19th November 2021


Rural Rap

GROWING KENT & MEDWAY HAS SECURED £1.5M FROM THE UK COMMUNITY RENEWAL FUND, reports the Kent Messenger.  The money will be used by three “landmark projects” in the county’s food and drink sector, and will benefit Gravesham, Medway, Thanet, Swale and Tonbridge and Malling.  They are Growing Green: a pilot project to help SMEs meet net-zero targets; the Kent and Medway Partnership for Enterprise, Food and Health: to develop the region’s ability to provide healthy food at affordable prices; and Medway Together: providing tailored employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups.  The projects will be led by NIAB EMR and the University of Greenwich.

RESIDENTS FROM ACROSS KENT WILL BE COMBINING A “DAY OF ACTION” TO PROTEST AGAINST THE RELENTLESS HOUSEBUILDING IN THE COUNTY, reports the Kent Messenger.  The idea originated from the Save Capel group, which is battling plans for a garden village.  They will be joined by protesters from Thanet, Sittingbourne, Hartley, Cranbrook, Faversham and Benenden, among many others.  The idea is that each group will do its own thing in its own area, and that all protests will be polite and respectful of the law.  They day of action is set for November 28th and will take place under the Save Kent’s Green Spaces banner.

OVER 4,000 CRIMES HAVE BEEN COMMITTED ON RELIGIOUS PREMISES IN THE LAST YEAR, reports the Countryside Alliance.  Figures show that there were 4,051 incidents of theft, vandalism, assault or burglary across the UK in the 12 months to July this year.  The worst hit areas are largely in the south east, with Kent faring badly at 209 cases, of which 57 were metal thefts, 101 were criminal damage and 24 were violence. 27 crimes were unrecorded by category.

THE FARMING INVESTMENT FUND HAS BEEN LAUNCHED TO HELP FARMERS INVEST IN NEW EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY IN ENGLAND, reports the CLA.  The £27m fund is open for applications to farmers, foresters, growers and contractors.   Launched by Defra, it is designed to aid investment in new equipment, technology and infrastructure in England, with the aim of improving productivity, efficiency and the environment.  Grants of between £2k and £25k are available as part of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (closing date 7th January) , while grants of between £35k and £500k are available from the Farming Transformation Fund (closing date 12th January, completed by 30th June 2022).

A NEW PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN NFU ENERGY AND INSTAVOLT AIMS TO HELP FARMERS INSTALL PUBLIC ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGERS AS AN ADDITIONAL REVENUE STREAM, reports Farming UK.  NFU Energy and the rapid charging network will collaborate on projects to aid the UK in its transition to decarbonisation and to help farmers earn more.  The stated aim of the JV is to “help facilitate the many infrastructure changes necessary to meet net zero and to provide substantial diversification opportunities to farmers across the UK.”

MANAGEMENT OF GAMEBIRDS CAN HELP SONGBIRDS, BUTTERFLIES AND BEES TO THRIVE, reports the GWCT in a landmark report.  The 52 page report, free to read, shows that management of gamebirds – particularly pheasant – can help songbird numbers, support the planting of hedgerows and can help butterflies and bees to thrive on woodland edges.  “Most positive effects,” notes the report, “such as the provision of winter food and cover for songbirds, are a consequences of gamebird management activities.  While any negative effects such as an impact on ground flora are caused by the released birds themselves.  Importantly, some of these negative effects have relatively straightforward management solutions.”

Food Loop

…is seeking 50 businesses and organisations across Kent and Medway to become a FoodLoop Champion.

FoodLoop is a B2B app, connecting Kent food busineses that have surplus food – such as growers, secondary producers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and hospitality businesses – with Kent “takers” of surplus food – such as producers, food production companies, social supermarkets, gleanng groups, food banks and other community initiatives.  It aims to reduce food waste, put more surplus fresh food on the table, and help to build Kent’s community.

It is now looking for Food Loop Champions to donate £500 to the cause. 

In exchange, donors receive a Food Loop Champion logo to use on marketing materials, a mention on all FoodLoop promoitional materials, and a ticket to the inaugural dinner of Kent FoodLoop Champions.

To enable the development of the app and to run a 12 month project to build the community, the enterprise needs £43,000.  It has already raised £19,000 through various routes including crowdfunding.

For further information, contact: floortje.hoette@producedinkent.co.uk

AONB KENT DOWNS : Grants for farmers, land managers and landowners

Applications are now open for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (link)

The three year scheme aims to fund outcomes for People, Place, Climate and Nature in the Kent Downs.  It is possible to apply for more than one year.  Applications can range from £250k, to no miminum.  Funding can be up to 100%, but value for money is part of the assessment criteria.

Applicants will be supported to carry out projects that:

  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Support nature recovery


RABI, Addington Fund, FCN, Forage Aid and RSABI, supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, have launched the Farming Help initiative.  The initiative is also being launched with the NFYFC, the NFU and the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust. 
FARMING HELP recognises that this will be an anxious time for many farmers and farming families and periods of poor health or self-isolation may result in temporary practical difficulties on farm.  For help drafting a contingency plan, for practical local help with livestock, shopping etc, or to discuss your concerns and anxieties,

Contact 03000 111 999 or visit www.farminghelp.co.uk

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