new memberships: now closed.
We have a brill opportunity for any of you grainiacs, foodies, environmentalists, budding farmers or actually anyone who is a curious cat -- we are inviting 18 new members to join us in 2018 to co-farm OurFieldWeston. This is a learning journey, you don’t need any prior experience in farming, just be open to participate in discussions online with the farmer and other co-investors. Deadline for joining is March 21st. We will be deciding what to plant shortly after you join.
What is #OurFieldWeston?
We are a mix of people from all over, who co-own and co-farm (online) a field of grain at Weston Farm.
Why do we need this?
Do you know what it takes to make a loaf of bread? Why are all the bees disappearing? Why are so many people becoming gluten intolerant? Turns out the answers to these questions and more might be found out on the land, at the source. It’s almost impossible to understand how interwoven our food system is with the environment, health and rural communities without being part of it. This is our chance, to see what it really takes to farm differently, share the risk with the farmer, is it worth it to protect and build soil for future generations or will we go bust trying?
How does it work?
In 2017 OurFieldWeston, a collective of 42 co-investors and co-farmers, farmed 20 acres of a field at Weston Farm. We decided to grow spelt with clover and harvested nearly 15 tonnes of beautiful summer spelt which we are currently selling.
In 2018 we have agreed with the farmer to expand to the full field of 28 acres and so are inviting 18 new co-investors to join us as #OurFieldWeston grows.
Why join #OurFieldWeston?
Joining #OurFieldWeston as a co-investor is an exciting opportunity to dig deep into the farming world and connect deeply to where your food comes from.
As a co-investor in the field you will become a part of the farming process and enter a symbiosis with the farmer: learning from the farmer about the soil and weather conditions, voting as to how we take these factors into account. All decisions and discussions are done collectively online using a platform called Loomio. There will be the opportunity to visit the farm throughout the year, and regular discussion and participation online. It really is a unique opportunity to experience and learn about what it takes to farm!
The Farm: Weston Farm, Hertfordshire
John, Joanna, Paul and Alex Cherry run Weston Park Farm; a
cereal no-till and beef mob-grazing farm at the forefront of the UK
‘Groundswell Agriculture’ movement for no-till and soil regeneration.
The Weston team currently farm their grains conventionally and are keen to explore other low intensity methods and diverse grains with your help.
How can you join?
There are 60 shares, all of last year’s co-investors will remain part of the collective so we are looking for 18 new investors. Is that you?
It’s £200 to buy a share of the field, which entitles you to one vote in every decision, and 1/60th of the profits from the field. This also includes a membership fee which covers all the administration costs, organising events etc.
The deadline for joining is Wed 21st March.
If you are interested please:
● Let the facilitator Grahame firstname.lastname@example.org know via email, he will confirm your spot.
● Pay £200 into the OurFieldWeston bank account (details at the bottom of this page)
Details of your investment:
What is the £200 for?
Members joining OurFieldWeston in Spring 2018 are asked to pay £200 to the co-operative funds. £150 is an investment to cover predicted field costs. £50 is a membership fee.
The expected costs before revenue are predicted at around £143 per member (with 60 members) to farm the 28 acre field.
The anticipated revenue is of course unpredictable. Were the harvest to be 7 tonnes / hectare of
grain valued at £130 / tonne then that would be about £207 / member – but of course the harvest may be more or less and the prices very different and we may not even grow wheat at all! Some of these matters are decided by the members, and others by world markets or divine forces; but few by the farmer themselves. This of course is partly the point of OurFieldWeston, as a model to relieve the farmer of uncertainty as we share the burden of investing in the field for this year.
What happens to my money?
Members contributions are maintained in a dedicated bank account, and distributed as costs rise. They are not regarded as fungible, so each member’s cash value at any time is what they paid in, less the expenses incurred for them, and plus the value of any harvest.
2017 members and 2018 members’ balances will be distinct, because 2018 members are not
charged any part of 2017 costs, but nor will they receive any part of the 2017 yield (the 2017 harvest remains unsold in the grain store).
It is assumed that members joining in 2018 will remain members until after the 2018 harvest.
Can I withdraw my investment?
Members can pull out at any time – but the cost of withdrawing before the harvest is that early-
withdrawal members will have been charged the farm and administration costs from month to
month, but would not be in to benefit from the harvest income.
2017 members do not need to pay anything as their money is already in the account, carried forward from last year.
Where do I pay?
Your money should be paid in to this Lloyds Bank account:-