In 2014 I set about trying to turn a neglected seven acre site in Hampshire into a community food enterprise.
It was a lot of work that took up many hours of my free time and relied on other people’s free time too.
I think I did a lot of things right – engaged lots of local organisations in the vision, succeeded in finding and securing pots of funding, got a business plan together and worked with others to create decent planting plans.
However, there are definitely a few things that, if I had the chance to go back and start again, I would do differently. This is the reason I have produced a report for the Just Growth programme, managed by Funding Enlightened Agriculture.
The report outlines why I couldn’t stand by and watch the land continue to be neglected; what I planned to do with it; how, with the help of others, I managed to start producing food on the land 10 years after it last produced anything; why, in the end, the project became too much as a result of the unrealistic demands placed on us by the landowner.
I also include some recommendations for people out there who might be embarking on a similar project, including choosing your funding wisely, and the importance of a having a robust land agreement in place.
You can download the full report here. Please let me know if you find it useful.
Do you have experience of setting up a similar project? It would be great to hear if you have any recommendations that are missing from my list.
Are you about to start a similar project? Get in touch to receive support in getting started.