A couple who moved to south Shropshire to escape the stresses of London life are now leading a more down to earth existence by running a worm farm.
Luke and Steph Boxall have launched ‘Worm Soil’ which sells bags of eco-friendly fertilizer produced by around 100,000 worms on their four-acre smallholding in Neenton.
Steph explained that she and former software salesman Luke took the plunge to start the business during the pandemic.
“We moved with our two young children from the London commuter belt a couple of years ago as we had no work-life balance but Luke remained in his job until the middle of the pandemic last year.
“It was then when we decided enough was enough and Luke left corporate life to start a farm producing vermicast – basically worm excrement – made by feeding well composted horse manure sourced from local stables to worms.
“We are unique as we are the only worm farm that specialises in producing this and our aim is to make vermicast more mainstream. It is an environmentally-friendly alternative to any synthetically-produced plant food or fertiliser and perfect for eco conscious gardeners as well as those wanting the best for their plants and soil.
“We’re also so proud to be selling a real home-grown Shropshire product. Sally Themans, our advisor from business consultancy Good2Great, stressed the importance of provenance with our business as this is a county rich in agriculture and food production.”
The couple have just started selling the product in reusable and recyclable bags to gardeners, horticultural businesses, such as vineyards and other specialist crop growers, market gardeners and cut flower growers.
“We have always had an interest in the environment and soil and are very aware that artificial fertilisers are highly damaging to the environment and our climate so this is a perfect alternative,” Steph explained.
Worm Soil was launched with the help of a Step Up for Business programme run by Bridgnorth business consultancy Good2Great. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Telford & Wrekin Council on behalf of partners Shropshire Council.
Luke added: “Good2Great has given us the confidence to know that we can succeed in our venture. After each training session we felt excited to take the next step and to use the tools we had been learning about to grow Worm Soil into a successful business.”