Green Food Adventures – Come & Taste The Business Plan!

On Monday 30th September, Incredible Edible Mytholm Members and Supporters will find out what’s in the tasty Green Food Adventures outline business plan. This makes the case for a proposed community benefit social enterprise on the Browns Field site on King Street Hebden Bridge.

Members will vote on whether to accept the plan or send it back to the Management Committee for more work.

The quarterly Incredible Edible Mytholm Members and Supporters meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Monday 30th September in the Terrace Room, Hebden Bridge Town Hall. All IEM members, supporters and people who are simply curious about Green Food Adventures are welcome.

With grants from the Plunkett Foundation and the Community Foundation for Calderdale, Incredible Edible Mytholm’s Management Committee has prepared the business plan,  helped by social enterprise consultant Adrian Ashton, and has had the Browns Field site valued by a chartered surveyor. This has established the likely cost of buying the site, as things currently stand in terms of planning permission.

Hoping for a warm welcome

Incredible Edible Mytholm Chair, Margaret Boyle, said,

“We’re keen to present our plans for creating living wage jobs and helping Hebden Bridge make the transition to a low carbon economy.  We’ve done a lot of work over the summer, and we hope that the public will respond to the Green Food Adventures outline business plan as warmly as they did when we first floated the proposals for a community benefit social enterprise on Browns Field, at the Growing Futures Field Day last March.”

Eco attraction to connect people with nature, food and their inner mad inventor

The outline business plan proposes to set up Green Food Adventures as an eco-attraction that will stimulate ideas and action about how to create a  sustainable food system, move to a low carbon economy, make the world a better place.

Plant it, grow it, taste it

It will connect people with nature, food, ecological science and zero carbon, zero waste  manufacturing and services in exciting ways – offering loads of opportunities for enjoyable learning through outdoor and hands-on activities for everyone, and bringing out the mad inventor in people.

Ewan Tavendale's drawing of GFA indoor grow houses

Key elements of the eco attraction will be:

  • a one-acre agro-ecology market garden – mostly indoors in low carbon, highly resource-efficient grow houses
  • a managed workspace and incubator for zero carbon, zero waste businesses
  • rain gardens that will demonstrate ways of reducing flood risk, given the mad rains we’re having these days
  • a natural play area for children
  • a 45 bed eco hotel that will provide accommodation for visitors and educate people in the pleasures of living in a passive house – a highly resource- and energy-efficient building

    Rain garden - embracing the mad weather we're having

Costs, revenues, jobs…

Start up costs will be a bit over the cost of building the new Hebden Bridge Town Hall. The outline business plan estimates that from now to Opening Day – likely to be in five years, all going well – the costs will amount to around £4.9m. This includes construction costs of around £3.35m for the grow houses, managed workspace/incubator and eco hotel.

Headline GFA annual operating costs and revenues are estimated on the basis of assumptions that we need to fact check, but this is what we’ve come up with so far – it’s a work in progress.

In the summary costs/revenues table (below), the Cross Subsidy column is positive (+) when the GFA business element will receive a subsidy from other parts of GFA, and negative (-) when it will contribute a subsidy to other parts of GFA.

Green Food Adventures would directly create around 19 jobs plus a few apprenticeships, and would indirectly be responsible for a further 38 jobs in the managed workspace/low carbon business incubator.

Incredible Edible Mytholm aims to set up Green Food Adventures as a legal entity over the next six months. It is likely to be a Community Benefit Society and Development Trust.

Plenty for people to get involved in

Over the next five years, Green Food Adventures also aims to run a variety of “Meanwhile Projects” that will test and develop GFA activities and offer local people and visitors the chance of getting involved in the project.

A proposed one-year site observation project will look at the Browns Field plants, wildlife, soils, water flows and flooding. It will also record social activities on the site, traffic noise levels and where the sunny and shady bits of the site are at different times of the year.

Starting the Observation Project

Observation project enthusiast Katy Oddy said,

“I’ve been excited by the idea of a sustainable food and cradle-to-cradle social enterprise on Browns Field since I heard about Incredible Edible Mytholm’s initial ideas last winter. I turned up at a meeting and was co-opted onto the Management Committee.  There’s plenty for people to get involved in, just come along on Monday evening and find out more.”

For more information, please contact IEM Secretary, Jenny Shepherd at changingmorethanlightbulbs@gmail.com.

Glossary of unusual terms – what are we talking about?

Zero carbon, zero waste businesses

A zero carbon, zero waste business (also called a closed-loop or cradle to cradle business) is based on a key innovation – that the waste products of industrial processes become the feedstock for new products, so waste is virtually eliminated.

The circular economy is an industrial economy that is, by design, restorative. Its material flows are of two types:

  • biological, with any “waste” designed to re-enter the biosphere safely
  • technical, which are designed to circulate at high quality within the industrial process without entering the biosphere

Agro-ecology

Agro-ecology is a way of producing food using highly energy-efficient, biodiverse and climate-change resilient farming methods that work in rural and urban areas, on small scale farms. Unlike industrial agriculture, agro-ecology is not dependent on fossil fuels and monoculture plantations and does not contribute to human-caused climate change.

Rain gardens

Rain gardens are designed to hold rain water, as a way of reducing run off and flash flooding. They include depressions or sunken areas that will collect rain water when it rains heavily. They only work with the right kind of planting – plants in rain gardens need to be able to tolerate and soak up the standing rain water that collects in the low lying areas of the garden. An example of a rain garden is at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust London Wetland Centre.

Status of Browns Field

Browns Field is a 4 acre brownfield site on the edge of Hebden Bridge that has stood empty for years. In planning terms. it is a designated employment site.

Its owners, Belmont Homes and Setbray, have presented a retail impact statement for their speculative planning application for a supermarket and hotel on the Browns Field site. Calderdale Council Planning Committee is due to consider the planning application, deferred since last December, on October 22nd.

Incredible Edible Mytholm opposes the planning application on the grounds that it is purely speculative, designed solely to raise the market price of the site and thereby make it less economically viable for GFA or any other local business to create employment on the site.

The retail impact statement admits that no supermarket is attached to the planning application.

The owners are interested in selling the site to Incredible Edible Mytholm, for the Green Food Adventures social enterprise, but have said they would want a price that reflects the value of the site with planning permission for a supermarket and hotel.

Slideshow of business plan 

Posted from Hebden Bridge, England, United Kingdom.

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