Richard Jones - Farmer Jones Academy CIC

Richard is better known as Moray Firth Radio's (MFR) Agricultural correspondent, "Farmer Jones". He has farmed all his life, from his early years in Cheshire and more recently in Tain where he bought an old estate in 2000, which he redeveloped as a working farm and holiday destination.

Despite the success of the Scottish food and drink industry, it is not currently taught as a career path for our school leavers. Concerned about the dwindling numbers of young people interested in pursuing farming as a career, Richard has set up social enterprise Farmer Jones Academy.

Richard found that many young people believe that you have to be 'born into' the farming industry and that it is too difficult to start up on your own. To tackle this, Farmer Jones Academy provides training and practical experience for young people in rural areas interested in farming, crofting and food production.

Richard's focus is on providing positive destinations for all participants and instilling his passion for this industry into the next generation of potential farmers and food entrepreneurs.

The company has been successfully selling food for local producers as part of hampers both online and at local markets, helping them to grow their own businesses as well as providing funds for Farmer Jones Academy.

Richard received business support from Firstport and was awarded a £5000 Start It award in 2017. He then went on to receive a £25,000 Build It award in 2018, which has allowed him to work full time on leading the project and also to recruit a part time employee to help with advertising and promoting food and hamper sales.

Richard Jones, Founder of Farmer Jones Academy, said: “A passion for Scottish farming, food and drink and a desire to share that enthusiasm with youngsters led us to set up Farmer Jones Academy CIC. With invaluable support from Firstport Start It funding we laid the foundations and now with Build It we are growing to be a fully-fledged Community Interest Company. As a result, we are now able to go ahead with our schools work and encourage the next generation of food and drink entrepreneurs to find a positive career path they may not have known about.”

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