Land Army helps Martha decide on growing career

Martha on working on their land on the Isle of Lewis

Land Army Profile - Martha Hamilton

Throughout my childhood we always grew veg in our back garden and as a kid I took it for granted. It wasn’t until I moved to Manchester that I realised just how important it was to me to be involved in growing food.  When I heard about the Land Army it really appealed to me so I decided to get involved. I always enjoyed the Land Army days I went to at the Woodbank site - even the time we ended up weeding in the rain! It was great to meet so many interesting and like-minded people and to be part of a project with tangible results. It also helped me realise how important sustainable food production is to me and that in the long term I want to work on the land full-time.

The Farm Start scheme really appealed to me and I was interested in attending the Commercial Growers Course. However, I had some exciting alternative plans going on. My brother and I had talked about having a small holding, but the idea seemed like a pipe dream due to land prices. However, after speculatively looking up crofts* for sale on the Isle of Lewis, we realised that it was actually feasible for us to put our plans into action. Eventually, after a complicated process taking over a year, my brother and I became owners of a croft on the Isle of Lewis. In our first season, with the help of windbreaks and a small polytunnel, we have grown more veg than we have ever done before. It’s amazing to be beginning the process of gradually transforming an area of land into a productive and beautiful site.

*a small agricultural landholding of a type which has been subject to special legislation applying to the Highland region of Scotland