Perth Community Farm is a Non Profit Organisation registered with the HMRC Companies house for Scotland as a Company Limited by Guarantee under the act of 2006.
COMPANY NUMBER - 615 016
As a Non Profit Organisation we need a committee to stay within the laws for controlling the running of the business such as finance, fund raising, health & safety, progress and any bills that need paid. This committee is made up by the following voluntarily agreed members which we thank them all for :-
Craig Burnett, Lexi Brown, Jane Gorie, Gary Boatman, Ian watt
The farm is located on the edge of Jeanfield Cemetery situated off Jeanfield Road, Perth, PH1 1PG
The farm shop is located on 18 Hospital Street, Perth, PH2 8HN
The Journey Since 2015 to Date - How Did It Start?
Perth Community Farm started as a dream by myself Craig Burnett back in 2015 when I had started a small wholefoods sideline to our main family business The Bees Flower Shop to help contribute towards an increase in rent. Although the wholefoods idea hadn't quite work out as planned I had learnt a lot of what works what doesn't and more importantly what the public wished for which is what caught my attention and was surprising repeated when speaking to many customers over the 18 months. If it wasn't for myself starting up the Wholefoods back in 2015 this idea of the farm would never have come around but many of the customers would say the same they were fed up with buying fruit and vegetables from the supermarkets where the majority was imported from out of the UK. I was also one of the complaining customers as my family and I cook most of our own meals from fresh and the salad fruit and vegetables such as garlic, tomatoes, chillies, peppers to name a few are all shipped in so I so problem and started to look for a solution and as Urban farms kept appearing as the solution I began my research and began to think about opening up an urban farm growing fruit and vegetables to sell to the public right here in the heart of the Perth City.
As I researched over the years on how an urban farm would work the more I began to become hooked on the idea but I also had a personal reason, my wife and I have one child, Katie who has struggled since Primary one with severe Dyslexia and hated every day that she was at School because of this learning difference. Katie is now 13 years old ( 2018 ) and out of School as we try our best at home schooling as secondary School was worse than primary school, as parents all we want is the best for our children not just in the present day but the future and a job is of course up there second to happiness. My wife Tanya and I new we had to come up with a solution for Katie's future so I asked if Katie would like to work with me in setting up Perth's first urban farm and she loved the idea so now the challenge was really on.
Originally I was going to run the farm as a private business as I didn't know any different but as I spoke to people regarding the idea I could see them get really excited about the concept of Perth having an urban farm but how could I run a farm for the people of Perth and not give something back? So this is where the idea of a community not for profit business idea came from and this is where many more ideas started to appear from speaking to people and how the farm projects has grown greatly from a simple seed idea to a platform of possibilities that anyone can add to the COMMUNITY. If I'm creating this farm to help Katie then why not create it to help so many more Families who are struggling just like what we have over too many years such as helping Autistic children to be in an environment where their not scared, young adults with learning difficulties to finally feel accepted, young adults that have lost their path in life well the farm can be there to help them get back on the right path, School children to learn on site about how fruit and vegetables are grown and what about retired pensioners who are lonely and have plenty time on their hands lets get them down and involved. So the community farm had now become a rally of challenging ideas as I could see the potential that this not only had for my family but also how it could help so many people of Perth, but where am I going to find a good sized piece of land and where do I start this ludicrous idea?
Thanks to Zero Waste Perth things are about to get very interesting.
I will never forget speaking to Fiona and Sam from Zero Waste Perth ( Perth & Kinross Council ) back in February of 2018 about an idea I had which was to use electric bikes and trailers to carry out home deliveries around the City with wholefood products using an online website that I was currently building at the time. I could feel the excitement in the air from the two of them as I was very familier with electric bikes since converting my own years before general public new much about the potential of them. So as I began to feel rtelaxed within their presence I thought that there was no harm in mentioning my long term goal, the urban farm, how do you bring this up in conversation? Well you just take a deep breath and say, " What I'd really like to do is open up Perth's first Urban farm supplying the public with local organic fruit and vegetables and deliver these produce along with the wholefoods on the electric bikes and trailers.".......Then take a deep breath, wait for the response which I wasn't expecting as both their faces lit up and Fiona almost jumped with excitement which I loved as I never told anyone my intentions outside of the family, asking," What do you need for this to happen?" Not expecting the conversation to go anywhere I replied," If the council have a good sized piece of land then that would be a start." Sam just smiled and said," Leave it with us."
Three weeks later I received an Email from Sam asking if I would meet with Neil and Bruce from Perth and Kinross Council as they were interested in my urban farm idea so of course I agreed and we met for the first time which was the beginning of something amazing and was not expected. I had a 30 minute time slot in my head to discuss what I'd like to do hoping this would convince them I was the right man for this project and was on a high after two hours chatting away with them both for them to then offer a very considerable amount of land on the edge of Jeanfield cemetery right in the heart of the City, this honestly could not have been a better location. As we shook hands to depart I could not believe what had just happened the urban farm which had now been called the Perth Community Farm was actually going to happen we are going to help so many people this was insane and still is and huge part of this project has to be aknowleged to go to Fiona, Sam, Bruce and Neil all from Perth and Kinross Council otherwise this would NOT be happening.
The plan was to set the farm up as a Non Profit Organisation but to do this I needed to find a committee which is not an easy task when they need to love the idea as much as I do and not think that the project was a bit mad and out there which lets be honest it is a bit crazy, but in a good way. I asked a good friend of mine who I have known for many years and worked on projects in the past where we can just carry on working and not stop until the sun has gone down until we can't see what we're doing anymore, although we have been known to put the car lights on just to keep going, his name is Gary and it was a quick yes when I asked him which was absolutely brilliant, I now had to find another three but I'm a great believer in when it's meant to be it will happen just be patient so I carried on with the setting up of the project believing I would meet the right people that I could feel connected with to take this dream to a reality.
I had to bite the bullet and put myself out there so I posted on Facebook my plans regarding the farm and that there would be an open day in April 2018 so that the public could come along and have a chat with myself and see the actual site, well I was only expecting six people to come along and there must have been almost thirty which was mind blowing and gave me such a boost that what I was doing was the right thing even though many times not just in this project but how you can panic and think about quitting, well this is the foot up I was needing and to everyone that turned up that evening I thank you all so much. After meeting sop many people and so many names which unfortuately I'm not very good at or fasces to be honest ones or two of my floews which we all have there were two visitors that had been in touch with myself before hand through facebook and very kindly cam eup and intridced them selves, Lexi and Ian. I've always followed my gut feeling as it's taken me on journeys that would never have happened if I had not so I got to know Lexi and Ian very quickly as they were constantly messaging to stay in contact and Lexi done an amazing job of setting up a raffle raising just over £500 which for me starting this project from just an idea was so uplifting and appreacited that it was a no brainer for me, I had to ask if Lexi would become a committee member and she agreed, superb, happiest man alive. Ian has some amazing knowledge on Permaculture growing and we just connected on the same growing practices so it was an obvious question to ask him if he would join and although he was hesitant at first as he's more an outdoor person I reassured him that nothing would change we still carry on working the farm we just have to meet up once a month to discuss budgets and future plans so he agreed and we were a team of four but we could do with another Lady to help balance the committee a bit better this is where Jane would be our final member.
Every Tuesday became a works evening for the public down on the farm from 6:00 pm until it would get dark usually around 9:00 pm and Jane started to come along to everyone without fail after Lexi had organised and open works day for Marks & Spencer and Jane was there to get involved and have a laugh which there was a lot of. Jane had no fear about getting involved on a works evening so after a couple of months I asked if she would consider joining the team and the following works evening she gave me the answer that she would accept, brilliant the team has been formed now lets smash this project for 2019.
The farm shop idea came about from Tanya and I chatting about what we were going to do with a section of our florist shop at the front as it was a good size but just prior to our conversation we were talking about raising money for the farm as it's going to take a lot to hit all the goals over the next five years. We almost both said it at the same time which was to turn the front into a small wholefoods shop with plastic refills to reduce the once use plastic bottles and we could even sell the fruit and vegetables in the summer / Autumn time. We bought the first initial amount of stock as there is very little money in the farms account as it's based on donations only but if invested our personal savings into the project and when we recive the money back from sales we would then hand the shop business over to the farm which means there's a constant stream of profit coming in to fund the project. So the shop opened the 1st of October 2018 and has been a brilliant success with 21 bottle refills by December 2018 which is amazing to know that we helped prevent these plastics from going to land fill.
The farms business and plans are going to grow every year with much bigger plans for much further down the line it's been an amazing 2018 one I will never forget and the year which will always be remembered for the year Perth had it's very own Urban Community Farm created......dreams can come true you just need to be patient.