Big projects underway

Big projects are underway around here. Things we couldn’t have predicted we’d be doing in just year two of making Soul Farm a full time gig. This past year we’ve clarified our vision around agroecology, community and solidarity. We’ve tried new things, sometimes because we were pushed to try them. And we’ve met people who want to see what we’re doing go further. That includes the people behind LEAP, a project of the Real Farming Trust that has given us a game changing grant and loan that have enabled us to do so much more this year than we would have otherwise.

On the ground, we’re currently building a polytunnel and getting planning for two more. Just this weekend we’ve put together a walk-in cooler which hugely opens up what we’re able to do. Just needs a lick of paint. We’re upgrading our irrigation systems, building a washer and spinner for our greens and kitting out a pack station for your freshly harvested veg. So, busy, busy.

But ultimately, what all these activities mean is that we’ll be able to work more efficiently with and take better care of the land, plants and people we partner with. And that allows us to look after our capacity to feed the community and to steward the soil.

The focus of the funding is community. So it’s enabling us to research, strategize and implement the solidarity veg box scheme. A lot is going into making sure that we are communicating with our solidarity members and the people who connect us with them. We want to make sure we are growing and delivering food that actually meets the needs of our community. 

We’ve realised this year that not only do we benefit hugely from the work of volunteers but that sharing this space with us and working with the land alongside us means a lot to them too. So we want to keep developing this aspect of our work and making sure that we’re supporting people who join us on the farm. 

LEAP is helping us to get a head start on improving our facilities and adding to our tools for volunteers. There are also quite a few “behind the scenes” admin bits and pieces that could have easily dropped off the list but really shouldn’t so we’re grateful that we’re able to attend to them with this funding. This is about not just doing things but doing them well – and doing them safely. It’s about taking the time to really think about the culture we’re creating as well as what we’re practically doing.

The Real Farming Trust developed LEAP with funding from Power to Change, the independent trust that supports community businesses in England. The capital for LEAP loans is provided by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The A Team Foundation, CIVA and a donation from Jam Today. Their grants are provided by The Halleria Trust. All in all, it’s a lot of organisations coming together to enable projects like ours to really get good things going.

 

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