The Crossing Crowdfunder

by Emma Goodwin in Forest Row, East Sussex, England

Family Smallholding challenge the planners: Defending the right to farm for good food & biodiversity not for profit. Value life not money.

by Emma Goodwin in Forest Row, East Sussex, England

We did it
On 9th April 2017 we successfully raised £5,445 with 123 supporters in 49 days

The Crossing Crowdfunder

  • Challenging the planners
  • Defending the right to farm for good food, not for profit
  • Making biodiversity key to farm decisions
  • Defending access to land and affordable housing
  • Valuing Soil, Water & Air over financial gain.

The Goodwin family bought land and are living and working on 8.5 acre Small holding in Forest Row, East Sussex, know as "The Crossing".  We grow affordable food, free from pesticides, supplying locals with fruit, veg and eggs in our Community Supported Agriculture scheme.  Every Tuesday is Tune-in Tuesday offering education, celebration and volunteering opportunities to locals and international visitors.  Our small flock laying hens is run as a co-op,  our sheep and breeding pigs are team members in husbanding the land using Regenerative Agriculture.  Biodiversity and community involvement are key aims on this small farm.

"60% of our invertebrate species are in decline" Sussex Wildlife Trust (this means LIFE is taking a nose dive, people, no pollinators and YOU DON'T EAT)

We applied to the local planning authority for a temporary change of use, from agricultural to residential, whilst we implemented the business plan and got started.   Wealden Council says we are 'causing harm' to the Ashdown Forest and refused.  As we prepared our appeal they issued 4 enforcement notices (therefore pricing us out of the best possible appeal option) stating we must remove all the structures that allow us to do this work, and vacate our own land, effectively shutting down our small business and making us homeless.

We are challenging the decision, and need your help. This legal dispute and challenge to the planning system could help other small holders' access to land and benefit the wider community.  You can learn more about what we're facing and read some documents by watching this 5min short about our story.

This fund is required because an initial planning application (lodged with no professional help) to the Local Council was refused, and enforcement notices issued stating that we should vacate our own land and remove everything from site.  This is despite Wealden council's own agricultural appraisal stating there is a need to dwell on the land to fulfill the aims of our business plan.  If we are to continue the work: to pursue our aims in creating a profitable small holding and a convivial society in a flourishing biosphere, we must challenge the authorities. 

Challenging authority is only possible with professional help.   Our barrister, solicitor and planning consultants all  recognise the possible benefits to the wider community.  If the case is lost,  then costs may be payable and that is why we must create this buffer fund.  All of history's great injustices have required men and women to stand up, and sometimes be shot down, this is how we triumphed over slavery, apartheid and votes for women.  Access to land for start up farmers may seem trivial to some.  Without good soil and people to husband the land holistically, as a nation, we are slowly starved and poisoned.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MONEY IF WE WIN?   After covering costs already incurred, and improving our fencing and polytunnels, we would like to donate any excess to The Ecological Land Co-op.

The Ecological Land Co-op work hard to make available affordable small plots with planning permission for smallholders (recently featured on R4's The Food Programme.)   We are currently receiving funding from The Plunkett Foundation to help us become a Community Interest Company, and open up more opportunities for co-operation in the community.

"70 of the World's food is produced by small farmers" source www.grain.org

Our actions are born out of a keen desire to see all life thrive and recognise our place in husbanding the land for good food whilst providing 'ecosystem services': cleaning water, clean air, building deep dark indestructable soils. We grow foods free from pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics, whilst enhancing and protecting the web of life, and attempting to dispell the fears.   Human habitation and interaction can benefit wildlife, there's an estimated 47% increase in biodiversity and wildlife habitat since our work at The Crossing began. 

The Goodwin Family moved onto the land in September 2014 to start work.  Some people support this action and others see it as wrong doing.  Although our actions are in no way illegal, and cause no harm, loss or injury to any man; how we are being dealt with will depend on individual perspectives.  Wealden Council have treated this project unjustly and neglected to acknowledge the wider benefits to the biosphere

How this project is perceived will depend on whether or not the 'dead-end' nature of Industrial Agriculture is recognised and if resiliant and abundant food growing systems are made obvious.  It is our opinion that resilient food growing systems are made possible using Restoration Agriculture , Regenerative Agriculture, Permaculture and Agroecology.  It is our opinion that industrial agro-chemical farming contributes to the destruction soil, can pollute water ways, and produces food that is deficient in minerals and vitamins.  Industrial scale factory farming is inhumane to farm animals and damages the land and human health with toxic residues. 

NFU (National Farmer's Union) reports: "We have less than 100 harvests left" (if we continue to mistreat the soil, upon which our lives depend, with industrial agrochemical practices)

So how do we find another way if we are barred access to land?

We are bringing attention to the small army of people who are ready and willing to commit to a life of small scale, low impact farming, to work co-operatively to produce food for their communities and work towards food sovereignty for the UK post Brexit, but who have no access to land.  

We also aim to highlight the woeful lack of affordable housing in rural areas, and provision for agricultural workers.  In post Brexit Britain it will be wise to aim for a higher percentage of our food to be home grown.

"More Farmers = Better Food" The Landworkers Alliance  working hard to lobby for small farms

Current "One Planet" planning policy in Wales encourages small scale agriculture.  Planning policy in the South East, although full of reference to biodiversity, climate change and green house gas emmissions is failing to recognise and make provision for the small scale farms that have the potential to bring solutions to these pressing issues.

The Crossing  is illustrating and promoting the C.S.A. model.   In our Community Supported Agriculture scheme,  members share the risks and rewards of small scale agriculture, paying for a weekly share of the harvest. 

If our campaign has done nothing else but open people's eyes to the possibilities of regenerative agriculture,  dispell the fears surrounding depletion of our environment and improve our health, then we will have succeeded in sowing the seeds of a brighter future.

Rob Hopkins from Transition writes: "The creation of local food systems, the relearning of skills, and the provision of healthy organic food are central to a resilient culture. The Crossing is a great project, a brave enterprise, and it deserves your support.  Please help it to flourish, to thrive, to grow.  It tells of tale of how the future could be that we need now, more than ever". 

for your entertainment and to make ourselves feel a bit better... "The REGULATORS"

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

4 of 100 claimed

£5 Reward

"Simply The Best" over 300 pages of success stories and recipes from the worlds leading Raw Food Chefs with beautifully illustrated recipes: to help us all to detox daily. PDF E-book will be sent to you by email.

£10 or more

7 of 100 claimed

£10 Reward

"Simply The Best" PLUS "Toxic World, Toxic People" why we need to detox daily. How do you take control of your life, your happiness and your health when you dont know where to begin? Anna Rogers shares with you her own personal experience, from a life with many health and mental well being setbacks from severe depression, suicidal episodes and chronic fatigue. Read how she bounced back. Ebooks will be sent to your inbox.

£15 or more

9 of 50 claimed

£15 Reward

"Simply The Best" PLUS "Toxic World" PLUS Have a tree planted in the UK by EFORESTS.CO.UK in one of their many UK woodlands. Personalise your e-certificate with details of where your tree is planted and you can have the tree dedicated to yourself, friends or family. Help Mama Gaia to detox by planting a tree. Ebooks will be sent to your inbox, a code sent for you to order your tree.

£20 or more

£20 Reward

6 hour online Paleo Coaching lectures and cookery demonstrations from Grandma Alchemy's Kitchen. "How to's" and "why?" about: The Stock Pot. Good Fats-Bad Fats. Green Smoothies. Paleo Pizza, Muffins & Granola. Sauerkraut. Yogurt. Kefir. Information for transformation using food as medicine. 'Really good, useful information about the core principles of eating right" Avalana Levemark. The course link will be sent to your inbox. "re

£30 or more

6 of 15 claimed

£30 Reward

Temazcal Sweatlodge with Eleanor Sara Cihuaoctoquiani considered sacred as all four elements are brought together by a special alchemy. In a bent hazel shelter, Stones are transformed by fire, fed with water, which transforms into steam, that fills the air with the medicine of herbs and healing plants. In the Temazcal you go into the belly of Mother Earth and work to cleanse and be reborn.

£50 or more

6 of 100 claimed

£50 Reward

Come to The Crossing: Tour and Talks (filmed and available online) Home made Biochar in no-dig growing systems. Regenerative Agriculture, Permaculture & Biodynamics in a nutshell. How to: measure mineral content in veg, make biofertilisers and deal with weeds. Dates June/July/ Sept 2017. Bring and share lunch, we'll serve soup. Will be filmed and available online if you're unable to attend. Well worth the money

£100 or more

10 of 30 claimed

£100 Reward

Buy a share in The Crossing CIC, you will be invited to seasonal gatherings and celebrations and be welcome to visit your farm every tuesday to see 'how the garden grows' and check out how the animals are doing. Shares will be non-voting, you're offering equity to be involved with a grassroots movement to regenerate the land.

£120 or more

3 of 12 claimed

£120 Reward

Amazing opportunity: Introduction to Permaculture Weekend: Tools that give you the keys to Permaculture Design 'thinking' with Sunrise Permaculture teacher Chloe Anthony (Brighton Permaculture Trust). Apply to your home, business, community and the land. Read more at http://www.sunrisepermaculture.org.uk/portfolio/introduction-to-permaculture/ 20th-21st May 2017, at Hoathly Hill, West Sussex, including tour of The Crossing

£250 or more

1 of 6 claimed

£250 Reward

Paleo Coaching One Day Workshop in your own venue. Cookery demonstration. Principles of paleo food preparation. 10am - 3pm with Emma Goodwin. Stories of my own paradigm shifts. We'll talk about your current buying habits and how to restock the kitchen with nutrient dense foods. Invite your friends! Information and motivation for transformation using food as medicine. Some say there is no disease, only deficiency.

£500 or more

1 of 4 claimed

£500 Reward

Stay at The Crossing for a week over the summer, receive tuition in land husbandry, harvest your own greens and veg from the veg plot, gather your own eggs for breakfast. Feed the animals and check out the systems in place when running a small holding. Camp in our yurt, or bring your own tents/campervan.

£1,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£1,000 Reward

Your name carved and gilded on a sign above the door to our 7m propagating polytunnel, where life begins, where seeds are sown. You'll be thanked and blessed as each person crosses the threshold. Guaranteed. It'll be house rules. Feel the love?

£2,500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£2,500 Reward

Your name carved and gilded on an oak sign above the door to our 20m polytunnel, extending the season with life giving greens. You'll be thanked and blessed as each person crosses the threshold. Guaranteed. It'll be house rules. Can you feel the love?

£5,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£5,000 Reward

If you have £5K to offer to the cause, we're guessing the only reward you'll need is the satisfaction of knowing you're doing a good thing... but you could pretty much ask for anything and you'd get it! what do you need?

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