Our FarmStart programme is the UK’s very first incubator initiative for organic farmers, providing training, affordable access to land, infrastructure, shared equipment and a ready market. This year we’ve got three new FarmStarters spread over two sites who are about to get stuck into their first ever season of organic veg production on a commercial scale. They'll be documenting their unique experiences over the growing season as they get to grips with creating new land-based livelihoods, so watch this space...
Sports coach Belinda is starting out as a FarmStart trainee at our Woodbank Park site in urban Stockport, having already experienced working at both sites through the Land Army, and inspired by the growers she’s encountered. With a background in training and currently studying the RHS Level 2 Practical Horticultural course she’s got her sights on blending her two skill sets; “I would like to be involved in introducing children and young adults to farming. As I come from a background of working with and coaching children to adults, I know how important it is to teach the next generation new skills, especially about the environment. This could lead to them being inspired to think about an interest or even a career in farming”.
Salford-based Adrian is a keen amateur grower and podcaster looking for a total career change, and is hoping one day “to be self-employed growing my own produce, for local community groups, reasonably close to where I live. And who knows, maybe share a conversation or two with individuals involved in my journey on podcasts and blogs”. He started growing in order to eat well on a budget, but caught the bug and it developed into what he describes as “a totally enjoyable and passionate experience over the years”. He’s come to FarmStart Woodbank hoping to develop his growing skills and knowledge, surround himself with like-minded individuals and become involved in a wider community network of food growers.
A few miles away at our Abbey Ley site near Knutsford in rural Cheshire, Durga Katta will be juggling his job as an IT consultant with managing a quarter acre plot. Durga grew up on a farm in India, and is planning on producing vegetables typically used in Asian cooking. He’s already been producing these successfully on his allotment and after having completed Kindling’s Commercial Growers Course last year, has been inspired to scale up production at FarmStart in order to try and supply Asian supermarkets with locally produced alternatives.
Welcome aboard! Here's to a great growing season in 2017.