Long Lane Farm

by Long Lane Farm in Ringwood, , United Kingdom

£6,896

£27,000 target 29 days left
25% 116 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 17th February 2022 at 12:00pm

Our goal is to grow healthy, beyond organic veg for the local community, create a new diverse habitat and regenerate damaged soil.

by Long Lane Farm in Ringwood, , United Kingdom

Long Lane Farm

Our planet needs us to act fast to regenerate farmland. The food system is broken. This visionary ‘No Dig’ farm is part of a small scale producer movement that benefits the local community whilst simultaneously caring for the environment. We need your help to be part of the solution!

Long Lane Farm will provide super local, healthy veg to the Ringwood community whilst healing the land.  Supermarkets have driven down prices, forsaking quality and nutrition for profit. Mass production and conventional farming techniques have destroyed the soil as well as vital habitats, leading to a decline in many species.  Our focus is bringing back biodiversity to farmland and sequestering carbon. We are providing a new space for local people to connect with the natural world and learn new skills.

We have a method of growing food that works for both soil health and people’s wellbeing. We don’t dig! Inspired by Charles Dowding’s work we have learnt that soil health is vital for our ecosystem and for growing nutritionally dense food. Conventional farming uses big machinery and ploughs, which destroys soil structure, breaks up the intricate soil food web and releases carbon into the atmosphere.  It’s clear we cannot continue to do this. 

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Long lane farm is putting permanent roots back into the earth to regenerate above and below ground . Photosynthesis releases sugars into the soil feeding microbes and allowing fungal networks to form. 

Over 4 thousand trees will form a new native mix hedgerow, two acres will be wildflower meadow and one acre will be filled with over 200 fruit trees. That’s an incredible number of new habitats that can support over 2000 species! Our farm aims to be an inspiration to others. We want children and adults alike to discover new skills and the possibility of land-based careers. 

Long lane will have:  

2 acres of wildflower meadow, pond and mixed native hedge plantings will restore vital habitat and cover bare soil permanently. Mollie will create many different habitats with the groups she teaches. 

1 Acre of mixed fruit orchard and fruit bushes will be under planted with a huge variety of companion flowers and herbs to also keep the soil covered and attract pollinators. We want this area to be a place of beauty, somewhere for children and young adults to enjoy the abundance and variety of plants and fruits growing in one area. Community harvest days will take place where Kate will teach preserving skills.

1 Acre of No Dig Market garden will provide vegetables for local families and the community fridge. 1638860730_photo-2021-11-06-18-12-09.jpg

Who are we?

We are Mollie and Kate, friends who feel passionately about nature and wellbeing. We have a shared dream to grow and educate. There are many possibilities available in land based careers, yet we as young adults were never told about them, so we want to change this! We believe that positive outdoor experiences are needed to foster an interest in our local ecosystem. Our aim is to inspire, educate and reconnect people with the natural world and show how we can produce food whilst regenerating land. 

Kate

1640208147_image1.jpegI worked as a private chef all over the world before moving to Dorset to work and learn with Charles Dowding at his Market Garden. Inspired by Charles’ No Dig approach and driven by a desire to repair the earth and readdress the way we grow fruit and vegetables, I am taking my years of No Dig experience and creating a CSA in Ringwood. Not only to provide fantastic fresh veg, fruit and herbs, but also to create a caring community around growing, cooking and learning. Having worked in primary schools for 5 years I have the skills and understanding to deliver workshops in a fun and creative way.

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Mollie

1638873024_img_3334.jpgI have a BSc in Animal Behaviour and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation which has led me through a varied time in the conservation sector from ranger to engagement project coordinator. For the past 4 years I have worked at a local nature reserve which has taught me skills in habitat management, as well as immersing me in all that nature has to offer (with some ID skills along the way!)

I am passionate about using our connection to nature as a healing resource, starting a nature-focused bereavement group after losing my own loved ones; nature helped me on my grief journey.  Since sparking my interest in the benefits nature can bring, I have discovered that there are many unseen benefits of being connected with nature, and as a free, easily accessible resource, I want to assist others with their journey to connecting with nature.

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What inspired us?

 One fateful day we were out walking and realised we both had the same dream; to restore and protect a piece of land and use it to benefit the community and the ecosystem. There is a direct link between soil health, our food and our health. 

Our first priority is to aid the healing of the soil at Long Lane. Ploughing, chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides have left these four acres in a poor state. Rather than turn the whole area into a market garden for vegetable production, we believe it is important to create more diverse habitats and protect and lengthen wildlife corridors.

We have set up as a Community Interest Company, which means profit goes back into the company for teaching, maintenance and resources. 

We take a set wage for our time which is funded by the selling of vegetables via the market garden. We wish to employ more people as the project develops, giving others the opportunity to learn a vast array of skills and to hopefully consider a future similar path. We aim to lead apprenticeships for young adults next year.  

What your support can help us achieve?

We need your help to fund key parts of our farm. We need a large polytunnel to extend the growing season (£3000), a yurt for teaching workshops (£16000), wildflower seeds (£1000), pond creation supplies (£1000) funding for solar power (£5000) and teaching resources development (£1000).

Market Garden

Our market garden needs a polytunnel to produce a wide range of healthy, chemical free fruits and vegetables, and extend our growing season. 

Wild Acres and Mixed-fruit Orchard

The Wild Acres and Mixed-fruit Orchard will be seeded with native, local wildflowers to help repair the soil which your donation will go towards creating. 

We also aim to create a teaching hub here, with an indoor area for teaching (such as a yurt), small bird hide, and handmade habitats such as bird boxes and bug hotels. This funding will also allow us to purchase essential educational materials such as wildlife ID books, survey equipment and an electric generator to make outdoor lessons/talks possible. 

Any additional funding will go towards providing a reinforced greenhouse, office space/resources, and funding additional roles/apprenticeships with us at the farm.

Our methods

Why no-dig?

Repairing soil is key to growing healthy plants. A fully functioning soil food web of microbes and fungal networks makes for sweeter tasting and more nutritious food, and it’s great for trapping carbon! The No Dig method never disturbs the soil by always mulching on top, never digging it in or digging up roots. We aim to aid soil structure by allowing the ecosystem below to do its work without being destroyed by rotavating or digging. By growing perennials with annuals and mixing varieties we are creating a diverse environment which is great for soil life and encourages our friends the pollinators to visit. The vast array of root exudates that come from having different plants helps create this diverse environment.

Soil wishes to be covered at all times; if a patch is left bare then ‘weed’ seeds will germinate and begin photosynthesising. The sugars produced by photosynthesis feed those soil microbes below and the process of trapping carbon begins. No dig keeps soil covered at all times with a layer of compost mulch on the beds and woodchip on the paths. By keeping a succession of plants in the ground year round and using cover crops where needed we are helping to give back to that soil.

Charles Dowding’s Homeacres 

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Unfortunately, current mass production food systems are detrimental to the environment. At Long Lane Farm we are not organically certified, but we never use synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. Healthy soil produces plants that are resistant to disease and unwanted insects. We want to create habitat for pollinators throughout our market garden because we know just how important they are for our ecosystem to thrive. 

We will be creating as much homemade compost as space allows, taking local raw veg and fruit food waste and utilising green waste produced on site. This along with coffee grounds from local cafes, woodchip from local tree surgeons and manure from nearby stables will create our highly valued compost mulch. Water is another valuable resource so we will harvest as much rainwater as possible to use on our beds. The fungal network that is allowed to repair and thrive in No Dig beds sequesters nutrients, and deposits serious amounts of carbon. It also accesses moisture for the plants from very deep down and is an essential part of plant drought resistance.

Nature connection

1638872774_bereavegroup.jpgConnecting people with nature will be one of our greatest aims. Higher nature connection results in more environmentally positive behaviours. Greater nature connection is also linked to many physical and mental health benefits such as lower blood pressure, reduced stress and more positive thoughts. We aim to connect people with nature through many engagement activities, learning and gaining work experience and skills, as well as sharing via social media to extend this reach of benefits.

A core aim for this engagement and increased nature connection is to make nature accessible for all, in particular, those who will benefit from the healing benefits of nature. To do this, we will invite the local community, local education establishments, high risk groups and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds to join us at the farm to learn all about nature and wildlife, growing healthy, low cost food, and cooking retreats. 

Check out more about nature and grief through Mollie's Podcast The Nature of Loss or Video about the bereavement group

Follow our story

To keep up with our journey, you can follow us on Instagram @long_lane_csa or check out our website: www.long-lane.farm

Massive thanks to Charles Dowding www.charlesdowding.co.uk

Chris Pedley for use of his track "Hidden Pathways

Max Downey for editing www.maxdowney.com

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

29 of 46 claimed

Tote Bag!

Receive a LLF tote bag with a £20 donation. The bags will feature veggies and our logo!

£150 or more

9 of 30 claimed

Plant a Tree in your name!

For a £150 donation, we will plant a tree in any name of your choosing. We will supply a tag for the tree and send you a photo of your tree.

£200 or more

4 of 10 claimed

Half day at the market garden with Kate!

For £200, spend a half-day with Kate at the market garden, harvesting produce to prepare a delicious, healthy meal!

£50 or more

6 of 6 claimed

Handmade Silver Bracelet!

For £50 you will receive a handmade silver bracelet with either a bee or squash engraved. *Bracelets will not be sent until March*

£200 or more

4 of 4 claimed

Breakfast at the farm + wildlife encounter!

For £200, you will reserve a space for up to 4 people to spend a morning on the farm with a wildlife encounter and breakfast! *Date dependent on progress at the farm*

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