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Lancaster social enterprise seeks land to create community farm

A Lancaster based social enterprise is looking for a landowner that’s willing to sell land for a pioneering community farm, education and training centre.

LESS is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company set up in 2007 to provide practical

Supported by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Funding, LESS is looking for land to purchase in Lancaster District for a community farm, to support the residents of Lancashire live more sustainably.

They’re calling on the Lancaster District food networks to support it in finding a landowner who wants to leave a legacy to the District and play a role in supporting a thriving local food system that is healthy, resilient and fair.

They seek to buy 10-60 acres to be used for agroecological food growing, as an education and training centre, and to host a range of other small enterprises and community initiatives that connect people with nature, food and the seasons.

The project will contribute towards the vision of a district where local residents have access to fresh local food, and where we build climate resilience through nature friendly farming.

Ellen Pearce, coordinator of the project and staff Director at LESS, commented: “Over the last few years, LESS has set up a market garden (The Plot) which has been supplying organic veg to around 50 households a week and to local cafes and shops.

‘’We also run a FarmStart training programme to equip people with the horticulture and business skills needed to run a small veg growing enterprise. This is part of our plan for increasing capacity within the District for growing healthy fruit and veg.

‘’We are now looking to build on these experiences to expand the amount of fruit and vegetables grown in the District and to be able to offer land as incubator plots for new growers and for a range of local food programmes and small businesses.

‘’The farm will also become the home for a food hub that collates and distributes food from a range of local food producers, and it will potentially be a key part of the infrastructure to support the Food Justice Partnership which works to ensure that everyone can access good quality, affordable food.”

Anna Clayton, coordinator of FoodFutures and also a staff Director at LESS added: “We are interested to hear from landowners who have an interest in passing land into community ownership, and who would work with us during the next 6 months to complete a sale.

‘’We are looking for land with a good aspect, soil analysis, and aspect/exposure suitable for growing – south, south/east or south/west facing, and suitable for a farm business.

‘’Ideally with good road access and public transport options, the site will be between 10-60 acres and be close to Lancaster and Morecambe. We have a detailed wish list, but are also open to exploring a range of sites and possibilities!”

To find out more, or to support this vision in becoming a reality, please contact Ellen Pearce on ellen@lessuk.org

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