Farmstarts can set up pathways to support a new generation of farmers, offering support, on the job training for people wanting to create viable small farm businesses, providing access to land, to community, to teaching and mentoring and business development.

In 2021 we worked with partners in Lancaster, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Sheffield, and Nottingham and offered a co-designed workshop programme, learning about successful Farmstart projects across the UK. This ongoing work is a collaboration between UAC and The Landworkers Alliance who produced the original, definitive ‘How to set up a FarmStart’ guide in 2019. This provided a template for our workshop process. The workshop content was taught by growers at Tamar Grow Local, Kindling Trust, Mach Maethlon, and OrganicLea. The workshops followed the LWA guide and looked in depth at:

  • Feasibility study process
  • Models and foundational steps (national and international case studies)
  • Training and progression
  • Costing, funding, and local support
  • A Farmstart visit.
  • Securing future funding for next steps / implementation

We visited the Kindling Trust’s Woodbank site in September 2021: many of us were meeting in person for the first time after Covid lockdown.
Early in 2022, each of the new northern farmstarts developed their ideas and their feasibility process. Lancaster continued to develop its plans, whilst Middlesbrough launched its Farmstart in Spring 2022 under the expert teaching of Catherine at Barefoot Kitchen, Supported by Joe at Middlesbrough Environment City.  Sheffield has made great progress on a new site, but Nottingham has found it difficult to secure a site.

There is both need and interest in establishing Farmstarts among our partners in the Midlands and East regions. In 2023 we were commissioned to undertake a feasibility study for Nottinghamshire County Council, looking into the opportunities for Farmstarts to support food security and wellbeing across the county. Further opportunities to develop this work in Nottinghamshire and the wider east/midlands region are pending.

If you would like to be involved in a regional Farmstart initiative, please get in touch.