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Author Topic: Would like to set up a community smallholding  (Read 2918 times)

The Judingtons

  • Joined Mar 2012
Would like to set up a community smallholding
« on: March 15, 2012, 01:13:10 pm »
I have raised a small number of pigs over the last five years and currently have three on rented land.  I would love to set up a community smallholding with other people who have livestock and would like to grow vegetables. 

Does anyone have experience of this?  Any ideas on how to start and who to go to for land?

 :pig:
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suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: Would like to set up a community smallholding
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2012, 01:24:11 pm »
http://cwmharry.org.uk/local-growing/community-market-garden/

These people have something similar - mainly vegetables though - but I think they would be very helpful.

Gary Mitchell is the man to ask for
We do the best we can with the information we have

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Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Would like to set up a community smallholding
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2012, 01:43:08 pm »
TAS membert benkt is involved with Hempsals community farm and might be able to help:

http://www.hempsalsfarm.com/

He might pop up on this thread, if not send him a PM.

benkt

  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cambridgeshire
    • Hempsals Community Farm
Re: Would like to set up a community smallholding
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 09:58:07 pm »
Thanks Dan,

We bought our place about eighteen months ago, a dilapidated farmhouse with six acres. Like you, we'd kept pigs before (in a pig club) and also chickens and ducks as well as plenty of veg. We signed up our first members for 'Hempsals Community Farm' in April last year, offering half a pig, a Christmas goose as well as chicken and duck eggs. This year, we've extended production to include weekly veg boxes. This year we have 15 paying shares (monthly subscription all year round) and one work share (half a day a week).Each member family also commits to coming to at least one workday a month (which I run on Wednesdays and Saturdays every week).

Advice for starting up:

It is always hard to find land and a lot of smallholders end up in the wilds of Scotland or Wales which is may be ideal for self sufficiency, but I think it would make community farming much harder. Our subscriptions are high (compared to supermarket food) and most of our members live within five miles of the farm, so being ten miles from Cambridge really helps us - almost all of our members work in offices in the city during the week and love to spend their weekends out in the fresh air on the farm doing something practical.

I went on one of 'Making Local Food Work's training days which was a real help in deciding on how to structure the business and sort out the initial paperwork. The Soil Association have been quite helpful at points as well, although phone them quickly as their Community Supported Agriculture team is being shut down at the end of the month as funding for it comes to an end.

Try to find a balance between getting committees and doing it all yourself. It's so hard to get anything done when starting as a group or committee, my wife and I had the advantage of buying the land ourselves and being able to decide what we were going to offer and just getting on with that. One determined person can get a lot more done than ten people all waiting on each other to take the next step. Having said that, we started with a fantastic group of friends who agreed to form a 'steering group' to provide regular help and advice and we've now got a fully functional board (four farm members plus my wife and I) who are incredibly helpful with setting overall goals and helping me keep on top of all the paperwork and formalities.

I could go on like this for hours, but do ask more questions and I'll try to answer them. I'd also be happy to have a chat on the phone or even for you to drop by for a visit if you're close enough.

Ben

FiB

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Bala, North Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Would like to set up a community smallholding
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 09:34:34 am »
Wow - thats really inspiring and real food for thought.  I know I'm not maximising the potential of our land as a sole worker and what a great way of doing things.  Thanks for sharing.  Right must get off a***se/computer and get outside!!!!

chairmanphil

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Oxfordshire
Re: Would like to set up a community smallholding
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 05:53:31 pm »
hi there, welcome to the site, good luck with the project!  :wave:
1 acre of land where i am clearing trees and a swimming pool so we can make the land productive. MK3 hilux single cab pickup which has been completely rebuilt over the last 2 years matt black and cool as! no animals yet except a very furry black cat called Hansel (he is so hot right now)

 

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