FarmStart is a kind of business incubator that enables trainees to work within a structured programme to gain the necessary skills and experience to set up a local commercial food growing business. Trainees will be able to join the scheme part-time for an agreed time-frame of up to five years and will have access to land, training, shared tools/machinery and other support. Strengthening the local food economy is a key aim of a FarmStart scheme.
The ‘FarmStart’ model originated in Canada and has now been piloted in the UK. Closest to home, the Kindling Trust in Manchester has been running a scheme since 2013. The Kindling Trust have worked in partnership with other local growers and buyers through the Manchester Veg People which is a cooperative on a mission to bring about a sustainable food revolution - providing local, organic, high quality produce. Graduates of the Kindling Trust FarmStart scheme have gone on to secure jobs with existing growers, to set up growing on other sites and to work in a range of other exciting food related projects.
Although there are lots of community food growing projects in Lancaster, without a farming background or a significant amount of money it can be difficult to start a new career in this area.
FarmStart is aimed at people who might want to transition from community or allotment growing to commercial production, or who want to start a new career in sustainable food growing. To understand the interest and backgrounds of potential FarmStarters in the area, we have set up an online survey https://bit.ly/2HKcpTi . Filling this in will enable us to better understand local demand for the scheme and how it might best work locally.
If you are potentially interested in joining the scheme as a FarmStarter, please complete the survey https://bit.ly/2HKcpTi We would love to hear from you!
The project is also exploring local resources to support the project such as the availability of funding, suitable land, training partners and organisations interested in sourcing locally produced food.
If you are interested in supporting the scheme in terms of providing expertise, training, land, work experience or other resources, please email [email protected]