Hi, I'm Steve Glover the founder of the award winning Severn Project CIC. Since 2010, together with my team, we have been creating social outcomes through urban farming in Bristol. In that time we have produced over 200 tons of salad and herbs for the people of the South West using organic principles. Throughout, we have been supporting people from challenging backgrounds using education, training and employment - we currently employ 10. In 2015 we won Best Local Grower (Bristol) and are on a shortlist of 3 this year. Not bad for someone who hadn’t grown a thing before 2010.
I started the project with a grant of £2,500. Since then I have built 3 urban farms, in Keynsham, Templemeads and Whitchurch. In 2015 we dismantled two of them to concentrate on the Whitchurch site. In January of 2016 I won funding from the Big Venture Challenge and also secured a mortgage from the Esmée Fairburn Foundation to allow the Severn Project to purchase 7.3 acres of land in Holt, Wiltshire.
Like many good things the Severn Project is constantly evolving and developing. However using temporary spaces for growing food and the cycle of building and dismantling urban farms is both time consuming and costly. This new site in Holt (Wiltshire) means that we can for the first time begin to put down roots with a degree of certainty; giving us the opportunity to supply an larger number of people with our nutrient dense locally grown produce and to continue to create employment – this time in the rural landscape where unemployment rates are just as high as in the cities.
WHY ARE WE CROWD FUNDING?
We will be growing food in Holt (Wilts) from March 2017. In the past we have built our infrastructure as we go; this time we want to start with a fully functioning system which means we can predict our performances and productivity and recruit employees with confidence from the start date. We will move all our leaf production to Holt where we expect to grow around 1.5 tons of produce per week.
Moving leaf production to Holt means that in Whitchurch we can concentrate on expanding our herb production. We need to grow around 15 tons per year of parsley, coriander, mint, dill, edible flowers and peashoots to keep up with customer demand.
WHAT DO WE NEED?
This is our first crowdfunding campaign and donations will allow us to develop the infrastructure on this land to enable us to start growing at full production in spring 2017. We need a water reservoir and irrigation system, an electricity connection, an agricultural building, a road and car park, fencing, a tractor and some machinery. We have set our target at £20,000 with a stretch target of £50,000.
WHY SUPPORT OUR PROJECT?
If you are interested in local food production at scale this should interest you. Our extremely simple model of local food production invites the community to integrate with the whole business of food production from field to plate, stimulating the local economy through both sales and employment.
We have established that it’s possible to grow a large amount of food on a relatively small piece of land - our 2015-16 accounts show an agricultural income of over £200,000 from approximately 2.5 acres of land. We also employ 10 people, many of whom are from challenging backgrounds. We want to bring this model to the rural environment where unemployment rates are just as high as they are in the cities.
Overall, our mission is to make market gardening viable and visible. We need to move away from imported poor quality produce, away from processed food and begin to establish sustainable models of nourishment and employment throughout the country.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
As soon as we reach our target and the funds are transferred we will begin working on the site. We have already drilled for (and found) water, we will begin fencing in December, the road and carpark will be put in in the New Year and then we will begin building. Growing will start at the end of April, and with your help, people will be eating our produce from the new site in May 2017!!
We have worked really hard to get the rewards to reflect our position and role within the community and to try to include ways of encouraging our supporters to engage with our customers as much as possible.
We have used Birch and Old Market Assembly as "dinner for two" but we do supply a lot of other restaurants in Bristol but these two kindly offered their help. If you run a restaurant or cafe and if you want to offer a reward please get in touch with us. UPDATE: salt cafe Bristol have just offered a luch for two! and Zero Zero in Easton Bristol have also offered 2 12" pizzas.
We have also offered vouchers to spend in a few wholefood shops - Chi Wholefoods, Earthbound and Earthfare in Glastonbury - again we do supply other great wholefood shops and if you run one of these and want to offer a reward, please get in touch.
We are also using Fresh Range to deliver our leaf to people who select those particular rewards, a great business that supports the essence of what local food is all about.
Please have a look on our website crowdfunding page where you can find more video clips, biography, blogs, and our accounts from the last few years.
Welcoming Dave Back into the Community
Meet The Staff!
Short Chain Food Supply Systems