In Spring 2019 we ran a crowdfunder to start a brand new traineeship at Sims Hill.
Sustainable agriculture is a vital industry, but it can be hard for new growers to develop their skills and find their feet. The average age of UK farmers is around 58, so we desperately need to make sure we have a new generation of growers who know how to work the land – and crucially, understand the techniques of sustainable land management to protect our soil, reduce our carbon footprint and ensure biodiversity into the future. There are lots of volunteering opportunities in sustainable agriculture, but relatively few entry-level grower positions that allow people to up-skill, learn on the job and get ready to take on bigger responsibilities.
We are delighted to announce that through generous donations from over 95 donors, we raised £4,361 through our crowdfunder. On top of this, we received an extra donation of £1,000 from the employee-owned architectural firm Stride Treglown. This means we achieved our target (hurray!) and have been able to start the Sims Hill Traineeship 2019.
The money raised is going towards:
- Paying the wage of our trainee. We believe in paying trainees and interns for their work as an investment in their future and the future of the agricultural sector.
- Paying for crucial training courses that support the practical experience gained at Sims Hill. Our growing team are a wealth of knowledge, but accredited, specific training (e.g. a First Aid course) to build knowledge and confidence will ensure a strong start in the industry.
- Investing in the future of the traineeship. The increase in Sims Hill efficiency and productivity in 2019 (in part thanks to having the trainee on board) means that we hope to be able to fund the traineeship from our income in future years. This first year of seed funding means we can develop resilient and long term practices to support the traineeship, looking to 2020 and beyond.
We want to send huge thanks to everybody who shared news of our crowdfunder, supported or donated rewards or money to the traineeship. You have built a legacy that will live on in the land and landworkers.
With our raised funds, we acted quickly to advertise and interview for the 2019 traineeship post. We had an excellent caliber of applicants and are delighted to announce that our new trainee started on 7th May – with a day of planting 7,000 beetroot! We have confidence in their existing skills developed through volunteer roles, and their drive and willingness to learn for a future in sustainable agriculture.
Once again, thanks to everyone for supporting Sims Hill in our mission to make quality, nutritious food accessible – as consumers and growers – building a resilient, connected community in the Bristol area.