Beacon Lane is in Winterbourne and is part of a piece of land called the Blue Finger, highly fertile Category 1 land originally used for Bristol’s Market Gardens.
The Better Food Company played a major role in helping to create The Community Farm in Chew Magna. This is now a thriving project with an excellent business at its heart serving 500 to 600 families and households. Its work in teaching people about organic growing and rural crafts are all part of the buzz. Having moved on from working with the farm, I decided to help with another new and excit-ing project. It’s an AGRIVERSITY. “A what?”, I hear you say. It’s a word that easily describes what we hope to do. We want to run training and mentoring courses to teach people how to grow food sustainably on a commercial scale. This includes how to grow, market, run a business, develop different models such as a CSA. (Community Supported Agriculture). Just north of the M4, in the parish of Winterbourne, there is 80 acres of high grade land up for sale and rent. It’s known as The Blue Finger, blue being the mapping colour that denotes grade 1 agricultural land, of which there is only 3% in the country. There is a blue finger alli-ance formed to safeguard as much of this valuable strip of land for food production and not houses, roads and park and rides. This land needs protecting and what better way to do it than to grow good food for local people while teaching the next generations how to grow. The land is beautiful. It has a brook running through it and gently undulates with foot paths crossing it, very close Winterbourne Medieval Barns, owned by South Gloucestershire Council. We hope that the projects will be linked as the barns provide a wonderful place of learning as well as space to form processing and preserving rooms to make best use of all aspects of the food grown. Plans are progressing well. We had a public meeting in late January, with another one planned for the near future in Winterbourne. We have a core group of people ready to help develop the plans and we’re very keen to engage with everyone who has an interest in the project. For more information, see Beacon Lane Starter Farm Concept Paper