People interested in small-scale food production – particularly young people and those looking for a new career direction – are set to benefit from the extension of a nationwide programme to use innovation and co-operation to create viable livelihoods in farming.

The Growing Livelihoods partnership, made up of the Plunkett Foundation, Carnegie UK Trust and the Land Settlement Association Charitable Trust, are delighted that the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has agreed a grant to extend the number of pilot groups from five to ten.

Growing Livelihoods is an initiative that is working to create, test and promote new opportunities in smaller-scale food growing for those new to the sector, young people or those seeking a new direction. This initiative has a particular focus on the use of co-operation and innovation to help create viable livelihoods in this sector.

Growing Livelihoods is currently working with five pilot groups. Today we are also launching a new film which introduces the first five Growing Livelihoods pilots. An application process will shortly open to recruit the next five pilot groups. Each pilot will receive a small grant, access to specialist support and be part of a Growing Learning Network by linking up with other pilots and groups trying to achieve similar aims.

Mike Perry, Head of Development and Policy at the Plunkett Foundation, said: “We are delighted that such a respected organisation as the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has offered the Growing Livelihoods partnership a grant to extend our pilot programme. Through this work we aim to help support the development of co-operative approaches that assist smaller scale growers while at the same time helping to build a learning network.”

Gina Wilson, Senior Project Officer at the Carnegie UK Trust, said: “It’s fantastic news that our pilot programme is to double in size. The more innovators we bring together; the more we all learn. This grant builds on the significant investment already made by the Carnegie UK Trust and allows us to test more ideas. We’ll freely share information on what works and ‘open-source’ innovative and enterprising blueprints to help people across the UK create viable livelihoods.”

Growing Livelihoods is a partnership project between the Plunkett Foundation, Carnegie UK Trust and the Land Settlement Association Charitable Trust. It builds on a connection starting in 1934 through the Land Settlement Association, a pioneering scheme which enabled thousands of people to achieve livelihoods as food growers which they would not have been able to achieve alone.