Aldi and The Prince’s Countryside Fund – backing British farming together
Aldi are proud to partner with The Prince’s Countryside Fund whose vision is of family farms and rural communities that fulfil their role in creating a sustainable future for the countryside.
What is The Prince’s Countryside Fund?
Established in 2010 by HRH The Prince of Wales, the PCF exists to empower family farms and rural communities to survive and thrive. The countryside – what it does, what it produces and what it offers – has an impact on us all. Working together, we can help those who look after the British countryside to safeguard its future.
Aldi contributes a total of £90,000 to The Prince’s Countryside Fund each year, £60,000 to the Farm Resilience Programme and £30,000 to a New Entrants Scheme designed to encourage people into farming who may not have grown up with a farming background or in farming communities.
At Aldi we recognise the increasing pressure our farmers are under, with an ageing working population, trade implications and economic challenges driving some farmers out of the industry. That’s why we are founding partners of the Prince’s Countryside Fund’s New Entrants Scheme, set up to help support people into the industry and get farming back on the career agenda - so our customers can continue to enjoy Great British food for generations to come.
Supporting new entrants and young people to succeed in agriculture
The PCF and Aldi have co-created a new support initiative – Opening the Gate – helping young people and new entrants enter, and succeed in, the agricultural industry.
The programme, available for any young farmer under the age of 40, new entrant, or individual thinking about a career in the industry, will focus on several key barriers and challenges preventing people from succeeding in agriculture. It has been informed by research undertaken by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and Aldi UK.
Opening the Gate consists of a series of virtual workshops that aims to equip young people and new entrants with the skills, confidence, and networks to succeed in farming, and the wider agricultural industry. The programme will provide access to industry experts, such as university admissions officers, graduate recruiters, and farm managers, whilst also offering the opportunity to hear from other young people who’ve overcome obstacles to start a career in farming and run viable enterprises.
The Farm Resilience Programme
We contribute £60,000 to The Prince’s Countryside Fund to support its Farm Resilience Programme, which helps family farms to improve their skills and knowledge of business and environmental management. This is delivered through a series of workshops hosted by expert consultants on effective day-to-day management of their business, with topics including managing your farmed environment, planning for your future and practical cost management. Participating farms also benefit from one-to-one on-farm support for their specific situations in order to implement improvements.
Since 2018, Aldi have supported 130 farmers through the Farm Resilience Programme across the UK. The Farm Resilience Programme aims to bring disconnected and remotely-located family farm businesses together to improve their confidence and ability to run long-term and sustainable businesses. It is the only scheme of its kind intended to help vulnerable family farms in the UK.
Britain’s upland farms
The uplands are elevated areas of the English, Scottish and Welsh countryside. The land is more challenging to farm and is usually situated in fragile and remote locations. Upland farming is the driving factor for these local economies and so must be well-maintained and developed, which is something The Prince’s Countryside Fund aims to achieve.
Meet our Farmers
Iain Cruden took part in the Farm Resilience Programme in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. He farms with his family in Aberdeenshire on a 200-acre farm that puts around 90-acres to a barley crop and the remainder is grazing for 65 beef cattle and 240 ewes.
He said: “I would recommend the Farm Resilience Programme to everyone, young or old, new to farming or been in the industry for years. It helps to break the mould. All of the workshops have been very informative and we were able to take something away from every single one. The programme has been brilliant, and we’re so glad to have had the opportunity to take part in it.”
Anwen manages 400 sheep on 140 acres near Llanarth, in South Wales, with her partner, Rhodri. They heard about The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme on Facebook and even though their group met in Brecon, a 3-hour round trip away, they were keen to attend. “We were really intrigued to learn more about our own business, particularly with Brexit around the corner. We’ve had some doubts about our sheep enterprise and whether we were spending too much money on it. The most important thing for us was making cost efficiencies and increasing our profit.”
“The Business Health Check tool taught us not to be afraid of the changes required for our business. It reassured us that where we already wanted to make changes, was the right way to go. We’ve been considering getting some cows to help with our soil health.” When asked about how the Programme helped them plan for the future, Anwen said that “Rather than dwelling on previous mistakes, it’s helped us to learn from them and move on.”