You love food and farming, you’re passionate about how it can positively impact communities, the environment and our health. You want to contribute to this vital movement, but maybe you weren’t born with acres of land or your skills don’t fit best with working on a farm.
And aside from actually being a farmer, the sector needs so many other skills and trades that you might already have. From tech to chefs, here is our round-up of jobs in food and farming if you’re not a farmer and job sites to match.
Marketing and sales
The food and farming community need people who can tell the sustainable farming story and compel the public to buy their products. Creating a thriving market for these sustainable products direct from farms can convince farmers that there is a viable alternative to global commodities and supermarket supply chains. From PR to videography, copywriting to graphic designing, you could be a food activist using your creativity to amplify the story of small-scale farmers or a community garden. Likewise, you could harness your great people skills to sell flour milled from sustainable wheat to independent bakeries.
Whether you’re a chef or front-of-house, caterer or waiter, you can have the power to shape and influence what we eat. That could be cooking with more plants or careful sourcing from regenerative farms. As food writer Jonathan Nunn wrote, restaurants can act as a portal to sustainable farming, with a rare chance to interact with people about the importance of seasonality and provenance. The scope to positively impact what people eat in restaurants and in their own life is significant, as research shows that adult Brits eat out on 2.4 billion occasions a year.
Technology is of vital importance going forward, whether it’s designing attractive websites for sustainable food products to developing applications and software that allow farmers to connect to customers directly, freeing them from global markets. In this increasingly connected and online world – food and farming entrepreneurs and organisations need to harness technology to make farming practices and services more efficient and innovative.
From campaigning to fundraising, community engagement to research, there’s a vast array of different roles in charities and NGOs. There are many fantastic food and farming charities in the UK that make a positive impact, connecting social justice to sustainable farming but they need more people to help amplify their work.
There is a growing movement of radical bakeries that go far beyond making bread. We eat so much bread, yet wheat production is the foundation of an industrial food system that underpins many damaging practices. Progressive bakeries, many of them workers co-operatives, are using their position to show an alternative exists; nutritional, tasty bread made by real people paid a fair wage using grains. They’re even inspiring farmers to ditch industrial farming and grow sustainable grains instead.
Operations and logistics
Selling sustainable products direct from farms is all very well, but the success and longevity of a business often come down to organised, logical people who can make it happen and get the product from A to B fresh and on time. You could be in charge of coordinating the stock for a farm shop or working out how many carrots go into a vegbox as a buyer.
Actual farming also needs passionate people from different backgrounds to revitalise an ageing farming population and inspire more farming in harmony with nature. It’s not all tractors and driving machinery, there are full-time jobs in agroecological market gardens and community-supported agriculture (CSA), linking people and communities with sustainable farming.
If you want to test the waters or just want to feel more connected to where your food comes from, you can volunteer with WWOOF who are offering an exclusive discount for Wicked Leeks readers, WICKED20. Who knows, you might end up like WWOOFers Matt and Laura Elliott who became farmers after gaining experience volunteering on organic farms.
Escape the City: The site for purpose-driven jobs in the UK.
Environment Jobs: Hundreds of companies and charities advertise jobs in the environment sector.
Grocer Jobs: Jobs in food and drink.
Ecological Land Cooperative: For help in accessing the land