Photo by Justin Owen
Lally and Tomas are among a group of several young growers agroecological farming in the vicinity of Bridport. “We strive to farm in a way that builds health in the soil, in the plants, and in our community.”
“Our growing practices are considerate of the land that we tend, and we are driven by a desire to produce healthy vegetables, in bountiful quantities, for as many people as possible.” The principles of agroecology inform their decisions: they aim to produce food in balance with natural ecosystems. This includes no-dig, or minimum tillage, using mulches and allowing the soil biology to do much of the work itself. They do not use any of the herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers that are often used in modern industrial agriculture and day-to-day their growing practices are also informed by wider issues such as climate change and food access.
You can find their delicious nutritious food from their Saturday Bridport Market stall alongside their yellow van on West Street, as well as at some shops, restaurants and cafes in and around the Bridport area. If you hurry you might also get on board with their expanded weekly veg box scheme starting in June.
Now in their third year of running a small market garden on a ½ acre in Wootton Fitzpaine at Fivepenny Farm, their enterprise is growing as is their team, and they are now four-strong for most of the growing season. Last year they started a small beg box scheme, mostly delivering to people within a small radius of Bridport. This season coming, with the help of funding from The National Lottery and Farming Futures Fund they will also be offering subsidised veg boxes on a sliding scale for the 2021 season, along with a similar sliding scale option offered for credit to spend on their market stall. They will also be using new software to run the veg box scheme this year, which will be more streamlined and enable veg box customers to buy optional extras for home delivery such as their wonderful cut flower bunches. You can find out more on their “Buy Veg” and “Community Projects” pages.
Access to land is often one of the biggest hurdles faced by new entrant farmers, but thanks to everyone at Fivepenny Farm the Springtailers have been able to both learn and grow, experimenting and failing from the get-go. “We have big dreams, and though we don’t currently have the means, we hope someday to invest in 4-20 acres of well-maintained pastureland and call it home for the foreseeable.” Speaking of which, if you or anyone you know is looking to sell any land that might fit this bill, please do get in touch with them.
And in the meantime, be sure to check out their bountiful market stall when they return as regular market traders in June.