After highlighting the Farmers of the UK initiative to use the power of social media (Diary, Jan), I thought that our readers would be interested to learn of a similar scheme to celebrate the working lives of British smallholders.
SmallholdersUK was set up on Twitter in August 2014 by Debbie Kingsley of South Yeo Farm West, in Devon, where she has been running smallholding courses since 2009.
“I was an avid follower on Twitter of @FarmersoftheUK,” Debbie explains, “and when Simon Haley (who had started FarmersoftheUK) signed me up in early 2014 to tweet for the account, I asked him if he minded if I set up something similar for the smallholding sector. He was very encouraging, as was Lorna Sixsmith at Twitter @IrelandsFarmers, both giving lots of useful advice.
“It didn’t take me long to sign up lots of interested smallholders, and also many people connected to the smallholder way of life — from vets to butchers, small-scale flower farmers, school farms, care farms, people making charcuterie or coppicing woodland, and all sorts of rural activities.
“A number of our tweeters have commented how important social media is to combat isolation when working flat out on the smallholding, and for getting advice from the more experienced.
“SmallholdersUK is all about sharing what smallholders get up to in a typical week, inspiring potential smallholders and informing those who are simply ‘smallholder curious’.”