Sutton Community Farm is a 7 acre community owned farm based on the edge of south London. It started in 2010 in response to a community need, with the purpose to increase access to fresh, local, healthy food and provide a shared space for people to cultivate skills, get exercise and make friends. Since then, the farm has become a thriving enterprise centred around its VegBox scheme as well as a recognised and valuable community asset.
Working with Co-operative Futures they launched a share issue in March 2017 to raise money to build a much-needed new barn. This will enable them to double the number of VegBox scheme customers they deliver to each week and host increased numbers of volunteers and group visitors (schools, businesses and other partners). Their membership increased from 141 to 408 giving them the confidence that they have the backing of the community. In total they raised over £120,000 towards the barn.
In February 2021 the barn finally opened. This happened during the coldest week of the winter, with freezing icy winds and lots of snow on the ground. Given this, the completion of the barn couldn’t have come at a better time – certainly all of the VegBox volunteers were very pleased to be ushered inside!
“Support from Co-operative Futures encouraged us to think about new ways to use community shares and engage with our Membership. Working with them was invaluable” – Charlotte Steel, Farm Manager