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CoFarm founder seeking £185,000 to get project off the ground in Cambridge




The man behind a community farm heading for Cambridge wants to raise £185,000 to launch his ambitious pilot project, and could use llamas to deliver food to households.

Community farm founder Gavin Shelton at the site off Barnwell Rd. Picture: Keith Heppell. (15808260)
Community farm founder Gavin Shelton at the site off Barnwell Rd. Picture: Keith Heppell. (15808260)

CoFarm aims to provide healthy, local and sustainable food by developing a seven-acre site on Barnwell Road. It is the vision of former biodiversity conservationist Gavin Shelton, who believes the time is ripe for a new way of providing local food. A recent consultation survey underlined the city’s support for the project.

Mr Shelton believes that while CoFarm is a pilot scheme at present, it can be scaled-up to provide a template for other areas in the UK. He is to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the autumn, but don’t expect to spot him on TV’s Dragon’s Den.

“You won’t see me on that programme,” he told the Cambridge Independent.

“One of the reasons for that is we’re not going to try to get any private equity. We’re very open to the idea of getting social and impact investment from people, but Dragon’s Den is something where they like to maximise their investment quickly.

Community farm founder Gavin Shelton could use lamas to distribute food as well as bikes Picture: Keith Heppell
Community farm founder Gavin Shelton could use lamas to distribute food as well as bikes Picture: Keith Heppell

“Cambridge is a generous community. We know there are people in the city who have the means to support a project like this. I’m hoping we can go live with the crowdfunding in mid-October, and it will be critical as the cash will determine when we can really get going in earnest.”

When it comes to distributing the produce, Mr Shelton has a few novel ways of making sure households get the food they need.

He said: “We can do it by bicycle, on foot and even by llama. In all seriousness, llamas are pack animals and they produce very good manure as well as being used for potential delivery.”

He added: “We’re just trying to design a new way of doing things that is fit for the 21st Century. You still need water, and sunshine and people power. We need to make sure that the model we develop is very focused on being accessible to those who need it most.”

Read more:

Community farm planned for Cambridge field

Cambridge ambassdors are speaking your language



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