Five new projects have joined the pilot phase of Growing Livelihoods, a project to help create new opportunities in smaller-scale food growing for those new to the sector. In partnership with Carnegie UK Trust and the Land Settlement Association Charitable Trust (LSACT), we’re using innovation and co-operation to test models that may provide viable livelihoods for people.

The new projects are Cultivate (Cwm Harry) in Newtown, Beacon Farms in Bristol, Tamar Grow Local CIC, Falkland Small Growers and Cloughmills Community Action Team. You can read more about them below.

They will join the five initial projects that started in September 2014 – read more about who they are here, or watch our short film below. Thanks to a grant from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Growing Livelihoods has been able to recruit five new projects and will work with them to create case studies that will help others replicate the most successful elements.

Cultivate (Cwm Harry), Newtown, Powys

Cultivate will take on a new permanent trading space within Newtown’s Victorian Market Hall, allowing a dramatic expansion of sales, and will trade five days a week. They will focus on improving their marketing and messages to customers and the small network of growers involved. They’ll also be engaging with the wider community and documenting the highs and lows of growing and selling under a collective umbrella.

Beacon Farms, Bristol

Beacon Farms will form a hub with a small number of committed small-scale farming entrepreneurs to co-develop a site on a piece of local, council-owned land. Known as the ‘Blue Finger’, this land is high quality agricultural land that features rare and precious Grade 1 ‘Best and Most Versatile’ (BMV) soil. The hub will lease this site and work together, supporting each other and sharing infrastructure. Learning from their experience will be shared to help people new to the sector as they become involved in small-scale production on leased land in peri-urban areas (areas between rural and urban areas).

Tamar Grow Local CIC, Cornwall

Tamar Grow Local already provides support to new entrants into horticulture, including training, access to land and routes to market. This project will create the physical infrastructure to enable more collaborative working between tenants by converting an agricultural building into a shared packing room, meeting space and small office.

Falkland Small Growers, Falkland, Fife

Falkland Kitchen Farm and Meadowsweet Organics are newly established businesses on the Falkland Estate. Both businesses gained access to land through the estate’s New Farmer Scheme and organic certification from the Soil Association in May 2015. A membership network of local, small growers will be established in order to share services like promotion and marketing, new routes to market, access to equipment and ordering software. Educational events will highlight the diversity of land based careers available to young people.

Cloughmills Community Action Team

Cloughmills Community Action Team will install a geodesic dome (a spherical, lattice shell, like the Eden Project) to grow salad crops hydroponically (using mineral nutrient solutions in water and no soil) and mushrooms on spend coffee ground and shredded cardboard. These ventures have high yields and use techniques that are relatively easy to master. Co-workers will be recruited, a co-operative model investigated, and horticultural and enterprise training provided to young people who have been excluded from school, or to people experiencing unemployment.

For more information about Growing Livelihoods, click here.