Action area 1: Workforce

The land based workforce is thriving

The transition to agroecology cannot be achieved without appropriate education and training and secure, rewarding livelihoods for farmers and growers. However, there are some significant challenges: the average age of a UK farmer is currently over 60 and mental health is now recognised as a major problem for the sector thanks to long working hours, increasing economic pressures and additional challenges from climate change. Meanwhile, agriculture and horticulture is often absent from school curricula and this, combined with challenges in accessing land, a rural-urban divide and a lack of ethnic and cultural diversity in rural communities makes it hard for young people, especially people of colour, to become farmers or growers.

To address these challenges, our strategy outlines the following steps:

Our goal: The land-based workforce is thriving.

Desired outcomes:

  • Appropriate training and support is available to people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Evidence base, farm advice, and peer to peer learning is accessible to all farmers.
  • Agroecological methods and permaculture design training is widely available in agricultural colleges and beyond.
  • More funding for transitions and set up costs of new businesses/enterprises is available.

Example activities that have identified as supporting these immediate outcomes – and which should therefore be urgent priorities for funding – are as follows:

  • Supporting the setup of more training opportunities by, for example, coordinating the offerings of members of the consortium.
  • Sharing examples and good practice to establish an evidence base.
  • Campaigning to change the curriculum for major agricultural colleges (to include more agroecology, permaculture, etc.)
  • Offering training and support for collaborative grant funding and crowdfunding.