Forming a Vibrant Society
With over 208 members and more than half engaging with our first AGM, we are developing a vibrant Society. Seventy percent of our members live in Essex, so we feel truly embedded in our locality.
A Successful Start-Up
There is now one acre of Demeter certified biodynamic vegetables growing, including a large new poly-tunnel, which supplies thirty bags per week plus local farm shops and a local market. This required capital investment in the tunnel, irrigation, machinery, hand tools, crop fleeces and covers.
Staff & Accommodation
Andre and Monique Kleinjans joined Lauriston Farm in August 2017 with over sixty years combined experience in biodynamics. They live on the farm in a rented bungalow and have set up the new vegetable enterprise as well as maintaining the farm infrastructure, the cattle and creating community.
In addition, the wages for the Farm Director, the part time administrator, farm staff and social farming development were covered during start-up.
The vegetables and markets are bringing many more customers to the farm who are in turn buying more beef and lamb. We have seen a steady increase in sales since we started in May 2018.
A fully equipped office space has been created for three workers together with the safe storage for data and medicines.
All the regulatory requirements are in place for hosting adults with learning disabilities. We have hosted Thriftwood College and CoCoCare and have a handful of co-workers coming every week to work alongside our staff.
We have secured a three year contract with Essex County Council as a provider of day services. Each day placement utilises the infrastructure we have created and the associated activity developed.
Volunteer, Lois Gardner runs a weekly social farming wool workshop producing goods for sale from the sheep’s wool. Products include bags, decorations and mobile phone and tablet cases. We are creating a permanent craft room with looms, wheels and drum carders.
Food Quality Kitchen
Built over Spring and inspected in August 2018, this compact kitchen enables lunches to be provided, workshops to run and the production of cooked goods for sale.
We are very grateful to our members and the following organisations who have funded us:
Essex County Council
Esmee Fairburn Foundation
Essex Association of Local Authorities
Co-Operative and Community Finance
Community Benefit Society with charitable objectives
Registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Incorporated 1st February 2017