Community farm secures loan for next step in growth plans

Belton-based community farm, VegVan, has secured a £25,000 Start Up Loan through the British Business Bank programme, delivered by GC Business Finance (GCBF).

Terri Mowle established VegVan Community Farm CIC with a mission to teach children and young people about vegetable cultivation using permaculture principles.

They employ the colours of the rainbow to promote a balanced diet and harvest vegetables for healthy street food.

Mowle expanded VegVan into new markets, offering Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) events for corporations interested in permaculture farming ethics. Additionally, she authored a storybook, “Mr. Green the VegVan Man,” featuring vegetable characters providing nutritional advice.

With the support of a Start-Up Loan, she purchased a van to enhance the street food arm and has hired staff to handle vegetable harvesting, preparation, cooking, and event management.

Terri Mowle, founder of VegVan, said: “Despite our original street food business not going quite to plan, we decided to push ahead with VegVan Community Farm and teach people the importance of nutrition, wellbeing, sustainability and community.

“The Start-Up Loan has been really important to us as it enabled us to buy a van to support our growth plans. We can now cater to specific individual needs whilst pursuing the street food side of the business.

“The finance has given us the confidence to keep growing. We’ve already taken on two employees and are looking to employ up to four more over the next couple of years. We also plan on expanding our offering of products and services, including breaking into the corporate events world, for companies that would see this as an opportunity to achieve their own sustainability goals whilst enjoying team building events in the great outdoors.”

Alex Mearns, head of startup lending at GC Business Finance, said: “Helping small businesses to grow is incredibly important to us. The rate of growth VegVan has seen so far is very exciting, and the social impact the business has on educating young people about nutrition is inspiring.

“With high aspirations, since receiving a Start Up Loan VegVan has gone on to showcase why the programme is so important. Terri and the team have created jobs, contributed to the local economy and have plans to expand their market offering. They are an inspiration to other small businesses in the region.”