The Dean Organic Fund

Interest free loans for 2 to 5 years for organic or ecological farmers, producers and food businesses

The Organic Research Centre is managing a programme of small loans, all made out of the Dean Organic Fund. Our loans support small scale organic/ecological farmers, producers and food businesses.

These are unsecured loans, intereste free to finance investments in equipment or stock or other forms of working capital (not land).

Loan sizes are available between £5,000 and £25,000, repayable in instalments up to 5 years. We are able to lend companies, sole traders, community/social enterprises or charity owned businesses, including ones that are not certified organic but operate on principles closely aligned with organic principles.

Trevelyan Farm Organics, a DOF beneficiary

What is the Dean Organic Fund?

The Dean Organic Fund was established following a large bequest of over £500,000 from the late Jennie Bone to the Organic Research Centre, accompanied by the transfer to the ORC of the former Dean Organic Trust which she established in 1993. Her idea was to support the conservation in the farmed environment by providing interest free loans to organic producers. ORC is committed to continuing this process with the new Fund.

Launched at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in 2018, Round 1 of Dean Organic Fund applications involved Organic Research Centre in making loans totalling £260,000. A wide range of businesses were supported, from crofts planning meat processing operations in Scotland to growers expanding their vegetable production and protected cropping facilities in eastern and southwest England. Other farms and food businesses used the funds to develop farm shops, nano-dairy production, vineyard management equipment, and organic chicken production systems.

Dean Organic Fund rolling loan programme

The Dean Organic Fund is accepting applications from it’s established 5 year revolving fund, managed by the Organic Research Centre.  

Orchard Organic Farm

Orchard Organic Farm, a DOF beneficiary

Applications will be considered on a first-come first serve basis depending on the funds available in the revolving fund, which is replenished by repayments from existing Dean Organic Fund borrowers.

Decisions aim to be made, whether it can lend to a Dean Organic Fund applicant (and the terms of the loan) typically within 2 months of a recieving a complete application. Subject to the provision of such adequate additional information as Dean Organic Fund may request. The Organic Research Centre reserves the right to request whatever information to support a loan application it may think appropriate.

  • Applicants must be UK-based companies, partnerships or individuals.
  • Applicants to be eligible, must either be certified or in transition to organic certification or operate on a basis that is closely aligned with organic principles.
  • Applications must be in support of businesses of the kind specified above.
  • Loan amounts will be between £5,000 and £25,000.
  • Loans will be interest-free and unsecured.
  • Loans will be repayable over periods of no more 5 years. Typically with a 12-month grace period, and then repayable in instalments over the next 4 years. .
  • Loans must be used for transformational investment in training, equipment, stock, or other working capital, not to finance land or for short-term cashflow support or to cover normal operating expenses.

How the Dean Organic Fund helped me

For more help with organic farming and growing visit Farming Organically

Case Studies

Previous Dean Organic Fund borrowers

Who are the Dean Organic Fund businesses!

Find out who is a beneficary of the Dean Organic Fund. See a map of their locations.

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