The UK’s Growing Livelihoods scheme to foster smaller-scale food growing has added a further five projects to the pilot phase it launched last year. The new arrivals in the Growing Livelihoods family are Bristol’s Beacon Farms, the Cwm Harry Cultivate group in south Wales, Cloughmills Community Action Team in Northern Ireland, the Cornish Tamar Grow Local group and Falkland Small Growers in Fife.
The Tamar Grow Local group will convert an agricultural building into a shared packhouse, meeting space and office. This will extend the existing support for new market gardeners, who will be able to work together and establish new routes to market.
With the Falkland Estate earning organic certification in May this year, two new businesses have been set up to establish a network of local growers. Falkland Kitchen Farm and Meadowsweet Organics are part of a plan to share equipment and services such as marketing organic crops.
Cloughmills Community Action Team is building a geodesic dome, like the Eden Project, in which hydroponic salad crops will be grown, alongside mushrooms raised on spent coffee grounds and shredded cardboard. The project will create new jobs for a planned co-operative venture that will also train young people facing exclusion from school or the unemployed.
Beacon Farms is developing a hub for a group of small-scale farming businesses that will work a rare council-owned area of grade 1 agricultural land, known locally as the Blue Finger. The long term aim is to pool experience in small-scale production on peri-urban holdings.
The Cwm Harry Cultivate group in Newtown, Powys, is to take over a section of the local market hall, with five-day opening. As well as engaging with a wider public, the group will document the ups and downs of collective growing and selling.
The case study aspect of these projects is at the heart of the Growing Livelihoods scheme, which sets out to develop a deeper pool of shared knowledge on small-scale local food production. Growing Livelihoods is a partnership comprising the Plunkett Foundation, the Land Settlement Charitable Trust and the Carnegie UK Trust, with support from the Esmee Fairburn Foundation to recruit the additional five projects. Further details of the Growing Livelihoods scheme can be found here.
See below for ARC2020’s animation on an initiative supported by Growing Livelihoods – Farm Start Manchester. The video animation ,about the broader Manchester Veg People initiative – explains how this initiative relates to agroecology and the Common Agricultural Policy. Manchester Veg People is also featured in the accompanying brochure (available in six languages).