Like many small businesses, Gourmet Leaves salad farm has had a tough year struggling to keep afloat. They have lots of plans to adapt and expand their business and here Kate Monk explains why they entered RGB’s Surprise Supplies Competition to help them achieve these. If they win, they will spend the £1000 prize on building a toilet and shower room so they can offer work experience and training in their innovative farming methods.

I was perusing the internet one evening and spotted on the Crediton Courier page looking for local businesses who need a boost of building supplies. I nudged Jamie and suggested we enter on behalf of our “toilet” in full knowledge that there was no way we would ever be considered. Nice things like that just don’t happen to small businesses like ours. 

So, you can imagine my surprise when the following week, the lovely lady running the competition got in touch to say that we had been selected as a finalist. Wow! We couldn’t believe it! After the tumultuous year that we have had our luck was changing and the universe was recognising the efforts we put into the farm and the community through Covid.

Kate and her children in their polytunnel

A huge thank you to RGB for giving us this emotional boost- even if we don’t win, we are thrilled to have been considered for the prize.

Winning £1000 of building supplies would give us a huge leg up with our next project. Anyone who knows us will tell you that I (Kate) am full of ideas and that Jamie and Elaine regularly tell me to stop thinking as I create too much work. I agree with them that some of my ideas are terrible, but we have to wade through those to get to the really awesome ones which even Jamie and Elaine have to admit are worth putting effort into.

Our next project is a toilet / shower room within our large barn, which will tie in nicely with the upgrade to our sewage treatment plant which is due to happen next month. 

It will make a huge difference to our farm and the way we run the business. It also opens up the door to so many other options. A public toilet has become the fundamental core to anything we do next.

Accepting help has been impossible through Covid as we have no external facilities and we can’t expect everyone to use a hedge! Having an accessible loo means that we can have employees or contractors in. We would be able to offer volunteering and work experience opportunities to the community. The vineyard could be opened up to the community to come and participate, learn and socialise. We would be able to have open days for our lovely customers to come and meet us, see what we do and learn about how we grow their food. Schools, university students and other researchers can visit and look at how we do things differently and we hope to start contributing to resolving the mass importing of European food in this country and food shortages around the world with our simple systems. 

The polytunnel!

Eventually we would like to clear some space in the barn and create a large training room where we can run workshops on hydroponics for any interested parties or for anyone who may want a Gourmet Leaves tunnel of their own. It would be great to have some accommodation on the farm (small scale) for anyone taking a course and obviously they will need a shower and loo too.

If we didn’t win the prize, it is not the end of the line for our loo. Right now, we are doing well as a farm but we all rely on the income for our wages so saving for new projects takes a little longer. If we were to win the £1000, it would give us the boost we need to get it done this year once the busy salad season quietens down and hopefully start progressing with the multitude of other plans we have for next year.

To help us win this competition we just need a vote from you!

Simply Like our lettuce photo on the RGB Facebook Page

Or email and put Gourmet Leaves as the subject box.

Whilst you are on the Facebook page- find us and follow our page to keep up to date with our news.

Jun 21, 2021

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