The Plot staff team

Dennis Touliatos

Grower and FarmStart trainer

Smiling man harvesting tomatoes

Dennis is the Grower and FarmStart trainer at the Plot. He oversees all aspects of the growing and site management, and supervises and trains the FarmStarters day to day, including delivering dedicated training sessions. 

Read about Dennis’s reflections on coming into the role – here.

Lucy Axton

Seasonal Grower/Packer

Lucy is a seasonal grower and packer, working 2-3 days a week at the Plot this season. She oversees the packing of the orders and crop-shares, and supports the Grower with harvesting and managing the farm. Lucy previously completed the FarmStart programme in 2021 (her profile is below).

Ellen Pearce

Plot/FarmStart Coordinator

Ellen is the coordinator for the project. She undertook the original feasibility study for the set up of the FarmStart programme, and co-ordinates the project, strategy and funding, alongside wider work to develop the local food economy. She facilitates the project meetings and delivers some of the FarmStart training sessions.

Read Ellen’s reflections on the first year in Autumn 2021 – here.

James Smith

Project Support and Trainer

James has been involved in supporting the Plot and FarmStart project since 2020. He brings his experience of setting up Growing Well, a mental health project near Kendal and working on a number of community growing initiatives and businesses. James also delivers FarmStart training sessions.

Every year a team of FarmStarters work alongside the Plot team, learning the growing and business skills needed to run a small enterprise. Many of our previous FarmStarters are now working as growers or in land-based roles.

FarmStart 2023


FarmStart Trainee

You can read more about Andi’s FarmStart journey here.


FarmStart Trainee

You can read more about Lisa’s FarmStart journey here.


FarmStart Trainee

You can read about Emma’s FarmStart journey here


FarmStart Trainee

You can read about Martin’s FarmStart journey here


FarmStart Trainee

You can read more about Finn’s FarmStart journey here


FarmStart Trainee

You can read more about Finn’s FarmStart journey here

FarmStart 2022


Head Grower

Read Andy’s introduction on starting FarmStart here

Read Andy and Jo’s reflections on the FarmStart programme here

Following the FarmStart programme, Andy was successful in securing a Head Grower role at the Living Potential Care Farm just outside Leeds. He is putting in place business and growing plans for restoration of a walled garden and developing a community support agriculture scheme.



Read Jo’s introduction to being on the FarmStart programme here.  

Read Andy and Jo’s reflections on the FarmStart programme here

Since completing the FarmStart programme in December 2022, Jo worked as a grower for Home Grown Here in Cumbria until late Spring 2023, when she set off to work and tour growing projects in Europe. She also set up and is leading a national campaign for a universal basic income for farmers.


Community growing project coordinator

Read Rashid’s introduction here

Rashid used the FarmStart programme to gather enough background and understanding to be able to progress a project in Nelson for a community growing project for the Pakistani community.

FarmStart 2021


Seasonal Grower

Read Lucy’s introduction here.  

Since completing the FarmStart programme Lucy has grown lots more raspberries and allotment veg, which were sold last summer in Low Sizergh Shop. In May 2023, she joined the Plot team as a seasonal grower and packer.


Volunteer at the Plot

Read Paula’s introduction here

Paula has continued to come to the Plot as our most regular volunteer since completing the FarmStart programme. She is still committed to moving to the Scottish Islands and having a croft :and having growing food being an integrated part of life.



Read Sam’s introduction here

Read Sam’s reflections on finishing as the Plot’s seasonal grower in Autumn 2022 here.  

The year after completing the FarmStart programme, Sam returned to the Plot two days a week as a seasonal grower. Following this, he took the decision to focus on his academic career, intending to come back to the dream of being a grower in the future.

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