Skills for life

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Audacious Veg is a social enterprise based in East London growing a range of edible produce and increasing access into horticulture for young people in urban environments, through offering traineeship opportunities. We’re driven by three goals; growing, diversifying and sustaining, all of which work together to create our vision of a better food system, that not only provides nourishing, healthy and affordable food that doesn’t come at a negative environmental, social or economic cost, but a food system that creates opportunities.

Access to land is an ever-increasing issue, especially in urban environments and within the food growing sector as a whole. Audacious Veg secured 0.75acres of derelict land in 2014 and has since regenerated a portion of that land and trialed three traineeships models in it’s first two and a half years. We want to continue using our unique land asset and open it up to more people and continue pushing boundaries in food growing. To do this we took the decision in 2018 to restructure our strategy and take the year out to work towards to ensure the longevity of our project and develop a long term plan. Over the year we have worked voluntarily implementing new changes to the site, such as creating new growing spaces and growing plans, developing technological solutions to enhance efficiency and transparency around our processes, trialing new produce, building up a customer base and redeveloping our traineeship programme to ensure that anyone that comes to train with us, receives an exceptional learning experience. Now, we're ready to get underway again!

For us, growing means not only to grow high quality produce in an agroecologically responsible way, but it means to grow people by offering opportunities to learn new skills. Our 2019 traineeship programme will not only look towards developing horticultural skills, but also entrepreneurial and business skills. We want to explore how we can support trainees in several ways by providing them with a safe space, tools and materials to trial land or produce based business ideas they may have. As part of our skills sharing goals, we want to scale up the growing workshops we have been developing and carrying out throughout 2018, and continue to work with children and adults to grow their own vegetables in fun, interactive and creative workshops.

Diversifying to us is about diversifying our food system and the food we eat. To be audacious is to be ‘intrepidly daring’ and ‘marked by originality and verve’, and a vegetable is ‘all edible plant matter’. and so this gives us an open field to experiment with. Diversity is about creating a robust and resilient system, one that is fun, full of colour, flavour and vibrancy. We want to introduce people to new flavours, new foods and explore what food is, and what it could be!

Sustaining is all about creating a system that operates within environmentally sustainable limits but also provides basic human needs for nutrition, employment, health and more. Without environmental, social and economic sustainability, we don’t have a resilient project.

A grant would allow us to do several key things to support us in getting our new traineeship programme underway:
- Pay for new tools. We’ve taken previous experience with past purchases, and have heavily invested this year in new tools and equipment to test their rigor, but now need support to scale up so we can provide our trainees with quality tools.
- Pay for trainee travel expenses. We want to remove this financial barrier and will continue our programme of paying for trainee travel for the during of their courses with us.
- Send each trainee on a Capital Growth training course of their choice to help diversify their skills and build new networks
- Pay for a trainer at the London Living Wage for 1 a day week for the 36 weeks of the year that our rolling 6 week traineeships will occur through

Audacious Veg

Moment of Pride

As someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, I started volunteering with Audacious Veg 2 years ago and working outdoors and with nature gave me a sense of purpose. Now I lead the project and work closely with young people creating opportunities, giving back what it gave me is truly humbling.

Location: Ilford


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