Beacon Farms is an organisation with our roots planted firmly in the soil. We are passionate about safeguarding Bristol’s high quality farm land for appropriate uses, now and in the future. We aim to support a new generation of growers to make a livelihood, grow good food and build a strong community, whilst learning from the land.
We are a social enterprise and land trust incorporated as a Community Benefit Society (a type in Industrial and Provident Society) based on Co-ops UK Community Finance Rules. We have a board of directors, a core group and advisers. Once we get established on some land we will develop a democratic membership (with the capability of issuing community shares) and protect land any land we own through an asset lock.
The five objectives enshrined in our rules are to:
- Protect high grade agricultural land, so that it can be used now, and in the future, for the production of horticultural crops for local urban populations.
- Make land available for new growers and groups wishing to develop small-scale commercial enterprises to produce food for the local area using organic and sustainable methods and to sell into local markets.
- Provide training, and access to accredited qualifications where appropriate, in sustainable production methods and growing techniques, appropriate technology, and all aspects of running a sustainable horticultural business.
- Ensure that habitat conservation is undertaken.
- Work with the local community and customers to ensure that the enterprise is supporting their local food needs and providing opportunities for them to engage with the land.
Why are we doing it?
In the face of more unpredictable and extreme weather due to climate change, and scarcer and more expensive resources on which the current mainstream agricultural system is built, there is an urgent need to improve the resilience of our food and farming system in the UK. Beacon Farms believe that developing and rediscovering a deeper respect for our land and soil; valuing and prioritising thriving local food economies and, providing high quality learning and support to the next generation of sustainable growers and farmers we can help to address some of the challenges facing food and farming in the UK.
We can help to increase the amount of food produced by agroecological methods on the most suitable soils and distributed via short local supply chains – we can do this not only from land we safeguard but by bringing on a new generation of confident and skilled growers who are ready to run their own food producing enterprises. We can engage our own community and, through our short courses, people from across the country, in a greater understanding of the processes that connect everybody with the source of their food.
Together we can put love and respect for food, farmers, soil and biodiversity back at the heart of the farming system and make that the new mainstream.