This week's Talk of the Town sponsor for our fixture against Mansfield Town are Smart Greens UK, so we sat down with them to learn more about what they do.
Who are you?
We are Smart Greens UK.
We grow lots of fresh seasonal vegetables, organically, which we sell to businesses and customers through Farmer’s Markets and a local veg box scheme.
Our farm site allows us to work with people of all ages to improve their knowledge of fresh food and to support individuals at risk of loneliness, early-onset dementia and some health challenges.
What makes you unique?
We are currently building a commercial scale Aquaponics concept, alongside our traditional polytunnels and raised beds. We will be one of only a few in the UK who will grow in water, rather than soil, using fish to provide the nutrients for the plants.
Aquaponics is one answer to the future sustainability of farming in the UK. This method of growing uses 95% less water and improves growing efficiency. We can then grow-to-order for local businesses wanting fresh leafy greens, salads and herbs.
Aquaponics will inspire children and young people to learn about food, science and engineering due to the technology and mechanics involved. Our aspiration is to build small-scale Aquaponic concepts in schools that can be owned and managed by students, and contribute practically to STEM teaching.
Why should we take notice of what you do?
Changing social trends makes this the perfect time to drive the growth of our business.
The world is eating more fresh produce, linked to the growth of vegetarianism and veganism, yet climate change is making reliable food production more difficult. Most of us are now more concerned about where our food comes from (food provenance). Our food has no chemical additives, no plastic and next to no food miles. Demand for our produce is increasing.
Business is changing. Our business is a social enterprise, meaning that we are looking to change the world one vegetable at a time, educating and improving lives along the way
How can people get involved?
Get involved in three ways.
Our local veg box scheme is growing and currently delivers within five miles of Faringdon. If you live in that area you can sign up to our scheme via our website or social media.
We are now recruiting businesses that are keen to find suppliers of local produce who can grow-to-order in short timescales. We are keen to discuss menu planning and seasonal trends.
We are building interest in our support groups and school partnerships. We have lots of ideas and experience of working within the community and of inspiring children and young people from Key Stage 1 right through to Post-Graduate level.