Defra Grant Keeps Farmer’s Initiative Running For Another Year

A farm walk organised by the group

A farm walk organised by the group

The Isles of Scilly Farmers’ and Growers’ Initiative has received funding from Defra to continue its work for another 12 months.

The organisation, which supports local farmers and food producers, had been facing closure at the end of 2013 when their existing money ran out.

In the last year they’ve arranged fact-finding visits to mainland businesses that have diversified from farming into local produce sales. They’ve also arranged open days and farm tours for locals to increase awareness of farmers’ work among islanders.

Chairman Ben Julian says it’s important to have a body that brings farmers together in the same way that mainland counterparts get to share ideas and issues when they attend markets.

Manager Jess Vian says the £33,000 Defra grant will allow the initiative to operate until the end of this year, albeit with reduced staff hours.

In November, the islands’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty said they would help to keep it going if they couldn’t find any more cash.

They pledged the majority of this year’s £25,000 Strategic Development Fund, the first time they’ve planned to use the grant pot for a single project.

Jess says the Initiative are currently planning what activities to deliver this year with the resources now available.