Mentoring – Supporting Individuals Through Agroecological Transition and Growth
Jonty, our Head of Regenerative Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems, is working as a trained
mentor within a 2-year pilot project run by the Landworkers’ Alliance in partnership with the Organic
Growers Alliance, CSA Network and Ecological Land Coop.
Mentoring is the process by which an experienced and trusted person offers support, advice and
guidance to others. A mentor is not there to provide ‘the answers’, but to guide the mentee towards
‘the answer’ that is right for them. It's about motivating and empowering the other person to
identify their own issues and goals and helping them to find ways of resolving or reaching them - not
by doing it for them or expecting them to 'do it the way I did', but by understanding and respecting different ways of working.
A positive mentoring relationship between an experienced farmer/grower and a new entrant in the
first years of running a land-based enterprise is extremely valuable and can have a significant impact
on the development of the business and the individual.
Jonty is currently supporting two agro-ecological businesses. Both businesses are complex and are
delivering a range of wonderful products (from raw cheese to salad crops and pastured beef) and
outcomes, but both face challenges. How to develop further? What are the priorities? What lessons
can be shared? Who can help with key technical questions?
‘Being a farmer or grower can sometimes feel very isolating and finding time to lift ones chin up to
see the bigger picture, to imagine, to test new ideas is hard’ says Jonty. ‘It’s incredibly rewarding
being a mentor, nurturing passionate individuals and seeing the change. I have learnt lots too!’
The LWA pilot is aimed at people who are farming to organic/agroecological principles. The
programme is currently full/closed for 2021 but it will hopefully lead to a bigger scheme later in the
The FarmED team are also helping to develop and lead a new mentoring programme aimed at
regenerative farmers, those interested in developing Community Supported Agriculture schemes
and new entrants in Gloucestershire. This will be launched soon and more information will follow.