To be a community owned seed company we need people, and we need them to buy shares! We have a target in 2016-17 to raise £500,000. This sum will help us to pay off short-term loans used to purchase Gosberton Bank Nursery and establish our operations here.
In 2015 we raised £250,000 through a combination of share purchase, grants and donations. One way to achieve our target is for 5,000 people to buy 100 shares each; setting us up to be self-supporting in future. We would be honoured if YOU will be one of those 5,000 people.
The Seed Co-operative is a Community Benefit Society, registered with the Financial Conduct Authority under the full name of Biodynamic and Organic Plant Breeding and Seeds Limited (registration number 7013) with a specific set of registered Rules CBS-rules.pdf (2 downloads) for the society. These Rules set out how the co-operative is to run; identifying the objectives of the society; financial arrangements; membership terms; requirements for meetings and how the Board, with Officers, will be established and operated; dispute resolution; procedures for regulations; application of profits; asset lock; amalgamation or conversions; dissolution; and administrative matters. Our shares cannot be traded on a stock exchange. They are what are technically known as ‘withdrawable shares’. Dividends are not paid, but the Board of Directors could decide to pay interest on the share value in future. No interest is currently paid; the return on the investment goes to the wider community.
Full details can be found in our Share Prospectus Seed-Coop-web-Share-Prospectus.pdf (200 downloads)
Within our Rules the Board of Directors can vary and determine a number of factors. The Board of Directors have set out below the details of our arrangements, to clarify how the rules are currently applied:
- Minimum number of shares for membership (para 22). The minimum number of shares required for membership is 100, maximum number of shares that can be held is 100,000. Each member is entitled to one vote regardless of number of shares held.
- Withdrawal of share capital. The ability to withdraw share capital (return your shares and withdraw the value) is suspended (para 27d) until September 2020, whilst we establish our new venture.
- Subscriptions. No subscriptions are currently charged.
- Application of profits (para 95). Profits will be applied to the continuation and development of the Community Benefit Society, or for making payment for social or community purposes within the community of interest served by the Community Benefit Society, and not currently in paying interest on issued share capital.
Any changes to these will be notified to all shareholders with immediate effect and this notice on the website will be updated.
Community Benefit Society
Buying shares to become a member enables you to get involved and influence the future of the Seed Co-operative. This includes participation in general meetings and taking an active interest in the operation and development of the Community Benefit Society. Other benefits of being a share owning member include:
- active engagement with the Seed Co-operative, casting votes at AGM’s and receiving annual reports
- you can be part of a network of seed producers
- the chance to take part in trials and breeding programmes
- first hand access to information on breeding programmes and variety trials
- first access to newly developed varieties
We always welcome donations. If you would like to support us without buying shares you can do this through the Biodynamic Land Trust, a charitable Community Benefit Society. As an experienced land trust they are supporting us in buying Gosberton Bank Nursery through a restricted fund. All donations that go to this fund are directly invested in Seed Co-operative shares, maintaining the value of donations received, in Trust, by the charitable Biodynamic Land Trust.