We recently hosted a visit from RAZLOG LAG, a LEADER group from southern Bulgaria. The visit was designed for them to see how we run the LEADER programme in England, and also to see what types of projects we would typically fund.
After an hour-long meeting at Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe, we went to visit Hampden Bottom Farm, where the Chilterns LAG had supported a project to purchase a Sly Agri Direct Drill to improve soil structure through reducing cultivations, enabling the farm to drill combinable crops into cover crops.
From there we went to Buckmoorend Farm Shop, where the Chilterns LAG supported the expansion of the farm shop enabling the business to sell home-produced hot food and drinks to passers-by. The farm is situated along a ridgeway and the retail offer enables the business to capitalise on the high footfall of the ridgeway.
We also visited Wigginton Village Shop and Café. The community-led organisation was set up so there would be a retail offer in the village. The café has proven extremely popular and attracts visitors from many neighbouring villages.
It was then onto Sunnyside Rural Trust where the LEADER programme supported the expansion of the Northchurch site, enabling the charity to build a new shop and communal facilities enabling the trust to sell produce grown on site and generally raise the profile of the organisation which supports adult social services in the area.
Finally, we visited Chiltern Wool which is a business working with farmers and fashion designers producing garments. Farms can have their own wool processed, which is then used to make any wool-based product they choose. The product can then be returned back to the farm for onward sales. The business works with farms, enabling them to increase the value of wool produced on farms, which for many years has been a cost burden.