Think tank joins Soil Association to support start-up nurseries

Think tank Revolutionary Thinking consultancy has joined forces with the Soil Association to try and help young people set up horticultural businesses.

Derek Stride from the Revolutionary Thinking consultancy, who is also managing director of Cornwall-based West Country Nurseries, said the aim is to encourage people to work in the commercial horticulture sector.

"We are thinking along the lines of the council-run scheme County Farms, which rents out farmland to young people on five to seven-year leases. We are looking at doing something similar with a horticultural basis."

Stride said the "commercial horticultural starter units" could be anything from a 0.4ha polytunnel up to 6ha of open ground. The units would be situated together and office facilities and training, logistics and marketing could be shared.

The groups have produced a questionnaire to assess the demand and it has been sent out to Soil Association members and to horticultural colleges.
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Stride said:

"We need to find out if there is a market for it. We are not saying it has to be organic or biodynamic but obviously the Soil Association is hoping respondents want to run organics enterprises.

"At the moment we are looking to see the level of interest shown and the type of business they would like to run."

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