A green scheme offering investors shares in a new local food growing co-operative has smashed its target.

The team behind Cultivate, which is planting a five-acre market garden near Didcot, has raised £82,000 – outstripping the £55,000 originally hoped for.

Now it is powering ahead with plans to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables sourced from its own land and that of local farmers around the county in a van. The van will be bought in June and the group has already identified an initial 14 stops around Oxford, Abingdon and Didcot where produce can be sold.

Julian Cottee, who helped to establish Cultivate with four friends in January, said: “The extra money means we can actually start the business as the original £55,000 was to cover things like capital expenses and land rental.”

Cultivate investors include Oxford Lord Mayor Elise Benjamin and Mike Jennings, chairman of Jennings of Garsington.