Greening our economy in West Dorset. Many people say they can’t afford to live on the land anymore – but with Peak Oil and a need to conserve energy and produce food locally, there are a myriad of ways that we can diversify and change our traditional land based economy to meet the needs of the 21st Century. Coppicing wood for wood-fuelled stoves; growing mushrooms for sale in quality restaurants; metal work and wood weaving; sustainable building; eco tourism; developing renewable energy.
In 2010 I was lucky enough, as part of community training group Blast, to secure £220,000 of European funding for a project called Skills for Self Reliance.
The scheme was a unique public/private/voluntary sector partnership to set up an Eco-Skills Training Centre in Bridport which developed training in environmental sustainability. A rural training centre was set up at Miles Cross Farm in Symondsbury, and the project worked with Kingston Maurward, Trill Farm, Monkton Wyld, Windmill Training the Core Renewable Energy Centre and Yeovil College to deliver a wide range of eco type courses (ranging from anerobic digestion, herbal products, permaculture, sustainable construction, preparing and cooking organic food to renewable energy systems). We need to always look for innovative funding routes to develop the green skills base in West Dorset!