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Bid to save farm

PUBLISHED: 15:04 14 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:05 14 August 2015

Joanne Madhur, of Oak Tree Farm, with a veg box

Joanne Madhur, of Oak Tree Farm, with a veg box


Pioneering project started by CS writer is under threat

A pioneering low-carbon vegetable and livestock farm has started a crowdfunding campaign to stave off closure.

The farm in Suffolk, which feeds around 70 households in a community-supported agriculture model, was launched by CS writer Joanne Mudhar.

The not-for-profit social enterprise is based on just under 5ha near Ipswich. It faced closure when its only major donor unexpectedly withdrew support.

It aims to raise £27,000 to continue in business, but hopes for another £10,00 to make it financially self-sustaining. At the end of the appeal’s first week, pledges reached £10,000. It runs for two months and offers a range of ‘perks’. Pledges will be repaid should the lower target not be met.

Joanne said: “Ours is not the agriculture that our policy-makers want to see. Their message is get big or get out. They tell us to use GM, energy-intensive fertilisers and dangerous pesticides.

“There are also countless petty rules and regulations that are particularly onerous for small farms like ours but work fine with the economies of scale of bigger ones. This makes it virtually impossible for farms like ours to survive. It doesn’t have to be this way – a supportive Government could help productive little farms like ours to thrive.”

Currently, households (members) pay £8.50 a week for a ‘share’ of produce in the form of a vegetable box that Joanne says would cost £15-£20 in a supermarket. Members must work for two hours a week on the farm during summer. The farm’s three growers are working on for very low pay during the crisis.



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