Changing the future of food and farming

The Dean Organic Fund

The Dean Organic Fund

Interest free loans for organic/agroecological farmers, producers and food businesses.

Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) is responsible for a portfolio of loans originated and managed by the ORC and made from the Dean Organic Fund to give support to small scale organic/agroecological farmers, producers and food businesses. 

These are unsecured loans without any interest cost to finance investments in equipment or stock or other forms of working capital (not land) 

To date loan sizes have been between £5,000 and £25,000, repayable in instalments over 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.

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Image Caption : Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer from Lynbreck Croft in the Scottish Highlands were an early beneficiary of the Dean Organic Fund

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 ORC, 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 ORC 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.

How the Dean Organic Fund helped me

Read the stories of the fund’s first beneficiaries

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For more help with organic farming and growing visit Farming Organically

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