Our vision is a well-managed and properly capitalized, small, mixed, agroecological farming sector. Generally, we want to pursue small on a large scale, supporting cooperatives, social enterprises and community businesses that that are at an early stage of development but have already built up their local community of support (i.e. beyond start-up and usually before the venture is investment ready).
We will invest throughout the value chain from “farm to fork”, supporting food and farming enterprises that utilise or support agroecological methods of production, are rooted firmly in their own communities trading largely through local markets. We call this ‘Enlightened Agriculture‘. As an ‘impact first’ programme, we will prioritise enterprises that we believe have the potential to deliver the greatest social and environmental impact over the long term.
We want LEAP to be about food and farming. We will therefore prioritise enterprises whose revenue from the production and/or sale of food and/or drink is more than 50% of their total revenue. However, we recognise that diversification is very important to food and farming enterprises to ensure they remain viable and sustainable in the long term, and that often it is the subsidiary enterprises who generate the most social impact. We will therefore assess this on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, we are unlikely to fund care farms etc unless the LEAP funding will be used to significantly increase food and drink production.
Whilst we are able to give loans and grants to enterprises based throughout the UK, our mentoring programme is currently only available in England. However, if you are based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland please register your interest, as we are actively seeking funding for mentoring enterprises from these areas.
Examples of the types of enterprises we will support are:
- Local food hubs that give people access to local food grown ethically and agroecologically
- CSAs, box schemes and community-based processors (e.g. micro-dairies, community bakeries, micro-breweries) that grow food and sell their produce to their members
- Growers and producers that are diversifying their activities to develop new products and new markets, and/or broaden beyond pure production to involve the community in activities such as CSAs, forest schools, therapeutic horticulture, cooking, on farm education
- Food processors, markets, caterers and retailers who are integrating small farmers into the value chain and providing local people with the opportunity to buy food that is ethically and agroecologically produced
- Replication of proven concepts in community food enterprises i.e. ones with a 3-5 year track record.
- This list is not exhaustive, so if you run a community-based food and farming enterprise and are not sure whether you would qualify, please contact us.
We will prioritise investment in the following ownership/governance structures:
- Community Interest Companies
- Community Benefit Societies
- Cooperative Societies
- Charitable Incorporated Organisations.
Companies Limited by Guarantee will only be considered where the primary purpose of the investment is to achieve a social impact.
We are NOT able to support or fund the following:
- Sole traders, partnerships, charitable trusts and other unincorporated organisations and companies limited by shares (although we will consider these organisations if they have clear plans to reconstitute to an acceptable model of governance)
- Any enterprise that produces food that is not grown according to our agroecological criteria
- In the case of processors, caterers and retailers, any enterprise that does not source a significant proportion of its produce from farms, growers and other suppliers that meet our agroecological criteria
- Enterprises with operations outside the UK
- Retrospective funding
- Any enterprise which provides services which are regarded as statutory or Government provision
- Any enterprise which promotes the advancement of religion or that is party political in nature.
Please contact us if you need more detail on our investment criteria.
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