How Small Sums of Money Unlock Exponential Impact

“Everywhere you look there are brilliant people working to create positive environmental change. Small amounts of funding, strategically directed, can supercharge this work.”
– Ben Goldsmith, Co-Founder DEF

In September 2020, the DEF awarded a Dartington-based regenerative farm, the Apricot Centre, a small grant to analyse and share the data they had collected during the preceding five years, showing the difference that regenerative farming had made to land that was previously conventionally farmed.

The findings were even better than expected, illustrating that regenerative agriculture has the potential to truly transform our prospects in the face of the climate and nature emergencies.

We were so impressed and filled with hope, that we asked the Apricot Centre to dream big and tell us what would be the most impactful way they could help contribute towards the goal of 30% of Devon for nature by 2030.

They proposed a new ‘Regenerative School’ to grow the next generation of regenerative farmers – filling the skills gap of conventional agricultural training.

DEF strongly supported their vision, and funded the feasibility study, the certification of the qualification, and the start-up costs to enable it to launch in Jan 2022.

We are excited to report that our support has unlocked a bigger piece of funding from Devon County Council’s ‘Natural Capital Challenge Fund’, to cover the course delivery costs – offering FREE training for 20 apprentices in the first year to gain a Level 3 qualification in Regenerative Land Based Studies. You can find out more about the course here.

DEF’s support of the Apricot Centre is a brilliant example of how small sums of money, strategically directed, can unleash exponential positive change for nature.

In total, we awarded the Apricot Centre less than £36,000 spread over four grants, during a 15-month period.

The true impact of the project will unfold over the decade, starting with the first 20 apprentices that gain regenerative agriculture skills (and each cohort thereafter), then rippling out over the years to the many hectares of land they tenant/own, as well as the customers, suppliers, and friends they interact with.

Finally, this project is very replicable and once the first year is complete, we hope to see more centres being replicated around Devon and the UK to train many more apprentices and impart practical regenerative agriculture skills.

The Apricot Centre told us that this project undoubtedly would never have happened without DEF’s vision and support:

“The grants we received from DEF allowed us to consolidate our research in carbon sequestration and biodiversity in regenerative agriculture. Who knew that this would be the catalyst for a new School of Regenerative Land-based Studies in Devon, and numerous conversations with many different partners about different agricultural methods to move towards net-zero carbon farming.

Without DEF’s support, encouragement, guidance, and funding we would never have been able to dream big and develop a future beacon training centre. Their funding enabled us to help grow the future of regenerative farming, forestry and food production in Devon and beyond.”
– Rachel Phillips, Apricot Centre

To enable the DEF to support more projects like this, you can make a donation here or get in touch to support us in other ways.