Farm Start: Our Food Growing Business Incubator


Our Food Growing Business Incubator was a pilot project that ran in 2015. It aimed to support new entrants into farming by helping them test out their commercial food-growing enterprise ideas at a minimal risk. The project was supported by the Carnegie Trust and is no longer active, however we are still working with one of our original entrants to the programme, supporting her grow her herbal tea business.

Overcoming barriers faced by new entrants to farming

There are many challenges faced by new entrants to farming including a lack of access to finance, growing space and knowledge. In addition, some new entrants need to understand if a vocation in food production suits them before taking the plunge and buying or leasing land. Farm Starters benefit from:

  • Growing space and office space
  • Monthly one-to-one mentoring
  • Monthly peer-to-peer knowledge sharing sessions
  • Use of farm equipment and tools
  • Networks and local contacts
  • Shared market access: farmer markets, VegBox Schemes and restaurants
  • Utilities: electricity, water

What sort of food-growing enterprises might be suitable?

Farm Start is suitable for people who want to test out their ideas in food production. You may propose growing a conventional set of vegetables for sale. However, with close proximity to central London and limited and space, we are looking for entrants with an interest in niche food enterprises, suitable for the urban fringe. For example:

  • Edible flowers
  • Salad production
  • Speciality vegetable production (oriental)
  • Wheatgrass
  • Aquaponics system designer
  • Herbal tea business
  • Chilli / spice production
  • Tree nursery
  • Speciality or heritage nursery or seed production

We welcome Farm Start applicants to share with us their ideas for food enterprises.

Interested in Farm Start?

We are not inviting any new applications at this time.