Scilly’s Farmers’ Initiative Seeking Funds To Continue Work

farmers association meeting 2012The Chairman of the Farmers’ and Growers’ Initiative says their work will probably have to stop after Christmas when grant money runs out.

And Ben Julian says there may not be any more funding from Europe for another two years.

The group was formed last year to bring farmers together to share ideas and best practice.

They’ve been on a mainland visit recently to see how farmers have diversified into food and retail there.

The group’s most high profile project has been the food directory produced by their Food Champion, Issy Tibbs. They’ve also arranged two open days, one on St Mary’s, the other on St Martins.

These events were planned to increase awareness of farming amongst islanders.

Ben says at least 90% of the islands’ farmers have been involved and the group has been inclusive. They’ve encouraged anyone who has some land to participate.

He says he’s desperate the find some interim grant money if only to keep part-time manager Jess Vian in her role.

There are too few farmers here to be able to fund a salary, even part time he says.

Ben expects to hear some news on funding, whether positive or negative, over the next few months. If support isn’t forthcoming, they’ll have to start afresh when more money comes in, he says.