My name is Rashid and I am one of four new farm starters who have enrolled onto this year’s programme. I have always been fascinated by the natural environment and have found myself drawn more and more to this field. I suppose the fairly intensive nature of the programme with two full days of learning each week drew me in to applying as I wanted to be well equipped with the tools needed to startup my own enterprise.

This is year two of the programme so it was really great to see the work the last year’s cohort did and to continue working on the land. We are also fortunate to have a further two plots of land that we will be working on this year and that is essentially a blank canvas for us all to work together on. At the time of writing we have completed approximately one months worth of learning and as you can imagine we are doing lots of work preparing the land for later on in the year. The sessions are a mix of theory and practical and so far we have had training sessions on soil, cultivation as well as fruit tree grafting and a business game programme which helped us to visualise all that is needed to create a start up right through the first 12 months.

Back in the real work, at the Plot, we are catering for customers and are packing and labelling each week as well as keeping an eye on what people are ordering. It is proving to be an invaluable course. I would like to add that I feel there is a simple joy in connecting with soil or perhaps any work that can occupy one’s mind so wholeheartedly. I have found the programme relaxing and therapeutic and the conversations you can have with people without the many other distractions of life encircling us is another simple pleasure. I attend on Wednesdays as one of my learning days and this coincides with general volunteers who come and work on the land so there are many conversations with lots of amazing people who want to help the organisation. I will end by saying that my thoughts at this early stage are that I have much to continue to learn as well as much to read!

For more information about the Plot and Lancaster’s FarmStart scheme see www.the-plot.uk

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