By Siobhán Holliman, Tuam Herald
A GENEROUS customer has come to the rescue of a local organic farming business which had applications for loans turned down by banks.
Without the money from the woman, who wants to remain anonymous, Green Earth Organics in Corrandulla would have had to halt its expansion plans.
The farm needs to build a new and larger packing shed which will feature solar power and a rain-water harvesting system.
While grant aid of €93,000 has been promised by the Department of Agriculture towards the development, this can’t be paid out until after work is complete.
Owner Kenneth Keavey told The Tuam Herald that is has been a long road and they were extremely disappointed to be turned down by two banks. One of the banks only agreed to lend a smaller amount of money once the donor funds were deposited. Now Kenneth and his team are hoping to raise the remaining €40,000 needed through an online crowd funding appeal, which already has brought in nearly €10,000 in the first week.
“When we had the investor on board the bank felt the risk was reduced.
“The investor, who has been a customer and believes in what we do will get back 60 per cent of her money when we receive the funding from the Department. She is leaving the remaining 40 per cent in the business for the next ten years,” explains a very happy Kenneth.
Green Earth Organics have set up an appeal on a UK crowd funding site as they will get to keep whatever they manage to raise, regardless of whether or not they reach the target. Similar sites in Ireland require the target to be reached or the would-be beneficiary gets nothing.
“The response already has been phenomenal. There have been lots of small donations from €5 to €50 and €100 as well as a few much larger ones. I couldn’t believe it, I was knocked off my chair,” remarks Kenneth.
The crowd funding project will allow the organic farm to grow and increase its supply of the organic box scheme while providing rural employment and producing food using sustainable methods.
“We want to create our very own ‘green revolution’, says Kenneth who along with about 25 employees farm nearly 40 acres on the outskirts of Corrandulla.
Green Earth Organics began in 2004 when husband and wife team Kenneth and Jenny began converting Kennth’s grandfather’s land to organic growing.
When they started weekly deliveries of organic fruit and vegetables they catered for about 30 people a week, that has grown to between 700-800 a week over the past ten years.
Kenneth and Jenny are indebted to their anonymous investor and are asking for the public’s help to reach their fundraising target so that the can start work on the expansion and use green energy to fuel their farm. Further information on their story can be seen at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/green-earth-organics-farm where donations can also be made.