Growing a Sustainable Community




Once upon a time there was a piece of land in the heart of one of the most socially deprived areas of the country. Situated between two schools and an old Anglican church. Unused and unwanted. Remnants of things past, but not much use to anyone.

A local community group decided to rework the land, make it open and clear once more and The Secret Garden was planted.

Grounded Enterprises was the name given to move this project forward, it was established as a company in January 2016.

People were inspired to see how much could grow in such a small space and a vision of health and vibrancy for the community was birthed.

Sadly in 2016, a fire saw a shed burned down and a fox ate all the chickens, but again the community rose up and out of the ashes came a purpose built ‘off grid’ shack with a compost toilet, store, solar and lounge/kitchen. It’s now a vibrant hub for training, education and community groups to come together.

A strong partnership was developed between Grounded, Bethany and St Clements Primary schools and St Clements Church who work together to care for the land. The food that is grown goes into subsidised food boxes for low income households in our community. We realised that the Secret Garden wasn’t going to be big enough to grow all that we wanted to.

In October 2015, Grounded Enterprises established a 20x20metre growing space at a disused greenhouse in the New Forest where volunteer’s from our neighbourhood visit twice a week to grow food that we bring back in to town and sell to cafes, individuals and in veg boxes.

We are always on the lookout for disused spaces that we can transform for food growing and local people who want to join us on this journey of growing a sustainable community.

But it doesn’t end at food. It just begins. Through the income generated from food sales we help empower members of our community to start their own enterprises. In 2018 we helped our first volunteer set up a business, creating and growing hanging baskets. Many other ideas are simmering such as a Feel Good Sandwich business, a community composting facility, bee hives, pallet garden furniture and more. But we want to build steadily and enable individuals to thrive and grow. To this end we are becoming a Charitable Organisation in 2018. We hope this will enable us to progress our dreams and create a more sustainable community for our future.

The Formal bit

Vision and Aims

To help rebuild the food system in our locality and beyond by teaching people food growing skills and methods.

To partner with other groups and individuals, co-operating in areas of food production, preparation and consumption.

To enable and share skills, resources and knowledge, creating opportunities for local food production and enterprise.

To facilitate training that equips people to grow food in their own spaces.

To reclaim unused spaces for productive food growing and tranquillity.

To harness the wealth in waste, composting, glut utilisation.

To reconnect people to each other and their environment promoting wellbeing, engagement and common unity.

To provide safe spaces and volunteer opportunities that Ground us and enable growth, supporting individuals to participate and belong to something with a sense of purpose.

To add to a thriving community economy through enterprise, exchange and sharing, supporting individuals in micro enterprises.

To grow and promote consumption of mineral rich foods, through chemical free, good composting and natural additive methods.

From Business to Charity

In 2018 we are set to become a Charity, a CIO (Charitable incorporated Organisation). This means we will be able to carry out initiatives, apply for grants and gather support for our work. Outlined below are our ‘Constitutional Objects” which govern what we aim to do.

In essence we don’t aim to be a profit driven entity and any profit we do make we want to put back in. We don’t want our profit to be taken up or eaten up by salaries.

We may decide to keep the Grounded Enterprises company, but all assets and profits will be directed to the Charity once set up.

The two Charitable Objects we are aiming for are...

1. To promote sustainable development for the benefit of the public by:

(a) the preservation, conservation and the protection of the environment and the prudent use of resources;

(b) the relief of poverty and the improvement of the conditions of life in socially and economically disadvantaged communities;

(c) the promotion of sustainable means of achieving economic growth and regeneration.

Sustainable development means “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

2. The relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage by the provision of services particularly those aimed at promoting good health and well-being, relieving poverty and helping people meet their own needs in society.

This is all a work in progress, a journey, please walk with us as we make our best attempts at ‘growing a sustainable community’.