A Community Owned Aquaponic Regenerative Farm

by The Watercress Queen in Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Total raised £1,890

raised so far

33

supporters

New Forest Aquaponics CIC is setting up a community owned aquaponics farm. We are raising money to move to the next stage towards our goal.

by The Watercress Queen in Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 28th January 2023 we'd raised £1,600 with 33 supporters in 69 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Community Owned Regenerative Aquaponics Farm. 

Our community farm will be owned by our share holders, in a one member one vote membership, everyone will have an equal say in how we run things. 

Imagine your local community farm being able to provide you with fresh and tasty vegetables and fish. 

Imagine your food being produced in a way that puts more back than it takes out. 

Imagine your food being climate positive, local and good for you!

Regenerative culture is about reimagining how we live on this planet locally and globally, creating abundance for all. Can we change the world? No but we can help create a better way of living for all. 

Inclusive, thoughtful, kind, healthy,  - Regenerative. 

Aquaponics  is a food production system that combines aquaculture - raising fish, crayfish prawns etc - with hydroponics - growing plants in water - whereby the nutrient rich aquaculture water is fed to hydroponic grown plants

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 What do we need support from you for?

New Forest Aquaponics CIC needs to fundraise for the cost of becoming a Community Benefit Society so we can run a share offer to buy the land we need to work from.  This land, once secure, will then be put into trust as a community asset.  We hope this will keep the land and our work safe for future generations.

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This Crowdfunder is to raise the money to start to process. There are many things we have to pay out for in order to run a share offer.  We have to comply with the  Financial Services Authority regulations to run a share offer, update our insurances, create a new Community Benefit Society as the body to run the share offer, to then run the Community Aquaponic Farm.  Our current non-profit Community Interest Company will remain to run the projects we have in the community (The Waterside Food Project, Waterside Clothes Swaps, Waterside Home Ed, Waterside Boomerang Bags and Ecobricks UK). It needs to have some changes to it in order to keep running, and this will also incur some costs. 

We have been using the commercial sized greenhouse our project is based in for the last 15 years; for many reasons it is no longer possible for us to stay on the land we have been using. 

The landowners, who are lovely, are being very patient with our search for a new place to work from, but they now need the land back. Although we would love to stay where we are, it is just not possible. It is now the right time to find a new, permanent home for our work that will allow us to truly benefit others in the local and global community we serve. 

Read our working ethos to see the full picture of our aims. Working Ethos

Much of our work is with fish, and we have to provide them with a  secure home.  Mammal livestock can be moved from one piece of land to another:  aquatic livestock need their whole environment moved. To make sure our fish, and other aquatic livestock, some of which are endangered, can be looked after in the long term, we need to ensure security of the land.  This will be done by putting the new site in trust, so it is not affected by landowners who may have to sell the land at some point in the future. 

On a local level, we aim to continue our work with community projects to alleviate food and clothing poverty through The Waterside Food Project and Waterside Clothes Swaps. Our work is hampered by a lack of base to work from - our volunteers and those we wish to help need somewhere to come and connect.  

With a secure home we can start to produce food, and demonstrate how regenerative farms can be at the heart of a community. Supporting the transition to a better way of living whilst helping to rebuild lives.

Our plastic transition work includes a global network who need a place to put regenerative build ideas into practice. Security of land will enable us to do this, whilst providing hands-on practical building skills that can be shared around the world. 

Our regenerative Community Aquaponic Farm will be open to all, with no restrictions to being a part of our work. We will help everyone to find the bit that they can give to help provide abundance to all. 1669035110_working_ethos_2.png

Aquaponics is at our heart.  Although there are lots of projects around the UK that include a few of our projects, we have not found anyone else working in the same way with aquaponics and fish here in the UK.  David is a trained fish farmer with 35 years’ experience of working with fish. Most aquaponic systems are run by people with horticultural backgrounds, which can leave the system open to failure through lack of skills needed to look after the fish. 

The last 5 years have all been about regenerating ourselves as a family after losing our business, and Lucie’s stroke. Both events have enabled us to see the changes that are needed in our society and the world. Not people to sit back and do nothing, we have been working on creating our community-owned community farm. This has involved learning many new skills, and improving the ones we already had.  Building local community connections, starting with the road we live in, has been fundamental to getting to this point.  We now feel confident to start this next part of our journey. One important lesson we have learned is that people believe in us, and want to see our plans become reality.   

The money we will raise through this Crowdfunder is crucial to getting us in the right position to run the share offer.  Setting up as a Community Benefit Society is quite expensive, although we do have the support of The Plunkett Foundation which is helping to make it significantly cheaper than it would normally cost. To allow the non-profit CIC to continue running the local projects, we would like to settle all outstanding accounts allowing the CBS and the CIC to run alongside, but independently, of each other.  The estimated costs of achieving this is £5,000. Due to the pandemic, and issues with the way we can use the land it has been very difficult to make excess money for this part of our work. This has been further hampered by the very sharp rise of energy and fuel costs.  We plan to be off-grid when we move, but it did not seem to be financially sensible to set this up before moving. 

The rewards on offer are all things we make to sell to support us, or are being offered by the businesses who will share the land when we get that far.  Communities can be communities of businesses as well: all involved at our core share our values and commitment to regenerative culture. 

If you would like to arrange a visit or have questions, please do drop us a message. 

For the earth 

Lucie, David, Robert, & James 

Rewards

This project offered rewards

£25 or more

Eco Cleaning - Washkers and Genius Cleaning Cloth

1kg of Washkers and 4 packs of Genus Cleaning Cloths - normally £30 Unique to The Watercress Queen our Genius Cleaning Cloths are made from upcycled materials. All of which are obtained by running clothes swaps to help with reducing the impact of fast fashion whilst also helping with clothing poverty. Washkers are conkers for washing your laundry. You can read more about both products on Lucie s blog https://thewatercressqueen.wordpress.com/

£10 or more

A little thank you from us to you.

We would like to give everyone the option of receiving a reward. For £10 towards our goal we will send you either a crochet fish brooch. Made by my big sister, these will be unique to this crowd funder. Or a packet of flower seeds grown and collected by ourselves.

£25 or more

Carbon/Plastic Sequestration Certificate 10kg

We help run Ecobricks UK and the Global Ecobrick Alliance. Ecobricks are plastic bottles packed with plastic to a set density, creating a building block. The GEA's Authenticated Plastic Sequestration purchase scheme is based on plastic already removed from the biosphere. We will issue a AES plastic offsetting certificate for 10kg of plastic sequestered from the biosphere with your name on it. https://ecobricks.org/en/transition.php

£25 or more

Gardening Advice from Tim Woodford

Tim Woodford is based in the New Forest, and has a life time of plant and garden knowledge. Specializing in bringing local ecoilogy into gardens big and small, Tim will be part of our regenerative community farm. Tim is offering vouchers to spend with him on plants he has grown (subject to availabilty) or a consultation on your own garden. Please note this is for those who can travel to the New Forest.

£100 or more

Bushcraft vouchers from Blackwell Bushcraft

A family Bushcraft day (2 adults & 2 children) Fire Lighting Knife skills/ Carving Tree ID Shelter Building Value £200 Come and join us in the woodland for a day of skills and adventure! Learn how our ancestors would have done things such as light fire and expand your knowledge of your surroundings. Vouchers can be used against any booking that does result in a credit once applied. Dates to be arranged with Blackwell Bushcraft

£100 or more

A zoom workshop with Lucie

Grab up to 10 friends or work colleagues and pick Lucie's brains in a zoom workshop. Choose from one of the subject options. Each workshop will run for at least an hour (depending on how much Lucie talks for ) and you will get plenty of time to ask questions. If there are more of ten of you please book two workshops.

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