Jy­oti Fer­nan­des

Country Life Every Week - - Sustainabi­lity -

Jy­oti Fer­nan­des (be­low) has run a 23-acre agroe­col­ogy small­hold­ing at Fivepenny Farm (www.fivepen­ny­ca­ter­ing.com) in the Dorset hills since 2003. She’s a trustee of the Land Work­ers’ Al­liance, with a fo­cus on bring­ing more peo­ple into farm­ing, via small and fam­ily farms. The av­er­age age of Bri­tish farm­ers is 59 and only 3% are un­der 35 years old, but farm­ing it­self is un­sus­tain­able with­out new farm­ers mov­ing in. ‘What the pan­demic has shown us,’ she says, ‘is that small, lo­cal farm busi­nesses can adapt faster than the big guys. For them, it’s all or noth­ing, but our mem­bers aren’t only help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, they’re im­prov­ing lo­cal ac­cess to af­ford­able food.’ The Al­liance runs a pro­gramme called Farm­start (www.kin­dling.org.uk/farm­start), which helps young, mo­ti­vated peo­ple with­out cap­i­tal or con­nec­tions get a start in farm­ing on a small scale.

Small is beau­ti­ful: David Salt­marsh, hus­band of Jy­oti Fer­nan­des, with Ox­ford Sandy and Black pigs on the cou­ple’s 23-acre Dorset farm

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