The Plot’s vision is for a growing ring of producers around the Lancaster District, working collaboratively and strategically to supply food to local people.

The Plot runs an annual FarmStart programme which is a year-long hands-on training course for new entrant farmers who want to learn more about growing food for a living. We hear from Shona, one of our recent FarmStarter recruits…

“It feels like FarmStart has been a long time coming. 

I have always seen myself as a grower in some capacity and have done various relevant courses and projects over the years. Working with plants and getting my hands dirty grounds me and is something I love to do. It is also the best way for me to connect to the seasons and cycles of life.

It would be easy to be overly romantic, but the back bending hard work and, at times, numbing cold is a reality check as to what farmers have to go through to provide the food we rely on to survive.

I have come to realise this is a key word for me at the moment – survival – it touches on some of the serious concerns I have about the challenges we currently face as a society, that underpin some of my motivation for doing FarmStart. I feel strongly that we need to change a great deal about the way we live and work as a community and country if we are to thrive, or even survive. Part of this change involves [of course] restoring the environment and addressing climate change but also addressing inequality, poverty and poor health. 

I have come to the conclusion this must happen at a local level because the national government does not offer solutions. FarmStart for me provides an opportunity to act and potentially contribute to meaningful change through organic growing. Food production and sustainability are political issues, as is access to and stewardship of land, as well as who gets to eat what. I am ultimately of the view that we can survive and even thrive but we must embrace change and imagine creative solutions.

As a homoeopath, I understand the innate healing nature of plants, as food and medicine. I am inspired and awed every day by the capacity of ‘nature’ to sustain and heal us. My dream is to work collectively with others as an organic grower to provide quality and affordable food at a local level, without depleting or polluting the wider environment, rather respecting and working with it. FarmStart is an exciting step in that direction. I am grateful for the opportunity to take part.”

If you would like to find out more about the FarmStart programme and The Plot visit www.foodfutures.org.uk/the-plot

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