New community farm to bloom in Norwich after £25,000 crowdfunder

The successful FarmShare venture next to Postwick Park & Ride. Volunteer Joey Kuna prepares the sala

The successful FarmShare venture next to Postwick Park & Ride. Volunteer Joey Kuna prepares the salad into trays ready to be split between the members. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A £25,000 crowdfunder to establish a new community farming site in Mile Cross has hit its target after boosts from Santander and Norwich City Council.

Norwich FarmShare members and volunteers. Picture: Matt Hall.

Norwich FarmShare members and volunteers. Picture: Matt Hall. - Credit: Matt Hall

Norwich FarmShare's crowdfunder closed at midnight on December 11 and has exceeded its £25,000 target with 150 people donating an average of £54 and two major pledges from Santander (£12,500) and Norwich Council (£5,000). This money will help the group set up a new community growing site at Valpy Avenue allotments.

The group, which was forced to leave its original Postwick site last year, plans to develop a programme of educational and community engagement work as well as growing vegetables. The group also has plans for a second, larger site at Whitlingham Nurseries which will provide extra growing capacity and training opportunities in the longer term.

'Farmshare is all about producing food with the environment and local community at its heart, and connecting people with the land,' says local artist Rob Barnes, who has donated a signed limited edition linocut to the campaign. 'I also like the educational outreach ethos, especially teaching children where their food really comes from.'

Cllr David Fullman, Lord Mayor of Norwich has also supported the campaign with a unique opportunity for a group to have tea in the parlour with him followed by a tour of historic City Hall. 'I support Norwich Farmshare because it is realistic and sustainable', says David. 'It brings benefits to the minds, bodies and spirits of the members in so many ways. It provides productive, focused social activity that is good for everyone involved.'

'We're very pleased to have raised more than £25,000 through our crowdfunder, and our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who pledged or helped promote the campaign,' said Olivia Hanks, one of Farmshare's volunteer board members. 'FarmShare has great potential to improve lives, whether it's through eating more healthily, learning new skills, spending time outdoors or just being part of a big-hearted community. Achieving our funding target means we will be able to reach many more people.'

The idea for the project emerged in 2008 when a group of 50 met to discuss the failings of the food system in Norwich, and Norwich FarmShare was launched two years later.

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