New FarmStart training programme launches across Lancaster district

A Lancaster-based social enterprise has opened applications for the first ever FarmStart training programme in north Lancashire.

Friday, 11th December 2020, 11:59 am
Updated Friday, 11th December 2020, 12:02 pm
A Lancaster-based social enterprise has opened applications for the first ever FarmStart training programme in north Lancashire.

The scheme by LESS will provide hands-on training and mentoring to aspiring growers who are interested in running small-scale farms.

The broader vision is to build capacity to produce locally grown food through a ring of producers and farms working collaboratively around the Lancaster district.

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for short supply chains, adaptable business models and collaboration between local producers, retailers and consumers.

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Alongside this, the need to connect people with their food, nature and the land is crucial in building a local resilient food economy.

As the world enters a post-Covid recession, it is also crucial that we are able to provide meaningful jobs for local people.

The FarmStart model aims to combat some of the challenges involved with entering the conventional food system as a new grower, by providing:

- Access to land (which can be unaffordable for many).

- Training on small-scale climate resilient approaches to food growing.

- A community of support.

- Access to the local market.

- Collaborative approaches to developing local supply and distribution models.

LESS are now launching a FarmStart training programme in the Lancaster district in order to support the set-up of new food growing enterprises around north Lancashire.

From two small paddocks at Old Holly Farm near Garstang the site will be developed into a training centre for would-be small-scale farmers and a supplier of local organic produce.

Over time, the vision is to support the education and training needed for a ring of farms and associated food processing in north Lancashire.

LESS are now seeking four committed people to join the first ever FarmStart training programme in north Lancashire, starting in February 2021.

The curriculum will be delivered through specialist classroom sessions, on the job training and mentoring and farm visits to other local projects.

The course curriculum will include site planning and set up, crop planning for a north west location, soil and weed management, composting and green manures, propagation and growing techniques, harvesting and packaging, pricing and sales.

The focus will be on growing at commercial scale, using organic, regenerative principles, and building a resilient local food production and distribution system within north Lancashire.

To apply to join the first ever year-long FarmStart programme in north Lancashire, go online hereBursaries are available and the application deadline is 10pm, Tuesday December 15.

To join an online information session about the FarmStart programme at 1-1.45pm on Friday December 11, email [email protected]