Asthall Wild Community Interest Company (CIC)

Our Mission

Supporting people, nature and land to connect & thrive, through our crop share, workshops, residencies, events and other related activities.

Our Vision

Asthall Wild’s vision is of a biodiverse, joyful, regenerative and resilient local community where people, nature and land are reconnected with each other through food, art, conversation and education in the beautiful setting of Asthall Manor, its kitchen garden, formal gardens, outbuildings and surrounding lands.

Our Aims

  • Grow, sell and distribute diverse and seasonal food, initially via a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) crop share scheme, but also direct sales to locally owned businesses.
  • Increase biodiversity.
  • Sequester carbon into healthy soils using regenerative practices.
  • Build joyful resilience in the local community.
  • Deliver formal and informal education on all the above through residencies, workshops, courses, traineeships and volunteering.
  • Create and participate in resilient networks focused on nature recovery sharing good food and local community.
  • Create and share beautiful spaces to foster connections, joy, respite and rest
  • Minimise external inputs e.g. bought-in fertility, single use plastics, fossil fuel consumption etc.
  • Promote and facilitate materials reuse and local, closed loop economic models.

 

Our operation

Asthall Wild is in the grounds of the historic Manor house in the village of Asthall in Oxfordshire. On the edge of the Cotswolds National Landscape*, Asthall Village is near a wide range of tourist destinations but has many permanent residents.

The Manor has been the home of the on form biennial sculpture show for the past 20 years and has an established reputation as a place for large and small-scale events that focus on the arts and nature. It has a dedicated and large following who keep in touch via a quarterly email newsletter. The site has a range of facilities including formal gardens, catering spaces, events space and the ability to host short and long-term residents including whole house hire.

The Kitchen Garden is adjacent to the manor and consists of a range of growing spaces and facilities.

At present, we do not cultivate any field scale production but use the model of agro-forestry market gardening to grow in the region of 55 varieties of vegetables and fruit for local supply. In addition, there are 50 plus leaf species that go into the salad bag over the course of the year.

*(Formerly known as the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)

 

Strategic Objectives: 2023 to 2024

  • Increase our CSA membership.
  • Open additional markets for produce including seasonal sales to local businesses.
  • Increase the cropping area (both covered and outdoor) and consequently increase the amount of produce.
  • Deliver a series of workshops and two pilot residencies aimed at income generation and increasing awareness of ecological food growing and the importance of biodiversity.
  • Work towards a living wage for the Kitchen Garden’s main grower/CIC Director.
  • Increase growing capacity through an additional part time paid grower and exploring the potential of a farm start traineeship and a seasonal apprentice.
  • Expand the volunteering offer.
  • Formalise the structure of the Kitchen Garden via the establishment of a Community Interest Company.

 

Business Structure

The structure of the business is a Community Interest Company with two directors (The owner of the Manor and the Lead grower for the Kitchen Garden). Incorporated in August 2023.

Asthall Wild is established as a non-profit taking company meaning that any profit generated through the enterprise is reinvested in the business.

The CIC has a 5-year lease which includes 0.5 acre of growing space and associated infrastructure including two poly tunnels, two small glasshouses and access to large, covered barn with potting and workshop areas as well as and a small outbuilding that acts as a classroom, lunch space, packing area and events space.

The day-to-day management of the CIC is co-ordinated by a core group comprising the lead grower/director, one further director (the owner of the manor), paid employees of the manor and one other resident in a voluntary capacity.

It is the responsibility of the Directors to present a report on the business and a financial summary at each AGM. The AGM will be taking place in March each year.

Biannual meetings of the CSA crop share will be held to gain their input and advice on the scheme though this is not constitutional.

Membership

Currently the CSA crop share is a producer led scheme and the CIC has only one member, (the owner of the Manor).

 

Services

The heart of the Asthall Wild CIC is a nascent CSA crop share, which is aimed at the residents of Asthall and surrounding villages. We commit to keeping the share price as low as possible to increase access. The scheme aims to be all year round and requires (in keeping with the model) customers to pay a flat monthly rate and take a share of what is available.

In addition to the CSA, Asthall Wild aims to increase understanding of and the opportunity to get involved in how food is grown as well as offering access to outdoors space, via several routes including one off and regular volunteering and via workshops, talks, residencies and tours. It has established links to local gardening and nature groups as well as local GP networks interested in the connections between food and health.

As well as contributing to local food resilience, the CSA crop share is a crucial platform for demonstrating and advocating for many of the regenerative practices highlighted through the workshops and events.