Broadclyst Community Farm
NOTE: this plan is presently being revised, a more up-to-date version may be available elsewhere!
This is an opportunity to get involved in a community-run farm. We want to:
- supply locally-produced food to the community of Broadclyst
- use sustainable methods that will be beneficial to the land and produce good food
- Enable members of the community to help grow their own food by providing:
- Shared expertise
- Co-operative work
- Facilitate the exchange of expertise within the community, including schools and colleges, through training, participation and observation of the farm and its ecology.
- Develop community cohesion through co-operative activity, community social events and through being a good neighbour.
- Improve community health by providing opportunity for good food, recreation and work.
This is not an invitation to invest money but there will be an opportunity to buy shares in due course. We are inviting you to volunteer your time, knowing that your efforts are creating a long-term asset for the community. To register your interest and get involved please contact us via this site.
Broadclyst Community Farm aims to be a financially and environmentally sustainable farm providing food and education to Farm Members and local parishes. The Farm will re-establish the environmental and agricultural heritage of the land through the support of the community.
The National Trust has offered the Farm 32 acres of arable land to rent. The land is adjacent to Clystvale Community College at Broadclyst and will be provided with access, parking, a stock-proof boundary fence and 7 acres of pasture. The Farm intends to take a lease on the land from Jan 2011, start selling vegetables and eggs from Jul 2011 and to include other livestock when a sufficiently experienced livestock group is formed. The NT will permit access to the farm before Jan 2011 to enable preparatory work to be done.
Our intent is to maintain the natural farming cycle through a balance of crop and stock rotation, working with the seasons to produce a steady supply of local food.
- Start Small - only one 7 acre field will be used for vegetable production initially.
The remaining 25 acres will be sown with grass and clover for pasture and to improve the land. Vegetable sales will begin in summer 2011 along with eggs. Livestock will be introduced when the Farm considers that there are sufficient competent volunteers to ensure that high standards of welfare can be maintained. The breeds that are likely to be adopted are: Dexter Cattle, Wiltshire Horn Sheep, Oxford Sandy Black Pigs.
Keeping Food Local. The Farm will provide an alternative to some super market foods and will provide opportunities for partnering with local enterprises while developing markets within the community. Keeping it local will reduce road miles, packaging and your carbon footprint. Sometimes it will be necessary to buy in food to make up vegetable supplies but any buying will also be local where possible.
Running the Farm. The farm will be supported by the community and will employ an experienced grower for vegetable growing and day-to-day management. Livestock will be managed by experienced livestock volunteers. The community will be involved in planning and long-term decision making as every investor will have one vote. Our Farm will always be a good neighbour, will become visually attractive and will seek to be harmonious. It will not revert to monoculture or use intensive farming methods.
- A variety of small scale growing systems (some of which will be trialled).
- Heritage and environment friendly methods.
- Methods that favour bio-diversity.
- Non-intensive livestock farming with Heritage Species.
Infrastructure and Environment
The plan is for the 32 acres to be developed over the next 5 years as a single, coherent farm. The existing 32 acres of monoculture will be replaced with the 18th Century system of 10 fields, hedgerows and areas of orchard and woodland.
Exclusions. Our Farm excludes Heathfield Farmhouse (private residence) and the allotments.
The following development is planned in the first year:
- A stock proof boundary fence.
- New vehicle access, at the farthest point from the school.
- Polytunnels and a greenhouse, behind the barn.
- A borehole to provide our own supply of water.
- A small portakabin office for the grower.
- A chicken house (a conversion of part of the existing cow shed?)
Planting. The Farm will initially be dependent on the sale of vegetables and eggs; in addition 20 acres will be sown with grass / clover for future grazing and land improvement and a 5 year tree and hedge planting programme will be begun. Soft fruits and fruit trees will be planted early on but will not provide significant quantities of fruit until they mature.
Compost. Our Farm will manage its own compost on site and will import manure for land improvement. At present it is not feasible to set up a community composting project due to infrastructure, financial and planning constraints.
Sustainability. The Farm will adopt organic practices where possible and will regularly assess the feasibility of achieving recognition by the Soil Association, DEMETER and Freedom Foods. The Farm will pursue sustainable farming practises in all areas.
Wildlife. The Farm aims to re-instate wildlife habitats and corridors with hedgerows, wooded areas and some specific habitats such as ponds. We aim to re-instate the wildlife habitats that have been lost due to modern farming methods - helping nature to help us. We are keen to support hedgerow birds, beneficial insects and are looking forward to establishing bee keeping on the farm.
Finance. The Farm will not generate a surplus until year 3 of operation. To meet the shortfalls until then, to support capital investment in the Farm and to provide a contingency for things going wrong, a total of £90,000 will have to be raised by the sale of shares and a further £30,000 from grants and sponsorship. If this amount of money is not raised, the Farm Board will consider a reduced option with greater reliance volunteer labour and a consequent increase in risk. A summary of the financial projections will be available on the web-site and more detailed figures can be viewed by arrangement.
Risks. All identified risks have been assessed and mitigation plans have been developed. As with all farms, Broadclyst Community Farm will be subject to risks outside its control such as bad weather, disease and market forces. As a community project the Farm is subject to particular risks including how much volunteer support is available and cash flow. The most significant risk is borehole failure. Economic vegetable growing will be dependent on the installation of a borehole for water supply. If the borehole fails then significant additional costs would be incurred by using mains water for irrigation and by reinstating the borehole. All risks that have been identified have been assessed and mitigation plans have been developed.
Governance. Broadclyst Community Farm will be an Industrial Provident Society with Benefit for the Community. It is a not-for-profit community enterprise. £20 shares will be issued and every share holder will be a member with one vote. The Farm will be managed by a Management Board. Members of that board can be appointed or dismissed by Farm Members (shareholders) at Annual General Meetings or Special General Meetings. Members will be provided with copies of annual audited accounts within three months of the year end and prior to the AGM.
Shares. Members can own between 1 and 1,000 shares. Shares can be withdrawn at 18 months notice, but in exceptional circumstances withdrawals can be suspended and the value of shares can be reduced. Purchase of shares should be regarded as a social investment, not a financial investment.
Insurance. The Farm will maintain comprehensive insurance cover including fidelity, officer liability and employee insurance.
Asset Lock. The Farm will have an asset lock. This prevents current and future members selling Farm assets for their own benefit. In the event of the Farm winding up, any assets remaining after the payment of debts and shares will be transferred to another asset locked organisation with similar aims and objectives subject to the approval of the Financial Services Authority.
Status. Whilst not a charity, the Farm will pursue some aims of a charitable nature such as promoting education and environmental improvement and may, when surpluses are generated, set up and support a local charity specifically to promote such issues.
Broadclyst Village Interests. The interests of Broadclyst Village are protected by the objects of Broadclyst Community Farm which cannot be changed in any way that goes against the intentions of the founders.