Introducing The Patch: London’s first fully self-sustaining gastropub struggles to raise funding

Exciting plans for a 100% self-sufficient community gastropub in South London are struggling to become reality after failing to secure a vital £17,500 of funds on start-up support network Kickstarter.

The Patch is looking to set up camp on the site of what used to be The Mag in Dulwich. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Patch is looking to set up camp on the site of what used to be The Mag in Dulwich. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Over 4,500 pubs have closed across England and Wales since 2008 but Arnold Reicher and his team believe their eco-friendly concept could help reclaim them. They aim to turn run-down East Dulwich pub The Mag into a sustainable establishment that grows its own food.

Vertical farming technology will be set-up, co-managed and tailored to urban space by skilled local growers and horticulturalists. The pub’s roof terrace and some of its current outdoor seating area will be used for growing.

State-of-the-art vegetable growing technology uses 90% less water or land. Image: Sunstate Organics, Florida

State-of-the-art vegetable growing technology uses 90% less water or land. Image: Sunstate Organics, Florida

Independent from banks and breweries, 50% of the organic fruit and vegetables served in the pub will be grown on site, including varieties that have not been seen in British meals for a long time.

Menus will change with the seasons with an emphasis on “fresh, clean flavours”, while local food artisans will be called upon to supply the rest. As much beer as possible will be sourced from local microbreweries and everything else from within a 25 mile radius.

Community is key to making Reicher’s promising dream come true: he would  like to turn a barn on the site into a local food producing hub for bakers and chocolatiers.

We are re-inventing the concept of the urban pub. Fully independent and self-sufficient, The Patch is a community gastro-pub that is owned, supplied and managed by the local community. We will be providing great quality food from farm to plate. What makes us different from other pubs is that we are a farm too!

We are proving that a city pub can take control and actually improve its food supply. We are channelling local talent and introducing technology to grow and produce our food in a way that is sustainable and commercially scalable.

~ Arnold Reicher

While The Patch may not have secured enough funding to ‘kickstart’ quite yet, the local community remain supportive. A message posted on the team’s Facebook page reassures those excited by the campaign that their project is far from over, but that the introduction of home-growing technology may now be delayed.

Watch this space…

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