Growing Livelihoods is working to create, test and promote new opportunities in smaller-scale food growing.
Growing Livelihoods is a partnership between the Carnegie UK Trust, Plunkett Foundation and the Land Settlement Association Charitable Trust. It builds on a connection starting in 1934 through the Land Settlement Association, a pioneering scheme which enabled thousands of people to achieve livelihoods as food growers which they would not have been able to achieve alone.
Through Growing Livelihoods, we are supporting projects aimed at those new to the sector, young people or those seeking a new direction. This initiative has a particular focus on the use of co-operation and innovation to help create viable livelihoods in this sector.
Phase 1 of the project began in September 2014, supporting five projects in the UK and Ireland. With funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation , (phase 2) allowed us to offer support to a further five projects in August 2015.
Please click on the points on the map to the right of the page to find out more about the projects in that area.
Gina joined the Trust in 2014, bringing more than a decade of experience in developing projects, public affairs and research. She currently focuses on the development of innovative practice, partnerships and communications for the Trust.
Previously, Gina coordinated the development and national rollout of the Scottish Government’s ‘No Knives, Better Lives’ (NKBL) initiative, based at YouthLink Scotland. This youth engagement, education and social marketing programme has demonstrably contributed to positive change in policy, practice and partnership working in relation to violence reduction. She has held various policy, public affairs, research and tutoring posts in the voluntary and higher education sectors, and worked for an MSP during the first term of the devolved Scottish Parliament.
Gina volunteers within the criminal justice system and also serves as a member of the Children’s Panel, the largest legal tribunal in Scotland, making vital decisions to help improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people.
Gina is a member of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR), and holds degrees in Sociology & Politics MA(Hons) and Childhood Studies MSc, both from the University of Edinburgh.
She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and sons and is usually to be found with a camera slung over her shoulder.
For more information about Growing Livelihoods please click through each location
- Tamar Grow Local CIC, Cornwall.
- Sutton Food Growing Business Incubator, Greater London.
- Beacon Farms, Bristol.
- The Severn Project CIC, Bristol.
- Ferry Farm, East Anglia.
- Cultivate (Cwm Harry), Newtown, Powys.
- FarmStart Manchester, Greater Manchester.
- Falkland Small Growers, Falkland, Fife.
- Birr Community Growery, Co. Offaly, Ireland.
- Cloughmills Community Action Team.
Tamar Grow Local CIC, Cornwall
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.
Sutton Food Growing Business Incubator, Greater London
Centred around the unique opportunities in growing food on an urban fringe. New entrants will become members of Sutton Community Farm and can test out their ideas and market through collaboration. Sutton Community Farm will provide equipment, mentoring and peer-support, access to market and polytunnel growing space. Samuel Smith, Managing Director, Sutton Community Farm “We are delighted to have support from Growing Livelihoods to launch a co-operative Food Growing Business Incubator, an innovative way to support new entrants into farming, that would not otherwise have the opportunity.”
Beacon Farms, Bristol
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.
The Severn Project CIC, Bristol
The Severn Project’s urban farms produce and supply quality salad across Bristol and beyond and are run by passionate individuals with track records in helping people from socially excluded groups, such as those recovering from substance misuse, with poor mental health or offending backgrounds. Over the coming year they will be working to develop an improved engagement offer to apprentices, an empowering hub for satellite growers and increased revenue through production, processing and distribution.
Ferry Farm, East Anglia
Katie Bliss from Ferry Farm says, “Our family farm started with my Great Grandfather on one acre; as more and more small and medium sized farms disappear, we can see it is harder for small-scale growers to get access to land. We would like to create opportunities for entrepreneurial new growers to get access to land on fair leases. We look forward to exploring how we can make this happen on our family farm and share our lessons with others.” The feasibility study will engage key stakeholders in order to design an appropriate model to pilot in the 2016 growing season.
Cultivate (Cwm Harry), Newtown, Powys
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.
FarmStart Manchester, Greater Manchester
FarmStart Manchester started in April 2013 as the UK’s first incubator farm for new growers to trial their farming business ideas in a low-risk setting. People can rent a small enough area of land to farm part-time (so they can generate an income through other means), but big enough to experience field scale farming while being supported with training, mentoring, tools and access to market. Over the year, they will develop a comprehensive training programme that can be used by others, host a conference and provide support to interested groups and produce an online manual describing how FarmStart Manchester was set up.
Falkland Small Growers, Falkland, Fife
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.
Birr Community Growery, Co. Offaly, Ireland
Building on the established Birr Tidy Towns initiative, Birr Community Growery will be established and act as a Community Food Hub hosting a variety of activities, programs, and services. A formal participatory structure will be explored and developed and access to land confirmed, to deliver this. A local food distribution model, Biabox, will be established. Support will be given to new and existing food producers to enable them to get their product to market locally. Education and training courses will be provided at the Growery and allotment site, and via the Tidy Towns model.
Cloughmills Community Action Team
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.