Wild Acres CIC – A Growing Community

Wild Acres CIC – A Growing Community

GREAT Food Gloucestershire went out and about exploring the county in Autumn 2023, stopping off at Wild Acres CIC in Berkeley, to find out more from Martin and the Wild Acres team about how their project got started, as well as how sustainable food projects like this can help build better local food systems. On the day we visited the community were busy making pickles using chillies freshy picked from their polytunnel.

How did you get started?

The project really began in Lockdown 2020, with 2.5 acres of un-used land, and was set up as a CIC in March 2021. Martin had owned the land for 20 years but opened it up to the community and leased the land back to the CIC. Wild Acres has an outdoor kitchen, compost loo, poly tunnels growing a range of produce, as well as a newly planted orchard.

Who is involved?

There are 5 directors and lots of co-producers – Tuesday and Thursdays are open for community days, and individuals and groups come down to get involved. People come to Wild Acres through social prescribing, but also via word of mouth. The site opens up for events and activities, as well as workshops exploring a range of activities, such as Yoga, Art, and Kimchi-Making. People can also book up for community celebrations and groups can come down to the site to get involved in orchards, hedgerow planting, foraging and horticulture.

What are your core values and aims?

Co-production is a key value. People come for themselves. The cooking element is really important and the outdoor kitchen really is the hub of Wild Acres.

What impact do you think the project has had?

Individuals are able to build confidence and be involved with more sustainable lifestyles, develop cooking skills, as well as soft skills such as working with people. Health and wellbeing are also improved by being involved – as it helps develops a sense of belonging and community.

What are the key challenges?

Lots of them! Public transport and getting to the site. Support for people when they first come, if they come through social prescribing, they often need a buddy to help be a bridge. Access and capital development.

What about the future?

To see what the community need is – but our vision is for a vibrant, land based, sustainable community, with shared values and ideas.

To find out more about Wild Acres CIC check out their Website and Social Media.