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News from The Farm: June

News from The Farm: June

As with every year, 2018-19 has brought many challenges to The Farm, and a lot to be thankful for too. Our Managing Director, Ped Asgarian, gives his overview of the past 12 months...

The hot, dry spring and summer could have posed more problems for our growing operation as it did for many parts of the country. However, work had begun on a long overdue overhaul of our irrigation system, which was thankfully completed just as the drought really kicked in. This, coupled with funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for two seasonal workers, and the continual efforts and improvements of our Field Team, ensured we finished with our most productive year to date on the field.

One of the biggest challenges we face at The farm is our tight cashflow and limited funds (although we are slowly working towards improving this). This poses two main problems; managing a seasonal business that requires large variations in cashflow, and having capital to invest in much needed improvements on The Farm.

The former is always an issue that needs careful managing, but one that does get easier year-on-year. Sales in our box scheme increased by 15% on the previous year, with the majority of this growth occurring during the second half of the year. We also achieved record sales from December through to the end of March, ensuring we started the 2019-20 year in the best position we've been in to date. Our Warehouse Team, drivers and customer services, work hard to provide consistent quality and care, and it's paying off, as more people are signing-up to our box scheme, and we're retaining existing customers too.

We addressed capital this year with spectacular success through our Crowdfunder and, more recently, our £38,300 National Lottery win, which will enable us to build a community garden at The Farm. Thank you to all the generous people who donated or voted for us during these appeals, and for the hard work and efforts of our staff in identifying, applying for, and obtaining grants. Collectively these pockets of funding are vital, and ensure we'll be able to improve and upgrade old equipment and vehicles which will positively impact our growing and warehouse operations. We'll also be significantly investing in our Get on Our Land programme which will enable access to The Farm for even more of our community.

Last year we saw an increase in the number of people, organisations and third sector groups on The Farm. We continue to grow the scope of our social vision and have been so pleased by the success of Ecowild's mindfulness and wellbeing courses, and the launch of our own gardening for wellbeing course, Grow and Make which is now in its third series.

I may have said it before, and more often than not it's true, but this year once again fills me with excitement as The Farm continues to build on the foundations and achievements of previous years. I believe 2019-20 is going to be a great year, and I would like to thank you all for your continued support.

I hope to see you at one of our Community Farmer Days this summer!

Ped Asgarian
Managing Director


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