As one of the first community supported farms in the UK, Stroud Community Agriculture, (SCA), provides a link between people and farming in Stroud. We aim to pioneer a new economic model based on mutual benefit and shared risk in the process of farming organically, using biodynamic principles. We aim to manage the farm in a way that is sensitive to the environment, wildlife and ecological system that the farm is part of. We also aim to pay the farmers properly and continually improve working conditions.
In all our projects (potentially with the help of additional funding from M & S Community Energy) we are looking to move to sustainable 'off-grid' power sources (including solar and wind). With this in mind we want to fund:
1. Better irrigation systems to save crops and farmers! Overhead irrigation (powered by solar energy) in the poly tunnels and field-wide irrigation is a priority for the summers ahead.
2. A new tool shed and repair facility. This will enable us to store our tools and equipment safely.
3. Purchase a two-wheel tractor. This will allow shallow, more precise and less aggressive cultivation of the soil while reducing labour inputs.
4. Improved composting. We aim to revolutionise our composting process to develop growing medium for the polytunnels and improve soil health. We will do this by building three large bays near to the polytunnels and use the compost to improve the quality of our veg.
5. A new office / kitchen space for farm workers. This will include hand-washing and a warm, dry space for farmers to shelter in to eat their lunch and plan the operation of the farm. Powered by solar panels.
6. More mentoring and training. Our workers have identified essential training and mentoring needs. We want our farm workers to be equipped to produce even better vegetables and provide care for the animals.
7. Install solar panels, wind turbine and storage battery to power the new office, chiller, barn and an Electric Van charger.
8. Rainwater harvesting. We want to begin to reduce our dependence on the grid and use water collected from the barn roof to irrigate the polytunnels. This will result in improved quality of veg and lower water bills.
9. Improve bursaries. We already have a bursary scheme. In the current cost of living crisis we want to extend the bursary scheme to include more people on low or no pay.