SOURCE: Trailblazing local circular food systems

by MAD LEAP in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Total raised £16,090

raised so far



SOURCE turns food waste into energy, fertiliser and compost to grow healthy crops and create local jobs – in the heart of our cities!

by MAD LEAP in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 24th February 2022 we'd raised £15,710 with 60 supporters in 63 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.



A local, low carbon solution is critical at a time when the global food system is responsible for a massive 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a third of all food produced is wasted, landfill sites are filling up and food and fuel prices are rising along with unemployment levels.


SOURCE is pioneering a circular, zero waste approach to managing our food, waste and energy. It combines advanced waste management with smart urban farming to help us:

  • Reimagine our villages, towns and cities as thriving centres of production;
  • Revitalise communities with green growth opportunities;
  • Reconnect people, food and nature in a move towards one planet living.


  • combines small-scale anaerobic digestion and composting to treat unavoidable waste where it’s produced;
  • uses the by-products to grow affordable healthy food and tackle food poverty; 
  • reduces food and waste miles to decarbonise food production;
  • creates meaningful green jobs and shortens supply chains to boost local economic resilience.


Also, food grown for local consumption avoids early harvesting, chilling and long-distance transport, preserving nutrients for better health and immunity.



Anaerobic digestion is one of nature’s pathways to breaking down organic wastes. We use this approach to turn food waste into bio-energy and liquid fertiliser. After 8-years, we've accelerated the process, tested the by-products and explored circular business models. Our technology now costs less and treats more waste in a smaller footprint to meet urban demands.


Systems will be assembled in our fabrication workshop for rapid deployment. Combining anaerobic digestion with composting, means both food waste and green waste can be processed, producing by-products to support soil-based and hydroponic food growing. Hydroponics is a lightweight method of growing food without soil that uses 10x less water than conventional agriculture.

We will work with established partners and suppliers specialising in composting, hydroponics and food growing to deliver SOURCE as a smart, flexible package that can be adapted to meet site-specific requirements, with planned  future additions such as mushroom cultivation.


We will follow the waste hierarchy, setting waste reduction targets first to ensure only unavoidable food waste is processed. Modular technology means that capacity can be easily increased/decreased, making this localised approach more resilient in the face of waste volume fluctuations to complement large centralised infrastructure. The table below shows payback periods, carbon savings and other benefits for two different-sized SOURCE systems. 



Having prototyped all elements and tested their integration across three Living Labs in London, our next step is to scale up a SOURCE pilot, working with Poplar Harca, public works, London Borough Tower Hamlets and Cultivate London.



Our host site is the Teviot, a social housing estate in East London, currently part of a wider regeneration scheme. A successful demonstration here could mean that smart, circular infrastructure becomes integrated into the new development – a milestone in urban planning.


With your vital support, we will engage the target community, pilot and optimise SOURCE, validate the social and environmental impacts and test the circular business model with input from established academic collaborators:

What We Need

Building our demonstrator will involve 6-months preparation and 12-months operation, with the last 3-months evaluating the pilot.

The table below summarises what we need and where the rest of the money is coming from. We have already secured 38% of this (Match funding column) and have also identified an additional funder willing to help us apply for a further 36% (Fundraising column) so our crowdfunding target to £75,000 (Crowdfunding column).

The total cost, including community/stakeholder engagement, materials, equipment, assembly, installation, lab analysis, operation, evaluation and project management, is £289,450 (Total budget column).

If you'd like to make a donation and/or share the campaign link with your network/family/friends to make it go viral we'd be most grateful! You could even run your own sponsored activity to support this campaign.


The Pilot

What we will assemble and operate:

  • Advanced micro anaerobic digestion system
  • Rapid composting system
  • Resource-efficient hydroponic growing system
  • Raised-bed food production
  • Integrated control and monitoring system

Other outputs include:

  • Engagement and co-design strategy;
  • Site and system designs and drawings;
  • 15 workshops teaching practical green skills;
  • 9 co-design workshops engaging local residents;
  • 3 jobs and 8 training positions;
  • A SOURCE blueprint for replication;
  • Updated business model;
  • Full technical, environmental and economic evaluation.

Benefits over 12-months operation include:

  • 87 tonnes food waste diverted from landfill;
  • 3,249 m2 biogas generated;
  • 79,114 kg food produced;
  • 20.5 tonnes carbon saved.


We have some exciting rewards including:

  • Themed seed starter kits;
  • Online food-growing workshops; and
  • A prize draw for 7-nights accommodation a Malaysian tropical retreat, close to some of the world's most biodiverse treasures on earth with runner up 2-night stays. See orang utans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys and more!


What happens if we don't reach our goal?

We've chosen a flexible campaign so if we don't raise the full amount, we can still deliver elements of the project while we fundraise for the rest. If we raise:

  • 25% - we will design the site, systems and infrastructure, deliver training workshops.
  • 50% - we will engage the community, submit the planning application and develop the food growing infrastructure and local supply chains.
  • 75% - we will assemble and install the waste management systems, integrate waste and food systems, operate and monitor SOURCE.
  • 100% - we will evaluate the pilot, create a replicable blueprint to attract investors and approach identified early adopters to roll the model out.

The above percentages apply to the crowdfunding target plus the projected fundraising target (£75,000 + £105,000 = £180,000).


Piloting SOURCE is the stepping stone to replicating it more widely, giving communities and businesses the tools to reduce waste management, food and energy costs to reach next-level sustainability. 

We've explored the market with universities, parks, local authorities, hospitals, markets, municipal parks, off-grid communities, restaurants, schools and more. Scaling up SOURCE will give investors and potential host sites confidence in the model, just in time for the upcoming 2023 food waste ban to landfill.


International development

The pilot will also pave the way for translating  benefits into developing and middle-income country scenarios to help raise people out of poverty. Generating clean energy from waste will help extend study time, replace firewood to avoid deforestation, and improve indoor air quality.

A percentage of LEAP profits will support work with our partners in Sub Saharan Africa (such as Solar Sister) and South East Asia (Arkitrek and FAB) where we’ve conducted extended feasibility studies on how SOURCE could:

  • Enable cassava cooperatives (80% run by women on low incomes) to manage their wastes, produce low cost fertiliser for their crops and use clean energy for processing, drying and refrigeration;
  • Transform the high volumes of food and plastic wastes produced by disadvantaged communities and generate bioenergy to power plastic recycling.
  • Improve sanitation, turning human waste into valuable agricultural resources, for example in Sub Saharan Africa where one in four people still lack access to adequate sanitation and fertiliser is expensive.


About us

We’re LEAP Micro AD - or MAD LEAP! Passionate about the environment, we combine design, engineering, training and expertise, specialising in small-scale anaerobic digestion (AD), a technology that turns organic wastes into biogas and bio-fertiliser. Our model combines anaerobic digestion and composting for the best combination of outputs.

With London Living Lab prototypes and a fabrication workshop in Wiltshire, we have over 100 years combined experience within the core team. We also have delivery, supply chain and manufacturing partners in place.

Risks & Challenges

Over the last 8-years, we've encountered many challenges.

  • Scaling down equipment means we lose efficiencies of scale;
  • Equipment for some processes doesn't exist at smaller scales;
  • Most of the green incentives for anaerobic digestion have expired, forcing us to look for other ways to make SOURCE economically sustainable.

This led us to:

  • design and fabricate some of our own equipment;
  • become experts in the low-cost approach;
  • form many cross-sector collaborations to find solutions and build networks.

The result?

A robust solution with added social and environmental value with a better economic model, plus more knowledge, determination, skills and connections to make it happen.


Please consider donating to help us establish a SOURCE pilot and take the next step towards a sustainable future...


Other Ways You Can Help

Even if you can’t donate at this time, it would be enormously helpful if you could share this with campaign with your network or any individual/organisation you think might want to support us - the Crowdfunder share tools should make this easy

If you’re a company/individual interested in donating anything we could use as a reward, please get in touch!

If you’d like to offer your time and skills, please contact us, we often have several volunteer/intern opportunities and are looking for people who could help us make links with potential customers/communities/businesses looking for a circular, net-zero food solution.

                      THANK YOU!


Anyone over 18 can enter the prize draw.

Entry to the prize draw is free and included as part of the reward for donations of £1,000 and above. There is no limit to the number of entries per person.

The prize draw is promoted by LEAP Micro AD

Start date: 22.12.21. End date: 21.02.22.

Prizes include:

  • 1st prize: 7 nights’ accommodation only for two people in a Malaysian tropical retreat, close to some of the world's most biodiverse treasures on earth.
  • Runner up prizes:  2x two-night stays for two people.

N.B. Prizes cover accommodation only. Flights, tour charges, subsistence or any other fees or charges are not included.

Each entry into the prize draw is assigned a number in the order in which it is received, whether the entry is made online, by mail, or through another entry method. A Random Number Picker will be used to generate random numbers. The entries that correspond to those numbers are the prize draw’s winners.

An email will be sent to the winning entries with follow up communication to ensure winners have all the information they need including contact details for the host site.

Personal data will be handled according to our Data Protection (GDPR) and Privacy Policies.


This project offered rewards

£15 or more

Themed seed started kit

A themed seed starter kit complete with growing instructions - choose from either Vitality, Sleep or Immunity.

£25 or more

Two themed seed starter kits

A themed seed starter kit complete with growing instructions - choose from either Vitality, Sleep or Immunity - one of you and one for a friend.

£50 or more

Online workshop - become an urban farmer!

A 1.5 hour online workshop teaching you how to become an urban farmer. Choose from learning to grow your own food in small spaces, or exploring the wonders of soil and composting.

£100 or more

Green champion

You’ll support a series of educational workshops helping teach people practical food growing skills, how to reduce food waste and recycle more. You'll also receive a seed starter kit.

£250 or more

3x online workshops + seed starter kit

Three 1.5 hour workshops workshops covering how to grow your own food in small spaces, the wonders of soil and composting, and how you can waste less and save money - plus a seed starter kit.

£500 or more

Zero waste pledge

You’ll be supporting the circular food pilot and we’ll add your name/company logo to our supporter webpage. You'll also have free entry into a prize draw: 1st Prize: 7-nights accommodation for 2 people in a Malaysian tropical retreat, close to some of the world's most biodiverse treasures on earth with 2x runner up 2-night stays for 2 people. See orang utans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys and more.

£1,000 or more

Circular hero/ine

You'll support the operation, monitoring and evaluation of our circular pilot. We’ll add your name/company logo to our supporter webpage. Free prize draw entry: 1st Prize: 7-nights accommodation for 2 in a Malaysian tropical retreat, near some of the world's most biodiverse treasures on earth. See orang utans, sun bears and more...

£2,500 or more

Planet saver

You're helping us deliver the circular pilot and benefitting local people and businesses. We’ll add your name/company logo to our supporter webpage. Free prize draw entry: 1st Prize: 7-nights accommodation for 2 in a Malaysian tropical retreat, near some of the world's most biodiverse treasures on earth. See orang utans, sun bears...

£5,000 or more

Sustainability advocate

You'll help us translate our model for developing and middle-income countries. We’ll add your name/company logo to our supporter webpage. Free prize draw entry: 1st Prize: 7-nights accommodation for 2 in a Malaysian tropical retreat, near some of the world's most biodiverse treasures on earth. See orang utans, sun bears and more...

£10,000 or more

Climate star!

You'll help us get the model out to more communities, businesses, local authorities and universities worldwide. We’ll add your name/company logo to our supporter webpage. Free prize draw entry: 1st Prize: 7-nights accommodation for 2 in a Malaysian tropical retreat, near some of the world's most biodiverse treasures on earth. See orang utans, sun bears...

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