Soil Health Club

by Earthed Up! Limited in Belper, Derbyshire, United Kingdom

Soil Health Club
We did it
On 17th November 2022 we successfully raised £1,485 with 58 supporters in 28 days

Bring people together to nourish soil. We'll take local underutilised resources to grow edible and useful low-maintenance gardens.

by Earthed Up! Limited in Belper, Derbyshire, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Stretch target: Give us a shed! Technically, we already have one - but it’s pretty full. We dream of offering locally sourced, quality, peat-free compost without any plastic. If we could get a potting shed we could store a pallet in, we could provide peat-free compost refills! 

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What if people knew how to nourish their soil, utilising local underutilised resources, to grow edible and useful low-maintenance gardens?

This project will help if:

  • You don't want to put food scraps in the landfill bin.
  • You've tried composting but found stumbling blocks.
  • You want to feed your soil and plants without spending loads on buying in compost.
  • You want to grow even more healthy vegetables without taking up more space.
  • You want to care for the soil but you don't want to do it on your own - there's lots to do!

We are starting a Soil Health Hub at our garden.

Healthy soil is key 

To: reducing local flood risk, sequestering carbon, growing nutritious food, and increasing biodiversity. 

With our changed climate, caring for our soil must become a higher priority to help us adapt locally.


The COVID pandemic, Brexit and the ensuing instability has highlighted issues in: food resilience and supply chains. 

Healthy soil is the foundation of growing healthy food. Relying on imports of compost and fertility is costly financially and in greenhouse gas emissions; we will give people the skills and confidence to use local resources to feed their soil, helping grow their own nutritious food.

Let's improve things, fast

With your help, we will start a new Soil Health hub in our garden, bringing people together to learn deeply and build confidence. 


We will run trials and share the learning widely. This will benefit our co-operative business, reducing waste, improving soil and plant health.

Our garden infrastructure needs to be improved to be more accessible, so we can welcome people in.

Thanks to those that have pledged!

"Supporting community green projects & small businesses with a great idea. Soil education & composting! Good luck."

"Soooooo important. Great idea! ????????"

"Without soil health there isn't human health"

Benefits and impact of this project

  • Workers paid a fair wage to design, publicise, coordinate and evaluate sessions. 
  • Participants will be more content from making friends and learning skills.
  • Community gardeners will learn from our trial results to improve their practice.
  • Our garden and education activities are more accessible to learners.
  • Our soil is healthier, with more carbon sequestered and water stored.

Our plan

1. Improve garden infrastructure


At our garden: there's a high stile in a dry stone wall or wobbly steps. There is no toilet. There is just a basic design for the new part of our garden. We have equipment for our own growing, not enough for others. We want to fix this. With your help, we can - we need to fund our time and to source materials.

2. Start a Soil Health Club


We will bring people together in our garden to learn about: what soil is, what makes healthy soil, cold + hot composting, vermicomposting, bokashi, biochar,  making plant food, and mulching.

We will run trials so participants can discover for themselves how different approaches and nuances work.

3. Share learning widely

We will run a webinar (we know how) to share our learning, for community gardeners to see our setup and tips on running their own Soil Health Clubs.

4. Apply for more funds for the next phase 

We have prepared a grant application to the National Lottery Awards for All. They will fund up to 12 months of the project, in 2023. We think it's a strong application. 

The money we are seeking from the crowd now will enable us to: get started in 2022 with work on the infrastructure, launch a Soil Health Club in the New Year, and this will strengthen our application to the Lottery. If successful, this will bring a lot more people, composting a ton of organic material, saving it from being wasted.

About Us

Our Gardens

A rainbow on the horizon with our garden in autumn 2021The land we have access to garden is offered by local people that support our mission, for very low rent.

Our main patch is at Belper Lane End, where since February 2021 we have rented half the garden (about 10 x 8 metres). Now, we are taking on the full plot!

We have the opportunity to grow more healthy soil, more plants, and most excitingly invite people into the garden! Access has been via a high stile in the dry stone wall - now we have taken on the full plot, we have path-side stepped access. It's easier to get into the garden.

We have another garden where we grow plants for stock and will occasionally run courses. The owners appreciate peace and quiet, we are helping them manage and diversify the space to increase benefits for wildlife.

1665997761_img_20221017_095641_993.jpgAn ecological approach: We design using permaculture. We grow using No Dig practices. We create our own plant fertility with vermicompost and nettle/comfrey feed.

Our potting mix is 40% biochar, using charcoal bought from a local woodland manager who is thinning plantation spruce and pyrolising in kilns, replanting with hazel and sweet chestnut coppice.

The only bottled product we have used is seaweed concentrate (because it's a long way to forage from the beach!) for potted plants.

We don't net plants - caterpillars and birds are fine. We try very hard not to buy new plastic products - all plant pots are reused and/or recyclable.

About Earthed Up!: a growing, resilient plant nursery

1665993061_earthedup!_email_logo_final.pngEarthed Up! grow and sell edible and useful plants. We grow our plants and gardens without the use of harmful chemicals. We don’t use peat anywhere. We favour perennials - our range includes fruit, herbs, and perennial vegetables.

We also sell peat free compost from Melcourt and Dalefoot, delivered locally. We run courses and workshops on perennial edibles, permaculture, and forest gardening.

As a registered society workers co-operative, we are co-owned by our members. Workers are invite to be members, members become directors. That means if you work for us, you co-own and help run the business and have a fair say in how we operate. We have 3 members: Cynthia Troche, Garethe Hughes, and Ryan Sandford-Blackburn. We pay £10 an hour and offer paid sick leave. 

We don't take money from banks. All funding has come from individuals offering loanstock and from reinvesting business profit.

Our vision

With our contribution, people are enabled to regenerate land that they have stewardship over, and themselves.

Our mission

Broaden the horizons of people, by sharing the benefits and possibilities of edible and useful plants. Develop a flourishing agroecological plant nursery. To make healthy plants accessible locally.


Cynthia is an experienced teacher, a gardener and parent.

Garethe spent 15 years delivering and later managing data related projects across multiple industries. More lately drawn to the soil, Garethe grew for an organic box scheme for 5 years and is currently a volunteer at a local windmill and collaborating to set up a CSA.

Ryan is a parent, permaculture educator and activist, and professional communicator. Ryan worked for the Permaculture Association as strategic communications coordinator for 8 years, inspired by the many people and projects he discovered in that network.

Project budget

Staff time:

Maintenance of compost systems £240

Marketing distribution through existing channels £100

Garden design £180

Webinar to share findings £80

Compost toilet build £240


Equipment - sourcing + materials: butts, IBC, buckets, thermometers, riddles, gloves £300

Compost toilet materials £150

Packaging for sharing outputs with Club members + prototype products £150


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