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Riverside Market Garden looking for £10,000 from ethical investors 01.06.10

Clearing the site

Riverside Market Garden is a new ethical model for sustainable local food production. This new 10 acre market garden is being created close to Cardiff to make more fresh food available to the local community. To develop the project the project is looking for start up funds of £10,000. Initial investment starts from as low as £50.

The enterprise model

Riverside Market Garden’s business plan shows that within five years the Market Garden will become a self financing community-owned business. It will have a turnover of around £170,000, and produce a modest profit.

The site will produce a wide range of organic vegetables, with a focus on higher value crops such as salads, and some fruit. Some of this produce will be processed into soups, sauces or other products. The polytunnels will allow us to extend the growing season and also to produce Asian and Caribbean vegetables that meet the needs of Cardiff’s diverse ethnic communities.

Linked to the growing, Riverside Market Garden will also offer training and care placements, with educational visits for schools and colleges, and fun days out for community supporters.

The social enterprise will employ one full time and two part time growers plus educational/training staff, and will collaborate with other local food producers on marketing and delivery.

Most of the produce will be sold at farmers’ markets or as ’veg boxes’ direct to local consumers, whilst some higher value salads will also be sold to local restaurants.

The key objectives are

- produce enough vegetables to feed about 200 families year-round (with additional bought-in local produce if required), plus sell prime fresh salads and herbs to local restaurants

- grow a diverse range of produce including heritage varieties and vegetables that meet the needs of Cardiff’s diverse ethnic communities

- create at least five new jobs 

- generate and re-circulate over £150,000 each year into the local economy

- aim to involve at least 100 families as shareholders and customers, and host regular events at the market garden site

- run annual horticultural training programmes at the market garden linked to college qualifications, and invite local schools to visit

- develop collaborative networks with other local producers

- offer our experience and skills in local food growing and marketing to other communities across Wales

- convert and manage under organic systems at least 10 acres of former pasture at the market garden site, restore and maintain 300 metres of native hedgerow, establish open water areas with willow coppice, and create ’bug banks’ to nurture biodiversity

- aim to generate our own energy and water supply

- generate soil fertility through the use of ’green manure’ fallow crops, so avoiding the need for imported materials

- use re-usable packaging and compost waste materials on site

The key financial / business plan

£30,000 of capital investment, in three stages, is needed to help establish this project. We can now offer you the opportunity to buy a share in this exciting new initiative.

Investment of £10,000 is required in the first stage, to:

- establish protected cropping areas (our first polytunnel)

- plant windbreaks and orchards

- ground preparation to improve soil fertility 

- buy tools for cultivation and weeding 

- create access tracks, gates and a parking area

- apply for organic certification

Riverside Market Garden aim to raise the first £10,000 by the end of September 2010, from individual and community investment. Staff and other revenue costs will be met from grants that have already been secured and from income generated by sales of produce.

The Riverside Market Garden business plan, which has been prepared by experts in horticultural enterprise and local food marketing, indicates that the Market Garden will become self-financing within 4 years. A second stage of investment to raise another £20,000 is targeted for the winter of 2010/11.

More details of the scheme are available on the Riverside Market Garden website

Warning: Do remember, particularly if you are new to investment that the prices of shares and other investments can fall sharply. You may not get back the money you originally invested. The material here is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon for individual investment decisions. Take independent advice before making such decisions.

Peter Shield

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