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New entrant farmers in sustainable agriculture: motivations and learning pathways by Alice Taherzadeh

Calendar Friday, 17 January 2020
Calendar 12:00-13:00

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The project ‘Learning Pathways into Sustainable Agriculture’ explores the hidden stories of young people entering sustainable farming from non-farming backgrounds. There is currently a small but growing movement of young new entrant farmers in UK, as well as many other countries in the Global North. They are motivated by both political and personal reasons to enter into sustainable agriculture and inspired by movements such as permaculture, biodynamic farming and agroecology.

These young entrants are often rendered invisible in official statistics due to challenges in access to land and the tendency towards more cooperative forms of business and land management. Whilst their impact on UK farming is relatively small in terms of land area, their political involvement through grassroots movements and farming unions has already had a marked impact on UK policy.

However, as there are currently no clear routes into sustainable farming in the UK young entrants must take a mixture of approaches which tend to vary greatly from traditional pathways. The research, which is based on twenty interviews carried out in the summer of 2019, draws out these various approaches and young entrants’ motivations for leaving other forms of work to go back to the land.