Building on the lessons learnt from the Land Army pilots in the Summer, we have now secured funds to establish it as a permanent entity. The Unicorn Grocery has kindly donated £1,200 to pay for a field kitchen and shelter and The Big Lottery Fund has (provisionally) granted us £9,400 from its Awards for All fund to cover our costs in the coming year.
We are therefore in a strong position for next years growing season - we are planning to take volunteers out 26 weeks in the year and provide over a thousand volunteer-hours to local organic farmers - and will be aiming to provide training for 50 people.
Next Tuesday Peter Couchman (the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation) and officials from the Big Lottery will be visiting the Kindling Trust. They will be here to talk to Kindling and a number of our growers to find out more about community food enterprises and the crucial role the Land Army could play in a sustainable food system for Manchester.
Next month we will be back at Abbey Leys Farm weeding carrots and with the Moss Brook Growers to plant garlic and harvest leeks.
Last month we took out a group of youth volunteers and in the coming months we will be experimenting with taking business groups out to see if we can provide team building tasks which would benefit the growers and be self-financing.
The Land Army is funded by Making Local Food Work and the Plunkett Foundation as part of their Local Food Systems Programme.