Growing Well, Cumbria
Growing Well is a farm-based charity that promotes mental health recovery and well-being by encouraging involvement in community-focused organic growing. This grower-led CSA developed out of the existing structure in 2009. Growing Well rents its six acres of land from Low Sizergh Farm, a National Trust tenant farm, with whom they have developed a strong and supportive relationship. They currently have 45 members who pay £7.50 a week for a share of vegetables which they collect from the farm.
They hope to expand to 100 members. The CSA was started to increase the income, engage the community and develop a secure customer base. The grower’s salary is partially funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food fund. All of the horticultural work is undertaken by volunteers recovering from mental health issues, with a full-time grower who is employed by the farm. Growing Well has a contract for provision from Social Services, allowing the volunteers working on the farm to benefit hugely from what is seen by staff and volunteers as a dynamic opportunity that promotes and enhances the recovery process.