If you’re interested in how farmstart projects get going, read this fanatstic short blog from Catherine Howell, coordinator of the Middlesbrough Farmstart project.
To connect with Catherine go to: https://www.facebook.com/BarefootKitchenCIC/
Farmstart Middlesbrough ‘23 kicked off this January with a small cohort of six participants raring to go! This is our second year. The group come from a mixed range of backgrounds, and all bring transferable skills that include community work, gardening, graphic design and cheffing. Their aspirations are as variable too, with some very specifically focusing on growing food as an enterprise, and others preferring a more social outcome.
Each participant is provided with access to a small plot of land with shared tools and resources (but are supported in their own spaces if they wish) and receive two hours of theoretical tuition each week, backed up with a workbook of information and self-test questions, and supplementary practicals. Site visits and work experience with local farmers have also been arranged for later in the season. January’s focus is tools – selection, use and repair!
Farmstart is delivered in Middlesbrough by Barefoot Kitchen CIC, which delivers ‘plot to plate’ projects in the town and surrounding area. With a local food catering specialism, as well as extensive horticulture experience, Farmstarters will also have the opportunity to see their produce develop into saleable goods available via retailers, the hospitality industry and direct to customers through farmers and artisan food markets and events.
The mood at the moment is of excitable chatter, ambitious ideas and a dawning realisation of the food system change that’s so desperately needed. Farmstart is just one mechanism for doing so, but with six eager new farmers waiting in the wings, Middlesbrough’s taken a big step towards making that happen.
Middlesbrough is a member of UAC’s northern cluster. UAC funded the Farmstart feasibility study in 2021/2, delivered with LWA.