Crowdfunding is over. A massive thank you to everyone who supported us - we managed to raise £21,655!
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.
Please have a look at our crowdfunding page and support us!
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.
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.
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.
"At a time when the pound is weakening and the UK is considering exiting trade agreements with the countries that supply us with food to eat, there are strong economic arguments for supporting local food producers like Steve. We do."
Rich Osborn of fresh-range
"We have been using The Severn Project for well over a year now, and we believe the quality and freshness is unbeatable, and the frontline staff have been a joy. We're very happy to support them!"
Royce Rolls St Nicholas Markets
"Local luscious leaves freshly picked and delivered every day to our family run café, we love them, our customers love them, even my mum comments on how top the quality is!"
Ronak Gloucester Road
"A totally inspiring project that has fought its way to prove there is a demand for good food grown locally by great people. Empowerment on a personal, community & environmental win, win, win - which in the old days they used to call common sense"
Jez Le Fèvre Transition Bristol
"We've been working with The Severn Project for over a year and love the full range of quality herbs and greens they supply. For us it's refreshing to work with a local grower that offers great quality and consistency on a year round basis"
Chi Wholefoods St Philips
"The Severn Project is an incredible social enterprise that ticks all the ethical boxes that we believe in - we love the delicious leaves too"
Boca Bar Paintworks Bristol
"We have been working with The Severn Project for three years now and have been very impressed with the quality of the produce and ethos of the project"
Café Kino Stokes Croft
"We have been buying top quality produce from the Severn project for nearly 7 years. They can always be relied upon to provide fantastic service with the personal touch as well as really high quality ingredients that help keep our restaurants sustainable and seasonal."
No 1 Harbourside Harbourside
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.
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.
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!!
Please have a look on our crowdfunding page and donate to help us reach our goal!
To view our accounts please click here
If you've won our reward "Free salad every week for a year! Order our salad each week on fresh-range.com and you won’t pay a penny for our 100g mixed leaf salad"
Please see below for Terms
This offer applies for customers living in Bristol, Bath and immediate surrounds only. See here for where we can deliver to. Customers need to register and order the salad each week at www.fresh-range.com. For each order a minimum spend of £20 and a small delivery charge applies. A discount will be applied to each of your shops that means when you order our 100g mixed leaf salad bag you receive it for free. You can order up to 52 times in a year and the offer expires on 31st October 2017.