WOW! We just raised over £100k to create a new Ecological Farm for Bath!
What a whirlwind journey we've all been on over the last few months and years. Many parts of our evolving vision and design are beginning to culminate and be implemented, thanks to a hugely successful crowdfunder campaign of community support. I wanted to write a short piece to share some reflections and gratitude from this time, and some tips for anyone inspired to do something similar - that is after all a key aim of ours!
It's still sinking in that we have raised over £100,000 in 10 weeks with 545 supporters and thousands of followers. I am feeling overwhelmingly grateful, hopeful and driven with a sense of deep purpose and responsibility to implement this vision with love and diligence. Beyond the incredible financial enabling this has provided, we have created and widened our community, spread the word about ecological farming, and inspired many other projects. For me, this has been the real beauty of community fund raising - the outreach, communications, collaborations and manifesting potential beyond our own individual resources. It is truly incredible what happens when we open up to collaborate and involve the community in our design, vision and implementation. We have tweaked the design so many times based on priceless input from those we've networked with - leveraging a diversity of voices, experiences, skills and perspectives enables a truly holistic farm to develop. More people than ever know about our mission and the broader movement of social-ecological farming we're part of - thanks to national press coverage in the Guardian, Evening Standard, Times, BBC, ITV and more...
I remember one crazy week of the crowdfunder when it really kicked off and having phone calls every day with a new press office - so many people are hungry for positive and inspiring stories of real action in this turbulent time of pandemic, ecocide and political polarisation. This reflected even more so in our local community, the communities of Bath united behind a vision for local healthy food production. Local news, charities and bath green groups all supported us and spread the word to their networks. Thanks B&NES 3SG, Grow Batheaston, Bath Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, BWCE, Transition Bath, Dry Arch Growers, Bath Cooperative Alliance and so many more! Local businesses, such as Peter Nyssen (thank you Clare and Stef!!!) offered help both on the ground (with Bluebells!) and in our business planning and resourcing. Friends and family became our greatest advocates, spreading the word, donating (some multiple times!), and crucially providing us the ongoing moral support and love that we need when overwhelmed by such a bold ambitious project!
However, don't let me mislead you - with any optimistic project for positive change there will always be resistance and challenge both internally and externally. The advice we got from some 'experienced & knowledgable' people at the start of the crowdfunder was a little cynical and mirrored our own subconscious fears - it's ambitious, it goes against the grain, humans nature is selfish and wont donate for wider benefit, "you're asking for too much", "what about all these things that could go wrong?"
The real courage of this mission is to have belief in ourselves & each other - listening to our deeper truths and allow the fire of active hope to burn stronger than the candle of fear. This doesn't mean blundering into a huge commitment without due consideration for the risks, challenges and realities of the work required. But its all too east to let the fear of imperfection or risk paralyse any action. Especially in this time of ecological crisis and health pandemic where the chances of a healthy planet for my generation to inhabit are slimming each day of inaction, or rather each day of unchallenged business as usual in our current political economy.
Doing a crowdfunder is a bit like a mushroom trip (yes, we're going there) - its exciting, mind-expanding, heart-warming and opens up so much possibility, but the real work starts when the ceremony ends - using the responsibility and privilege (be it of knowledge, awareness or resources) towards the healing of earth and her communities. So we continue this daily work which was started many years ago , shovelling compost, planting fruit trees, sowing seeds - the difference in our post-crowdfunder journey is that we are embedded within a wider mycelium-like community of wonderfully supportive enablers, we have even more self-belief and drive, we have the resources to manifest this vision with greater speed and quality, and we are collaborating at ever deepening and expanding levels. This process has given me a lived experience of community power, grassroots action, alternative economic models, inter-being, active hope and a rewritten script of human nature beyond the 'selfish genome' cynics.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us to create an ecological farm for Bath - its certainly made a difference to us and the communities of Bath, and who knows what the ripple effects of your generosity will be beyond this project and lifetime.
p.s. I will atttach a list of all our 545 crowdfunder supporters when i work out how to transfer the over from the webpage...! For now head to crowdfunder ecological farm for Bath to see our journey, and our social media pages also show the story visually! https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/ecological-farm-for-bath