Urban Growing

Rocket Man looking to blast off!

By Ramona Andrews

Can you help this farmer in his search for more land?

Ali is a farmer who grew up in Syria on acres of land with his family, growing wheat and barley, as well as having a dedicated area for his family’s own fruit and vegetables. Read more about him on the Bristol Good Food 2030 blog.

Since coming to the UK in 2017, Ali dreamed about continuing to work in agriculture. In 2022, he came across the organisation ACH and the business support on offer for migrant and refugee entrepreneurs. He quickly became an active client and with the support of a dedicated business support advisor and volunteer business mentor, Ali found a small plot of land and started growing vegetables just three months later. The land is rented to Ali through Grow Wilder.

Since then, Ali has raised £6,000 with support from his local community to buy a 27-foot polytunnel that has allowed him to grow vegetables all year around. In April 2023, a team of nine volunteers came together over the course of a few weeks to assist Ali with his polytunnel build.

Ali now supplies his vegetables, which are grown using wholly organic practices, to several high-profile restaurants in the city. Sonny Stores, Root and Bokman are among the restaurants that serve Ali’s high-quality, seasonal produce.

Ali says, “The UK welcomed us as refugees. I was so worried about the new country with a different culture and with no family or friends, also I knew nothing about this new community but luckily, I was able to restart my journey as a farmer in the UK.”

Ali is now seeking out a bigger plot, ideally located in the North Bristol and South Gloucestershire area, to expand his business.

If you can help, please contact rocketmanproduce@gmail.com.

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