Farmstarts, also known as Incubator Farms, will be setting up in cities in the north in the next couple of years. Our northern pathfinder cities, Lancaster, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham, have been following a co-designed workshop programme over Spring / Summer 2021, learning from existing successful Farmstart projects across the UK about how to set up a Farmstart in their own city.
Setting up pathways to support a new generation of farmers is essential if our future food systems are to function. There are seven Farmstarts of different kinds across the UK, all using different models to achieve the same thing – supported, on the job training for people wanting to create viable small farm businesses. Farmstarts provide access to land, to community, to teaching and mentoring and business development.
This piece of work has been funded by Necessity and is a collaboration between UAC and The Landworkers Alliance, which coordinates the national Farmstart Network.
The LWA produced the guide ‘How to set up a FarmStart’ in 2019. This provides a template for our process.
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, many of us were meeting in person for the first time.
What’s next in 2022?
Early this year, each of the northern farmstarts will be concluding their feasibility process and we’ll be continuing our collaboration with LWA with a view to securing next-stage funding for the northern farmstarts, and possibly to initiate a Farmstart feasibility process with a new cluster of cities in the Midlands as we begin a new UAC collaboration there.
If you would like to be involved in a regional Farmstart process like this, with other places. Please get in touch.