Appeal for landowner who wants to leave a legacy in Lancaster providing food for future generations

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A Lancaster-based social enterprise is looking for a landowner who’s willing to sell land for a pioneering community farm, education and training centre.

LESS, a Community Interest Company set up in 2007, is appealing for a landowner who wants to leave a legacy to the district and play a role in supporting a ‘thriving local food

system that is healthy, resilient and fair’, now and into the future.

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LESS needs 10-60 acres to grow agroecological food, accommodate an education and training centre and host a range of other small enterprises and community initiatives

Some of LESS's FarmStarters.Some of LESS's FarmStarters.
Some of LESS's FarmStarters.

connecting people with nature, food and the seasons.

But they face the challenge of some family farms and large landowners not wanting to part with anything or selling their land with conditions which make it attractive to developers

rather than for sustainable food growing.

“We are interested to hear from landowners who have an interest in passing land into community ownership and who would work with us during the next six months to complete

Soil testing at a potential farm this summer.Soil testing at a potential farm this summer.
Soil testing at a potential farm this summer.

a sale,” said Anna Clayton, co-ordinator of FoodFutures and also a LESS staff director.

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“We are looking for land with a good aspect, soil analysis and aspect/exposure suitable for growing – south, south/east or south/west facing - and suitable for a farm business.”

Ideally, the land would have good road access and public transport and be close to Lancaster and Morecambe.

“We have a detailed wish list but are also open to exploring a range of sites and possibilities,” Anna added.

Scoping a potential farm with FarmStarters this month.Scoping a potential farm with FarmStarters this month.
Scoping a potential farm with FarmStarters this month.

LESS is supported by the Government through UK Shared Prosperity Funding and identified a need for this latest project from the ongoing award winning work of North Lancashire’s

FoodFutures partnership.

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In time, the aim is to create another unique model for working with the land in the community, contributing towards the vision of a district where local residents have access to

fresh local food and where climate resilience is built through nature friendly farming.

Over recent years, LESS has set up a market garden – The Plot – at Old Holly Farm near Garstang, which supplies organic vegetables to around 50 households weekly and to local

cafes and shops.

Less also run a FarmStart training programme to equip people with horticulture and business skills needed to run a small vegetable growing enterprise.

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This is part of our plan for increasing capacity within the district for growing healthy fruit and veg,” said Ellen Pearce, project co-ordinator and LESS staff director.

“We are now looking to build on these experiences to expand the amount of fruit and vegetables grown in the district and to offer land as incubator plots for new growers and for

a range of local food programmes and small businesses.”

The farm would also be home to a food hub, collating and distributing food from local food producers, potentially becoming a key part of the infrastructure to support the Food Justice

Partnership which aims to ensure that everyone can access good quality, affordable food.

For more information, contact Ellen Pearce at [email protected].

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