In the beginning
There was a group of people who wanted to grow veg and supply the good people of St Agnes while getting them involved in growing their own food. The dream was to produce delicious, healthy food in a way which was good for the planet, good for St Agnes and good for you. Those people turned out to be ‘Goonown Growers’.
Our guiding principles are to produce excellent quality, fresh and organic vegetables. To improve biodiversity and reduce food miles. To enhance community cohesion and inclusivity through learning and fun events. To improve mental and physical health through farming and connecting with the natural environment.
We are growing on a beautiful 1 hectare site on the edge of St Agnes in Goonown and we are employing methods which minimise the need for machinery and rely instead on manual labour and traditional market garden techniques, using modern technologies and materials. The field was originally laid out as smallholdings for local tin miners and their families, so we are really excited about returning it to it’s food producing roots.
In line with our sustainable principles all visitors must cycle or walk to our site and please use the entrance approximately 100 yds past the Tennis /Croquet club when coming from Goonown. You can also walk from water lane. We are committed to providing opportunities for all members of our community to get involved. Should you have specific requirements to enable your participation then please let us know and we will try to accommodate your needs, including making all possible arrangements to allow for disabled access.
Please note, there are currently no toilet facilities on site and it goes without saying that you use the site at your own risk.
We’re aiming to grow a full range of UK seasonal veg including delicious spring greens and tender leafy crops like salad, herbs and spring onions and then sweetcorn, squash and courgettes later in the year. Initially this will be limited to outdoor crops until we have tunnels (no tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers… yet!) and also to crops which do not take up too much space and need heavier machinery (e.g. potatoes).
We are working towards official organic certification. This process takes a number of years, however we’ll be farming with completely organic principles from the start, which means no artificial fertilisers, no chemical sprays, maintaining a healthy soil through crop rotation, providing nutrients using compost with green manures whilst also encouraging biodiversity to help maintain a healthy ecological balance. Or to put it another way: working with nature rather than against it.
The aim is to use low impact traditional market garden techniques combined with taking advantage of modern materials and small scale machinery. The value comes from our hands and physical effort rather than petrochemicals.
Goonown Growers is a Community Interest Company, which means any money we make is either re-invested in the organisation or into other community projects: we are essentially not-for-profit. At the moment we are a ‘do-ocracy’ which means the people doing the work are the people in charge, but in time we want to hand management over to the community. We want to teach, we want to engage, we want to learn, we want to have fun, but above all we want to get local people involved in the project as much as possible.
We are living in unusual times but we feel that, now more than ever, we need to be growing and shopping local. We also need to stick together and support one another now and in the future. It’s been hard to get the project off the ground during the coronavirus pandemic but we are committed to our principles and (against the odds) the Growers are now ready to feed you!
We can’t run our planned social events currently but we can have small groups of members from the same house hold to work with us at carefully selected times. We’ll put information about this on the website. We feel that in the near future, growing represents an ideal opportunity to socialise at safe distances.
We will be looking to extend the project into a neighbouring field and to establishing essential infrastructure like compostable toilets, polytunnels and a packing shed. We are actively working on plans to establish these so watch this space.