We’re so pleased to introduce one of the new residents in the BoneYard containers at Railway Gardens: Urban-Vertical CIC. They have just launched an exciting crowdfunder offering everyone the opportunity to be part of their adventure – you can jump straight to the crowdfunder here or read on to find out more about this fantastic project…
What is Signal Box Farm?
Signal Box Farm is a community urban vertical farm and, together with The Green Room next door, it forms a creative and productive hub where their Urban Vertical CIC will grow food and offer community courses and workshops.
Their project will be housed in two colourful shipping containers at Railway Gardens. The community farm container grows a range of microgreens and salad leaves all year round using vertical farming methods and hydroponic techniques. They supply local restaurants and sell at farmers markets across Cardiff and The Vale
What are Microgreens?
“Microgreens are a mechanism that brings people together and encourages discussion about the environment, nutrition and supply systems.” Amanda.
Microgreens is the term given to vegetables and herbs that are in the cotyledon stage of growth which falls between the sprouting and baby leaf stages. Micro‑greens have intense, aromatic flavours and come in many different colours and textures.
Despite their small size, microgreens pack a nutritional punch, often containing higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant levels per serving than their more mature version. They not only look and taste great – making dishes more exciting to eat – but several peer-reviewed scientific studies indicate an actual nutritional benefit of these plants.
A few examples of the things they grow are…
- China Rose – a pretty pink member of the radish family
- Sunflower sprouts – they taste a little nutty!
Sustainability at Signal Box Farm
Urban Vertical CIC are very conscious of the environmental impacts of their farm and so they…
- source from responsible suppliers.
- compost all of their organic waste and share it with their community. They also offer spent compost to egg farmers as it provides a nutritious feed for their hens!
- use glass returnable jars for home deliveries and farmers markets, and reusable catering boxes for wholesale orders.
And if they have a surplus of crops, they donate them to charitable initiatives and community pantries. How great is that?
Meet the team behind Signal Box Farm
Signal Box Farm was founded by Amanda Wood when she decided it was time to evolve the operations of her sole trader business, The Micro Greengrocer, and form Urban-Vertical CIC in May 2022.
Always knowing that her venture would one day include education, employability and creative opportunities, it was through lockdown and connecting with her regular customers at her farmers markets that Amanda realised that the stories and struggles each person was experiencing was collectively demonstrating the need for more community connection. Conversations with her customers soon grew into ideas to take action and the process of Urban-Vertical, began.
Now, Urban-Vertical CIC comprises a range of great characters and expertise, brought together over microgreens. Collectively the team have responded to the voices of the community and designed a holistic programme of connecting, growing and creating activities for the wellbeing of people and planet.
The team consists of…Amanda Wood, Sancha Clark, Hannah Corr, Richard Cox, Sam Buckley, Hazel & Will. Read more about the Urban Vertical team here.
Their Team: Amanda Wood, Sancha Clark, Hannah Corr, Richard Cox, Sam Buckley, Hazel & Will. (Not all included in the photo)
What will happen in The Green Room?
Curiosity, Creativity and Celebration is at the heart of their educational workshop program, and their second shipping container The Green Room will be the hub, so schools and community groups can come to them and engage with their farm as part of the schools program. They can also take their Urban-Vertical pop up farm and selection of modular bite-sized workshops out to their local area with the use of our community shared electric van – fancy a visit from an urban farmer?
By August 2022, Urban Vertical aim to provide employability and enterprise opportunities to the local community of Asylum Seekers and Refugees from the Splott-based Oasis Centre and offer training and accredited courses to help them connect with their local community, learn skills in Controlled Environment Agriculture, and gain opportunities to help manage farmers market stalls. Their vision is to guide each trainee as they progress onto education, employment.
From their Green Room, and the Railway Gardens Hub they will also offer…
- Farm to Fork courses – where growing and cooking are the main ingredients
- A children’s Grub Club – a weekly after-school and holiday provision to help children learn to grow and cook their own dishes,
- Their Nourish self-care course for adults, designed to support wellbeing from the inside out.
They also have some great creative courses on offer too – watch this space!
I am hyped! How can I help make this happen?
Urban Vertical are crowdfunding to get Signal Box Farm off to a flying start! Could you help make this inspiring venture a success? You can back the crowdfunder here.
They are offering some tasty rewards too:
- Pledge £20 or more and get a month’s supply of Microgreens
- Pledge £25 and get a Paul’s Organic Veg Box
- Pledge £30 and get a 3 month subscription to Evergreen Online Home Growers Club
- Pledge £200 or more and get a two hour workshop for 1- 6 people at Signal Box Farm!