We are supporting individuals and growing collectives across Europe, from Cornwall in the UK to the southernmost tip of Italy. We build the necessary infrastructure for small-scale growers to supply their produce at a higher volume without the need to compromise on the craftsmanship of their growing methods. We give them the support they need so that they do not need to sacrifice sustainability, flavour or transparency in order to compete with industrial practices.
In Cornwall, we have collaborated with Sean O’Neill to create Good Earth Growers, a farming project that brings together a community of incredible people who grow outstanding produce in untreated, naturally fertilised soil. We provide the necessary financial support, advice and logistical expertise to this community of small farmers so that together they can keep growing sustainably and seasonally. This enables high quality, radically seasonal Cornish produce – ranging from micro greens, kales and chards, soft fruit to baby vegetables – to reach the London market via our supply chain.
In 2018 we offered financial support for an additional forcing tunnel to one of Italy’s last growers of sand-forced radicchio, bringing a near-extinct product back into the mainstream. Without our help, this culturally unique method of growing might be lost, overtaken by the commercial production of flavourless but high-yielding varieties.
Meanwhile over in Sicily, Francesco has acquired 10,000 square meters of land, obtained global GAP certification and taken on 15 staff to increase his production of datterini. We have invested in his land so that he can now grow this incredible tomato exclusively for Natoora.
We also encourage our growers to come together and exchange seeds and techniques. One of our Lombardy growers is trialling a method of forcing his Cicoria to grow a White Dandelion for us, applying a French technique to a local Italian crop. Good Earth Growers are growing Trombetta courgettes using seeds and expertise (in particular the Trellis-growing technique, which is highly skilled and rarely found) gleaned from our Italian growers.
These projects demonstrate that small scale growers of radically seasonal produce can compete with industrial methods of growing. We believe these accessible farming models can lead to a dramatic shift in our supply chain and in people’s expectations of produce.