First Steps on the Farming Ladder

A range of organisations from across the country will be presenting their work in establishing new entrant opportunities. This will be followed by a discussion on how we can all work together to support and increase those opportunities. The emphasis will be on agreeing some clear ways forward.

Alison Rickett
Alison was brought up on a tenanted mixed arable and dairy farm and after completing her HND in Agriculture worked as a field trials officer. An interest in training developed and she subsequently ran a land based training company during which time she qualified as a skills assessor and trainer. A post as rural skills adviser to the National Trust followed and
it is here that her work with new entrants took off. Since then she has become a freelance consultant specialising in training and promoting new businesses and careers. Her work includes project management for ‘Bright Crop’ the land based careers initiative and directing her own Fresh Start Land Enterprise Centre (CIC), after five years as the national project manager for Fresh Start.
Twitter @FreshStartLand

Chris Walsh
Chris is co-founder of MERCi and Fairfield Materials Management, Chris is an accomplished social entrepreneur, also instrumental in establishing Debdale Eco Centre, Manchester Social Enterprise Forum and the Fuelling Manchester network. He worked for The Ethical Property Company to help set up the Green Fish centre in Manchester and played a role in establishing Greater Manchester’s first Tree Station – processing arboricultural waste into sustainable bio-mass.

His work at the Kindling Trust is focused on creating systematic change in the food system to make it truly sustainable. Through the Feeding Stockport partnership, Chris was instrumental in the Greater Manchester borough becoming one of only six UK cities to be funded through the Sustainable Food Cities Network. He also helped facilitate the development of a Greater Manchester Sustainable Food Strategy.

Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams is the Food Growing Programme Manager for Sustain. Sarah Williams joined Sustain in 2009, and is part of the Capital Growth team who successfully supported 2,012 new community food growing spaces by the end of 2012 in London. Sarah has also been involved in developing and fundraising for new areas of work, including the national Big Dig programme and work on health and food growing. Previous roles have involved working with various community groups, particularly at Groundwork East London where she was involved in various environmental regeneration projects. Sarah was also the Strategic Manager of the Newham Food Access Partnership, where for four years she coordinated the implementation a Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan.

Bonnie Hewson
Bonnie has been working in the community food sector for the past seven years, starting with urban food growing projects in Brixton before moving on to managing the Soil Association’s Community Supported Agriculture project as part of Making Local Food Work. Bonnie is currently involved with others in Bristol in establishing Beacon Farms, which intends to bring back market gardening to the high quality soils of Bristol’s peri-urban green belt. Beacon Farms intends to support entry level growers and provide them with the skills and support they need to make a viable livelihood from the land.
Twitter @craftytart, @beaconfarms


Audio Download