August 13, 2015

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Written by Gina Wilson, Senior Project Officer, Carnegie UK Trust

Our recent open call for new pilot projects was met by a fantastic response.Inspiring small-scale food growing ventures from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will join those already underway in England and Ireland.

Growing Livelihoods is a partnership project between the Carnegie UK Trust, Plunkett Foundation and the Land Settlement Association Charitable Trust (LSACT). We are working to help create new opportunities in smaller-scale food growing for those new to the sector. Through innovation and co-operation we are testing models which may provide viable livelihoods.

Red-vein Sorrel

The initial five projects (phase 1) started in September 2014. You can read about who they are and watch a short film of them talking about their work. A grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has allowed us to extend Growing Livelihoods and recruit more pilots. Case studies of all the projects will be produced, including any ‘blueprints’ to enable others to replicate the most successful elements.

We’re delighted to share details of the five new projects (phase 2) starting this month.

Cultivate (Cwm Harry), Newtown, Powys @CwmHarry

Cultivate will take on a new permanent trading space within Newtown’s Victorian Market Hall, allowing a dramatic expansion of sales, and trading five days a week. A key focus will be on improving marketing and messages to customers and the small network of growers involved. Cultivate will be engaging with the wider community and documenting the highs and lows of growing and selling under a collective umbrella.

Beacon Farms, Bristol @BeaconFarms

Beacon Farms will co-develop a site with a small number of committed small-scale farming entrepreneurs, taking a land-partnerships approach to leasing a piece of Council owned land on Bristol’s Grade 1 ‘Blue Finger’. This Hub will provide shared infrastructure and mutual support. Learning from its set-up will be shared to support new-entrants involved in small scale production in peri-urban areas on leased land.

Tamar Grow Local CIC, Cornwall @TamarGrowLocal

Tamar Grow Local already provides support to new entrants into horticulture, including training, access to land and routes to market. This project will create the physical infrastructure to enable more collaborative working between tenants of the starter horticultural units by converting an agricultural building into a shared packing room, meeting space and small office.

Falkland Kitchen Farm and Meadowsweet Organics are newly established businesses on the Falkland Estate. Both businesses gained access to land through the estates New Farmer Scheme and organic certification from the Soil Association in May 2015. A membership network of local small growers will be established in order to share services: promotion and marketing opportunities, new routes to market, delivery routes, access to equipment, a website, an online database and ordering software. Educational events will highlight the diversity of land based careers available to young people.

Cloughmills Community Action Team@CloughmillsCAT

A geodesic dome will be installed to grow salad crops hydroponically and mushrooms on spent coffee grounds and shredded cardboard. Both ventures operate in relatively confined spaces, have high yields and utilise techniques which are relatively easy to master. Co-workers will be recruited, a co-operative model investigated, and horticultural and enterprise training provided to young people excluded from school or people experiencing unemployment.

Join the conversation #GrowingLivelihoods