After headlining as guest speaker at the Women in Agriculture Scotland (WiAS) breakfast at the Royal Highland Show, Mike Duxbury from Inclusive Farm is seeking partners to support the development of a farm in Scotland. Inclusive Farm aims to provide young people with disabilities with a route into agriculture.
Founded in January 2021, Inclusive Farm, which is based in Bedfordshire, was set up by Mike Duxbury and Ness Shillito. Each week they welcome students with diverse needs onto their farm and give them the confidence and skills to pursue a worthwhile and fulfilling career in agriculture.
Mike, who lost his sight at age six, wants to provide the same opportunities to young people in Scotland.
“90% of blind people, and 78% of autistic people, are unemployed – but it doesn’t have to be like this. We’re seeing first-hand the impact of providing skills such as animal husbandry has had on the young people visiting Inclusive Farm.
“Our vision has always been simple: there are disabled people across the United Kingdom, and we plan to develop Inclusive Farms in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“We now have the opportunity to achieve this in Scotland and we want young people to be in the driving seat. Too often disabled people are told what they need, and we are determined that their voices and needs are met.”
Inclusive Farm is seeking like-minded organisations to partner with the project.
Dr Jenna Ross OBE, a Scottish environmental scientist, agricultural researcher, STEM Ambassador and EDI Champion, strongly encourages businesses and industry to support the project.
“Labour is one of the biggest issues plaguing our industry, but there is a demographic that is constantly overlooked.
“A golden opportunity is now available for partners to come forward and help be part of a project that is pioneering an inclusive approach to agriculture.”
Young people are encouraged to register their interest, and businesses interested in partnering with the initiative should do so by emailing Mike via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone – man or woman – is strongly encouraged to get involved with the WiAS network. Two more events are planned for 2023 with a regional event in Ayrshire in on 7th September to visit The Coo Shed, network with attendees and hear from an exciting guest speaker.
The Coo Shed was opened in April 2017 as an ‘add-on’ to the already successful and well established plant nursery, Corton Plants.
Set in the rural Ayrshire countryside on South Corton Farm, the Coo Shed has proven to be a very popular destination for many.
With its warm and inviting interior, it is the ideal place for the WiAS network to come together, meet friends old and new and learn a few skills all while enjoying a hot homemade lunch and some mouth-watering cakes.
Finally, the WiAS AGM will be held on Wednesday 8 November at The Den at Culross. This is an opportunity for our members to hear from the committee about the year’s achievements as well as from some cracking guest speakers. Themed: Biodiversity and Banter, the event will welcome guest speaker Dr Jenna Ross OBE
As a farmer’s daughter from Aberdeenshire, Jenna has a passion for driving innovation in agriculture. Jenna holds a PhD in Environmental Science, as well as an MBA, and has more than 10 years’ experience working on various international projects across North America, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
She has completed a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, winning the Nuffield HSBC Silver Salver award in 2020, and is now the current Chairman of Nuffield Scotland. Jenna is also a Director of the Oxford Farming Conference, Honorary Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Chartered Manager and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, Associate of CARAS, founding board member of the Africa Scotland Business Network and Co-Chair of the IOBC Slug & Snails Group.
Jenna is highly published and has won an array of business and agricultural awards. She is also passionate about inspiring the next generation of agriculturalists through her work as a STEM ambassador, LANTRA industry Champion and Lead on the OFC Scholars programme.
To register for either event, head to the WiAS website – www.womeninagriculturescotland.com – or via our social media channels.