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Stockwood CBS: more than just a financial investment

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It’s less than two months into the share offer on Stockwood Community Benefit Society (Stockwood CBS) and a milestone has already been reached. The organisers are over half way to securing £1m of investment into their biodynamic farm and business park. Why are so many people investing? Having recently visited, Sean Buchan suspects people are investing in an experience.

Stockwood CBS community share is an opportunity to invest in a mixed biodynamic-organic farm – the one that inspired The Archers, no less – as well as the land that the business park lies on.

This makes it a classic triple bottom line investment. On the financial side, upon investing as little as £100 there is an estimated 5% return per annum in perpetuity. This makes it more attractive than current ISAs, with an accompanying low risk.

On the social side, the offer is to become part of a family. Investors will own the land with a community of fellow shareholders, can visit whenever they like, take part in all sorts of events and enjoy a one person-one vote system come AGM time.

Finally, the environmental component is encompassed by the concept of biodynamic farming, a “sort of organic plus” in the words of Stockwood founder Sebastian Parsons.

Plenty have invested so far, mainly through the Ethex engine. And with the likes of Kate Humble and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall giving their support, it’s not difficult to see why the investment is so attractive on paper. But it was actually visiting the farm that really sold this opportunity to me.

Visiting Stockwood CBS

Founder of Stockwood CBS, Sebastian Parsons, is one of those rare breeds of people that understands his projects to a frightening but fascinating depth; concentrate hard and one is rewarded.

Speaking to him sheds light on the subject on anthroposophy, a huge motivation in his life and behind Stockwood CBS. The term was initially coined by Rudolf Steiner and possibly best known for its connections with Waldorf schooling. But, talking to Stockwood’s energetic founder reveals a missing link: the notion that everything here is connected.

The benefits of investing in Stockwood are not just A, B or C as separate entities, but all of those intertwined; an overall experience that makes our daily lives more rewarding. Hence the name, Community Benefit Society.

Being connected to your investment

Taking a walk around the grounds confirms this. Even the business park has a phenomenal energy, with workers going about their business promptly yet happily. Sebastian explains the benefits of well-defined co-operative working models being created under another of his projects, the Elysia Commons. It is deep theory, but taking a look at the results is convincing enough.

Out on the farm the livestock actively come to greet visitors like old friends. After just a small time of biodynamic farming, it is possible to see and feel the benefits of the soil already. The woodland situated on the land has an energy of its own too; stepping into the quiet, brown seclusion has something Thoreau-esque about it.

Spend long enough at Rush Farm and its business park and ‘understanding’ comes as an inevitability. Everything about this investment is connected and makes sense. Beyond that, there is clearly an experience here too good to miss.

All investors of course get a good return for their money, but more than that, they own part of this land forever and become part of that experience. It is an investment in the health of the farm, the sustainability of produce for future generations and the sustainability of one’s own future. And, it’s a declaration that this is an experience one wants to be a part of.

Why not get involved, go see for yourself and buy a share?

Sean Buchan is a freelance writer specialising in ethics of philosophy, economics and investment and working with Greenhouse PR. He is also the founder of www.TrueEfficiency.net.

Further reading:

Farm that inspired The Archers looks to raise £1m from local community

Why I invested in Stockwood CBS

Stockwood CBS: putting a local farm in the hands of the people

Sustainable agriculture can help tackle climate challenges

Sustainability at the heart of food and agriculture

 

Environment

Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family

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Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/maschatace

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

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Environment

How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life

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how climate change affect our lives
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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