FoodSmiles is Fundraising!

Polytunnels are an important tool for growing food throughout the year, but ours are very old and in poor repair, and part of our polytunnel space must currently be used as a veg-box packing area. We're raising money for a new polytunnel and a dedicated packing shed. This will enable FoodSmiles to raise seedlings safely and grow warm-weather crops and more winter crops; to care for our harvests better and provide higher-quality produce; and to keep promoting and producing local, seasonal food in the St Albans district.

FoodSmiles aims to supply local food for local people in the St Albans district. We started in April 2014, farming organic vegetables for our 25 members, and produced an amazing 980kg of food in our first season! This year and over the next few years, we hope to increase our membership significantly and become a bigger and better source of locally-produced food.

When we started up last year, we were very lucky to find a piece of land that already had on it three polytunnels we could use. They were in bad repair, but we patched over the holes and the tunnels were crucial in our first season for raising seedlings and growing warm-weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

However, our repairs to the tunnels are not standing up to windy weather well; polytunnel one completely lost its cover in recent winter winds, and we've had a constant struggle to keep polytunnel three intact through the winter; it is unlikely to last another year. We urgently need to replace at least one of them; polytunnel companies have advised us that the tunnels are so old it would not be economical to refurbish or repair them. Furthermore, we have realised that the tunnels are far from ideally positioned; tall trees shade them all morning in the summer, which means our tomatoes didn't get as much sunshine as they needed and our yield was poor. Polytunnel three is by far the worst for this. 

In order for FoodSmiles to continue to thrive and grow, we urgently need a new polytunnel in a brighter position, to raise seedlings and grow warm-weather crops. We will also repair polytunnel one ourselves as a temporary measure for this year, and continue to use polytunnel two as it is – this tunnel is in reasonably good health and gets just enough sun.


We also need a dedicated space for packing the weekly vegetable boxes and storing equipment – our tiny 6x4ft tool shed is simply not enough, and packing vegetables in a polytunnel means they wilt in hot weather and freeze in cold weather! This shed will be placed where polytunnel three is now, under the trees, since this tunnel doesn't get enough sun to produce a good crop and will not last much longer without refurbishment or replacement.

So we are seeking a combination of small grants and donations to help us fund these improvements, and if you have an interest in the St Albans area, in local and organically-grown food or in sustainability we'd like to invite you to donate to this project. No donation is too small - any contribution, any size, will be gratefully received!

£1050 will enable us to buy a basic 14x35ft polytunnel, which we will put up ourselves.  
£1250 will allow us to add crop bars and bracing to our tunnel, for better efficiency and security.
£2500 would also fund our packing shed, which we will build ourselves from a kit.  
£3000 would also fund the shed foundation and much needed interior shelving.
Any additional money raised on top of this will go towards repairing polytunnel one, and getting electricity to the shed for lighting and refrigeration.

If you would like to donate to keep FoodSmiles thriving and growing, you can do so via PayPal by clicking the 'Donate' button below. (You do not need a PayPal account to do this.) We don't have much to offer in return, but we will thank you publicly on social media and add you to our mailing list (let us know in the 'instructions to seller' box if you don't want us to do either of these things), plus donors will be very welcome to visit the site by appointment and see what we're up to, and you will receive an invitation to our Harvest Festival in September. And of course you will have the pleasure of knowing you are helping us to bring food production back home to our community!

Remember: please let us know in the 'instructions to seller' box if you do not want to be added to our mailing list or receive a public thank you on social media.

You can also donate by sending us a cheque – please email for the address.