St David's Day 2014 at Henfaes Research Centre was special in several ways. Yes, there was plenty of sunshine, plenty daffodils but also a big celebration to mark our Crowdfunding success of reaching £33,000 for Sarpo Potatoes Ltd. David Shaw welcomed thirty Crowdfunders to Henfaes to learn more about blight, the advantages of our low-input varieties and plans for the trading company formed to bring Sarpo varieties centre stage. Simon White told guests about seed production and how the crowd from last year had assessed two potential new varieties. David Gale outlined the structure of the new company and introduced the management team. James Stroud gave guests a flavour of some of his research on late blight of tomato. He has characterised the strains of blight that attack tomato and those attacking potato. James is breeding varieties for outdoor growing in UK - blight-resistant varieties - in a collaborative project with Bangor University.
The crowd was sustained by potato soup (with leek), potato bread rolls and several kinds of twice baked, stuffed Sarpos (Axona and Blue Danube). Not a morsel remained!
After lunch we discussed future plans and the crowd offered useful suggestions for branding and funding of the new company. Simon provided seed to lenders who had earned interest and distributed seed of three potential varieties that members of the crowd will grow, observe, measure and taste.
The crowd resolved to make a final effort to grow the fund in its last 13 days of life to as near as possible to its second milestone of £50k. It was agreed that an efficient way would be for each person to email/phone/write to 10 of their most likely contacts. These would be people most likely to support a project to promote the growing of no-spray, blight-resistant potatoes - an alternative to GM blight resistant potatoes but that are available NOW.
We would like to thank all our Crowdfunders for supporting us in such useful ways.