Liv is based on Rush Farm in Worcestershire, which is owned by a community trust set up in 2012. In 2014 the trust had fundraised enough money to buy the farm and now, a little over a year later, the trust is fundraising again to buy the remaining 31 acres of Rush Farm that it doesn’t already own, and to install renewable heat in the business park.
The objectives of the trust, Stockwood Community Benefit Society Ltd (Stockwood CBS), are to protect Rush Farm as a biodynamic organic farm in perpetuity, to provide education and to be a model of sustainable farming and ethical business practice.
Anyone is free to become a member of Stockwood CBS, you just apply to buy shares – a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £100,000. All members of Stockwood CBS are connected into the Liv world too and therefore get a 15% discount from Liv. Stockwood CBS pays 5% annually to its members (decided annually by the Directors). Liv and Stockwood CBS share the same values, but whereas Liv works to transform the world for the better through working with products that are bought and used, Stockwood CBS works with investment that is bought and held.
The purchasing of shares by people applying to be members of Stockwood CBS is carried out through Ethex, which is an ethical share trading platform. Although the Stockwood CBS shares can’t be traded, they can be withdrawn, by application to the Directors. There is a 180 day notice period and the Directors have the power to delay the withdrawal although that has never happened.
Rush Farm has become famous this year after the BBC published an article all about Rush Farm being the original Archers Farm! This was because of the very real connection with the Archers, the long running BBC radio serial, whose creator, Godfrey Basely, was friends of the owners of Rush Farm in the 1950s and the farm, then run by a large family, was a bustling and exciting hub of rural life – a tremendous spur to Godfrey’s imagination!
To learn more about Stockwood CBS visit the website here: www.stockwoodcbs.org
To become a members visit Ethex here: www.ethex.org.uk/stockwood