We are establishing and supporting a national network of independent and commercially sustainable businesses growing leaves, fruits and vegetables on 3-4 acre plots on contract for local restaurants, caterers, schools and retail, with shared values.
We are seeking
Existing farmers with 3-4 acres of suitable land for cultivation
Landowners with and buildings with suitable access to rent to new entrants
Potential HKG operators we can match to the above
Organisations we can involve on this journey
We aim to
Provide a solid diversification opportunity for small farms
Provide opportunities for new entrants into farming
Create local sustainable rural employment opportunities
Help to meet the growing demand for local seasonal produce
Reduce environmental impacts
Engage chefs, retailers, communities and school children directly with local produce
Knowledge share, inspire and support farmers
Pioneer and share regenerative farming techniques (innovation hot beds)
Deploy latest seeds and techniques
Reduce waste by ensuring product has an end market before it is even grown
Who is involved?
This is an ambitious project supported by Happerley and Ross Geach of Padstow Kitchen Gardens who has successfully created a sustainable business and local employment from a four acre plot in Cornwall, through fifteen years of experience.
We are and will be working with many other community Interest, producer and food organisations.
of Padstow Kitchen Gardens
Amidst the outstandingly beautiful Trerethern Farm on the North Coast of Cornwall, lies Padstow Kitchen Garden: 4 acres of land nourished, nurtured and tended-to by 6th generation farmer and former Stein’s head-chef, Ross Geach. Ross writes a monthly column in the gardening section of the Telegraph, appears monthly on Radio Cornwall’s Gardenline and was featured on Countryfile.
Today, Padstow Kitchen Garden grows a huge variety of vegetables which find their way into some of the county’s finest restaurants and cafes including Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and St Petroc’s Bistro, Prawn onthe Lawn, Barnabys and Michelin starred Number 6.
Ross is a professionally trained chef who spent over ten years developing his skills with Rick Stein. As such, he understands what produce chefs need and appreciates the high standards they expect.
He has appeared on ITV’s Hungry Sailors and Hook It & Cook It with Nathan Outlaw. Ross also features in the book, Kitchen Garden Experts, alongside friend and chef, Jack Stein.
Happerley delivers an independent means to secure provenance honesty and transparency across the food and drink industry for the benefit of all.
By validating and publishing ingredient supply chains and delivering this information via a unique marque and QR code at point of purchase, it empowers consumers to instantly see the journey of their food and make conscious buying decisions.
What is the long-term aim with HKG?
We will be progressing science-led practices and developing a deeper level of understanding of how environmental management can really benefit production, but also of course local biodiversity, ecosystems, pollution levels, etc.
Reviving the community connections and developing affordable local commercially sustainable provenance.
Consumers have become detached from the journey of their food and farmers have become detached from their customers, By Happerley working with Ross Geach and a national range of industry experts, and community groups on local levels, and researching local market opportunities before any seeds are sown, the aim is to revive these connections.
How it works
Requirements to be an operator
- Access to sufficient markets within a 25 mile radius of operation
- Full training and guidance is provided
- The first two to three months will follow a pattern of engagement, site preparation, feedback and cultivation planning
- Each business should provide a comfortable living for one full time operator and one full time employee after the first cropping.
How Happerley Kitchen Gardens will support its operators
- Three year financial forecasting to demonstrate the potential earnings and the payback period
- Regional engagement audit (development of and engagement with 25 mile customer base ahead of first sowing)
- Experience and knowledge share for best practice
- Training and ongoing technical support
- Cultivation, cropping and management consultancy
- Community engagement planning
- National brand recognition – common values, common goals, common standards
- Marketing – national brand, local identity
- Business planning
- Price point guidance range for crops – each operator makes their own decisions based on their location, market etc.
- Crop innovation (trends, seed varieties)
- Cultivation innovation
- Central buying power
- Surplus crop dispersal (waste reduction)
- Online B2C shop and hub for veg boxes, profiles, interactive maps, events, open days etc
- Free Software provision
- Growing network opportunities
- United social media campaign
Franchise Terms for an operator
We are seeking five year rolling agreements with modest payments* on signing, on first sowing and on end of first season, A levy of 5% of gross revenue will be charged as an ongoing fee to cover all the above support.
*The initial fees can be flexible for new entrants that we can match with landowners. We wish to be able to support new entrants.
Depending on their existing machinery and infrastructure, a franchisee would need to invest approximately in a minimum of one polytunnel (c£6k(90x30ft)), and an adequate irrigation system that can work on low pressure (approximately £2k).
Essential equipment would include a low impact tractor, plough and rotavator. A larger tractor with front loader would be beneficial although not essential.
What size plot of land would be needed?
Between 3 and 5 acres is ideal, much bigger and the management becomes more difficult. It’s best to create squares within the acreage also for machinery access
Would you recommend having additional employees full time also to manage the Kitchen Garden?
Padstow Kitchen Garden has one additional member of staff that is full time and generally one person needs to be committed to production with all of the appropriate training – it isn’t effective if managed on a part time basis. Having one member of staff means you don’t have to work from dusk till dawn and can catch up on any admin items that need to be completed.
Seasonal variance in production can mean that general maintenance jobs can drop down on the list of priorities, but in those circumstances, we would recommend contacting an agency to provide several seasonal employees for the day on an hourly rate, to allow for catch up on all work in one day.
Other than supplying local restaurants, retailers and schools, what would you say the other market channels would be for Kitchen Gardens?
Open days, pop up events, additional products such as jams and pickles are some of the other market channels we will help support operators with. For example, recipes, labels, procedures etc for pickles and jams that can be made on site and sold locally and nationally under the HKG brand.
Open days with good chefs also involved helps to really connect consumers to what they’re eating and this is where the in-house marketing team would be able to push out information for these events onthe appropriate channels to really spark an interest in what we are trying to achieve.
All the necessary online and offline support for the ordering, updating and marketing of veg boxes will also be provided.