The Plot opens applications for FarmStart 2024

Are you interested in growing food on a commercial scale, or setting up a small-scale horticultural business? Would you like to play an active role in setting up new food growing enterprises around North Lancashire?

We are looking for a group of committed, enthusiastic and local trainee FarmStarters to join our market-garden team at Old Holly Farm (near Garstang) and our polytunnel in White Lund (Morecambe) for a full growing season of training in 2023.

The FarmStart model at The Plot aims to combat some of the challenges involved with entering the food system as a new grower. These challenges include accessing land, finding customers and learning new skills.

Locally grown food is also a vital part of our vision for a healthy, fair and resilient way of feeding people within Lancaster District.

We believe that by connecting more closely with nature, land and food, we can build a local food economy that provides meaningful employment and gives us more control over where our food comes from and how it is produced. This is in contrast to the huge global supply chains dominated by corporate interests which we saw break down during Covid and be susceptible to other impacts, such as the war in Ukraine.

FarmStart is a year-long programme where you spend two days a week working with an experienced grower across our two diverse sites. Dedicated training and mentoring covers the horticultural and business skills needed to set up and run a small-scale market garden in the future.

Our previous FarmStart trainees have joined us for a range of reasons but all shared a desire to be a part of the solution. 

In March, earlier this year, Finn said: ‘I chose the FarmStart training to find out more about what I could grow and how, and how to be more food independent.’

At the same time, Emma wanted to connect with others who wanted to change the local food system: ‘For me one of the really important aspects of the FarmStart programme is to be able to connect with others with a shared vision of how our local food system could be in the future.’

In 2021, Lucy wondered ‘if she might turn a profit from growing’ and in 2022, Andy joined for a career change stating that ‘growing to me is holistic and draws many interests together.’ 

Working on the land and growing food can be hugely rewarding, but is also hard work. If you would like to find out more about whether this is for you visit

See more on the following information sheet.

All these issues and more are discussed in the Our Food Futures community food strategy for North Lancashire.

Find out more

If you are interested please join us for a voluntary work session/ taster session on-site at the Plot, on any of these dates, 9-1pm: 

  • Wednesday, 29 November
  • Wednesday, 6 December
  • Wednesday, 13 December

Please confirm your attendance to 

It’s important that you come and visit the farm, and do a couple of hours on-site in advance of making an application. If you are not able to join on the dates mentioned, please contact us to arrange a suitable time (email:

Apply for FarmStart 2024

Apply here: 

The deadline for applications is by 10am on Tuesday, 9 January 2024.

Interviews will take place on Friday, 19 January 2024.


You can read about experiences of our previous FarmStart trainees here: 

Further monthly news articles are available on 

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