Diverting the Mainstream to Fund Renewal
The founding impulse for the Stockwood Community Benefit Society was to protect the farm, and indeed, the inspiration for the idea of the Society came in 2011 when Sebastian Parsons was involved in the formation of the Biodynamic Land Trust.
The Stockwood project has a very interesting extra dimension – the on-farm Business Park. The biodynamic farm is very special, and is recognised by Natural England for its biodiversity and environmental management policies (click here to read more), however, on the face of it, the Business Park is just a normal mainstream commercial property, with a range of normal mainstream businesses renting their offices and workshops.
Look a bit deeper though, and it quickly becomes apparent that there are two wonderful ways in which the business park can itself support the Society’s objectives:
Firstly, the mainstream rental income is diverted into, and thus empowers, a society with charitable environmental and social improvement objectives.
Secondly, tenants on the business park are invited to join the community and engage with the farm and Society. They can become members, they can go on farm walks and attend the events. They can eat the food and through engaging with the management of the business park come to improve their energy and recycling policies.
The Society is proud to be part of the broad movement for renewing capitalism that has gained tremendous momentum in the years since greedy, anti-social financial practices tipped us into recession. By owning a traditional mainstream commercial rental property the Society is diverting cash from the mainstream economy to drive its environmental and social objectives. By engaging with the mainstream we are part of the movement to change it.
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