast, telling the stories of the people growing our crops and nurturing our herds.
We will start conversations on our site but we want to continue those discussions too, using social media to create a community which understands farming, challenges it, and helps us shape tomorrow. Our community will help our stories and messages reach policy makers, driving positive change which protects our environment and our food.
Through a secure login, our community will be able to come together in new ways through our bespoke social platform. Inside the Home Grown portal we will build a thriving marketplace of ideas and initiatives where topics can be discussed, events can be planned, and an online community can become an offline force for good.
We will offer a further layer of secure support for farms too, providing online training materials and resources to help them nurture their own futures, bolstered by a data-driven, analytical approach which will inform their communications strategies and enhance their understanding of public discourse.
Home Grown will be sustainable in the long-term too and we are already planning for the future. From an affordable subscription model to keep all of these resources growing in the years to come, to the development of an assured standard accreditation system under our own brand, we are planting seeds for the long term.
We believe in Home Grown and in what can be achieved. We hope you can grow with us.
How is the money being spent?
Our budget is carefully planned to cover the pre-implementation period and set up costs, including digital infrastructure design and acquisition, to provide a digital advertising budget for the first year, and to cover the full costs of running the platform and all content services during that twelve-month period. We have incorporated a budget for lean running of the not for profit entity and contingencies. In all, our total annual budget is £200,000.
The costs are based on extensive experience of the operating environment and incorporates measured contingency thresholds within each segment.
By the end of the twelve months the forward-sustainability model will be in place and no further crowdfunding will be sought. Our minimum sustainability “sales” target is 1250 service users paying £13.50 per month for full resource access and ongoing strategic communications support.
The initial crowdfunding target is based on achieving this level of funding at the start of the project, in exchange for which all contributors to the funder receive the full year of access. This provides Home Grown the vital space it needs to focus on growth which makes a positive impact on agriculture from the outset.
All contributors will be granted the full 12 months of resource access to the platform, data-driven analytics, training content and support.
Contributing farms will also be listed in the public directory from the outset and will be entitled to use the Home Grown logo on their websites.
This polling data was gathered through online survey questions. Internet users answer survey questions in order to access high-quality content around the web. In turn, content publishers get paid as their users answer. The service is provided via Google and participants are allocated based on the demographic spread of internet-population data in the relevant geographic region – in this case England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The representative targeting uses ground-truth data about a country’s population on three demographic dimensions (age, gender, and geography), and attempts to match the survey audience to reflect the same distribution of demographics. Demographic information is collected and inferred based on a respondent’s browsing history. The algorithm is the same method Google uses for advertising targeting, and uses signals to determine demographics such as gender and age. Available segments include gender, age (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, and 45+), and region or province. The results are validated against outside data, such as government-issued statistics, and results are as accurate or more accurate than other online platforms.
We used a statement for the purposes of this survey:
“Some members of the Government have expressed their view that Britain doesn't need its farms. At the same time, America is pushing for lower standard food imports to the UK.”
We gave three response options:
• We must support our farms and food supply
• I don’t care about this issue
• We should get rid of British farming
We targeted 1,000 responses across the UK in all gender and age ranges to gauge a measured, representative response and received 1,011 responses.
The survey ran between March 4 and March 6 2020.
The response is overwhelmingly positive. The vast majority of the public wish to support British farms and farmers. This is decisive and shows that a coordinated campaign would succeed.
Only a tiny proportion of the publish wish to see the back of British farming.
There is a large percentage of people who state that they do not care about this issue, which may be perceived as a negative but is not – this indicates persuasion will be a viable target in the undecided and this presents and exciting prospect to convert even more support in a targeted way.
Of the majority in support of farming and farms, the strongest support came from women.
The support was also distributed across age ranges, with the most support coming from those aged 25-34 and 55-65+. The least support was among the 18-24 and 25-44 year olds, who made up the majority of the “I don’t care about this issue respondents” and were in that case mostly male.
Regional support was also clear within the data, which allows for geographical campaign design and appropriate distribution of campaign resources.
There is almost infinite room for a well-managed narrative campaign focused on community building and the space is currently unoccupied.
The case for providing training as part of the integrated strategy also makes itself.
The result shows a clear public appetite for a campaign to support farms and farmers. Due to the structure of this poll, we will also be able to repeat this regularly to ensure that our approaches keep pace and to judge the efficacy of the campaign in broader terms.
Home Grown will be registered as a not for profit company limited by guarantee during the set-up process.
Our trademark will be registered with the IPO.
The implementation of our sustainability model will commence from launch in order to help us achieve our targets for ongoing service delivery.
We will be fully registered with the ICO for GDPR compliance during the set-up process.
Home Grown is driven by farmers and is being delivered by strategic partner SOCINT.
Socint and Social Intelligence are trading styles of JJ Patrick Limited, a company registered in England and Wales.
Company Number: 11931051
Registered address: The Stable Yard Vicarage Road, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, MK11 1BN