The Plot is a new initiative to grow more food in North Lancashire. We grow organic fruit, vegetables and herbs whilst training and supporting new growers who want to set up their own enterprises to produce local food.
Our produce is grown at Old Holly Farm near Garstang and at White Lund between Lancaster and Morecambe.
Our sites both act as an exemplar small growing business and host the FarmStart training programme which covers business and horticultural skills and supports the transition of trainees to new businesses.
Provide Some Land to Grow
We are always on the lookout for more land for food growing in and around North Lancashire. If you have access to land that might be able to be sold, donated or leased to this project, please contact email@example.com
Our vision is for a growing ring of producers around the Lancaster District, working collaboratively and strategically to supply food to local people.
Our mission is for a thriving demonstration farm which connects people with food, land, seasonality and nature; trains and inspires people in innovative and resilient approaches; and trades and collaborates ethically within the local and wider food systems
Our intention is to build environmental health and local wealth; and in a collaborative, open and inclusive way enable regeneration and resilience in the local food supply.
We run 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 build capacity by creating more growers and brokering new sites to increase local production of fruit and vegetables.
In 2018, LESS commissioned a feasibility study into a Lancaster-based FarmStart initiative. The work scoped the potential for sales of local produce; the interest of local people in training to be small-scale farmers and earning a living from growing food; and the logistics/partners for such a project.
In 2019, having secured grant funding, we ran a pilot Growers’ Support Course for would-be FarmStarters. This engaged an emerging community of those wanting to access opportunities for training as small-scale sustainable farmers.
During those two years we were also seeking partners and a site for the programme. On 1 June 2020 we took over the lease of a small plot (just under an acre) of land at Old Holly Farm, located just off the A6 between Lancaster and Garstang. In January 2021 we also took over the lease for an indoor growing site on the Lancaster City Council White Lund Nursery site.
From two small paddocks and a polytunnel the sites will be developed into a training centre for would-be small-scale farmers and a supplier of local organic produce. Over time, our vision is to support the education and training needed for a ring of farms and associated food processing in North Lancashire.
We have set up a small society lottery fundraising scheme to raise money for the project and engage a wider community around the issues that the project stands for.
The site (in combination, we hope, with other sites around the city) will both act as an exemplar small growing business and host the FarmStart training programme which will cover business as well as horticultural skills.
Our FarmStart programme is a year-long scheme, beginning each February. It aims to enable future growers to learn both business and horticulture skills needed to run a small-scale growing enterprise, and to help overcome some of the barriers to accessing land and markets.
The curriculum is delivered through specialist classroom sessions, on-the-job training (2 days a week), mentoring and farm visits to other local projects.
The focus is on growing at commercial scale and on commercial terms, using organic, regenerative principles, and building a resilient local food production and distribution system within north Lancashire.
More information about the 2022 programme will be available in the Autumn 2021. Bursaries are available.
You can register your interest in our next programme by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can meet our current FarmStart trainees through our News page