Do you want to take part in a TV documentary?

A television production company called Pi Productions, run by John Silver who created Grand Designs and reinvented MasterChef, are currently casting for a new prime-time documentary series following six ambitious people who are following their dreams and are uprooting to start a whole new life.

They are looking for families or couples who are planning to ditch the 9 to 5 to pursue a career in something they are passionate about. It could be running a pub, setting up a restaurant or their very own bakery, or it could be taking the reins of a smallholding. They want to showcase the amazing lifestyle business opportunities out there and show what it takes to make a new venture succeed.

With small businesses accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses and driving the UK economy it’s the right time to look at what it takes to leave everything you know behind, and start your own business.

Where should you move? How do you raise funds? How will your children handle it? Will it be worth it? They want to answer the questions that people all over the country ask themselves.

This is a brilliant opportunity for “life changers” to feature themselves and their new venture on a prime time documentary, and inspire other people in the process. They are keen to feature positive and aspirational stories.

Contact Katie McGhie at Pi Productions ( for more information if you are interested in taking part

Reminder – Weed control talk, Weds 13 April

NettlesWe still have a few places left for the upcoming Weed Control evening talk on Weds 13 April at High Forest Community Centre, Sinderhope.

As with all events organised by NPS, this is FREE for members and only £3 for non-members but remember that membership fees are only £10 per holding for a year. Joining is as easy as completing the membership form and arranging a bank transfer or sending a cheque!

You will need to reserve a place on this in advance so take a look at the calendar entry for this event to see more details. Light refreshments (tea, coffee, biscuits etc) will be available on the night although we would appreciate a voluntary donation in order to help cover the costs.



Reminder – Evening talk on RBST, Weds 16 March

There are a few places left for the upcoming Introduction to the RBST evening talk on Weds 16 March at Cowshill Village Hall.

As with all events organised by NPS, this is FREE for members and only £3 for non-members but joining the North Pennines Smallholders is only £10 per holding for a year and is as easy as completing the membership form!

Take a look at the calendar entry for this event to see more details and reserve your place as soon as possible. Light refreshments (tea, coffee, biscuits etc) will be available although we would appreciate a nominal £1 donation in order to help cover the costs.



NPS mentioned in Home Farmer this month

There was a nice mention of the North Pennines Smallholders group in this months Home Farmer magazine as part of a bigger 3 page spread on UK smallholder groups and events.

For those who don’t subscribe to Home Farmer you can read more by downloading the relevant pages using the link shown below. Of course, you could subscribe as well because it’s only £40 per year!

Smallholder round-up from Home Farmer April 2016

An update on ‘Grandfather rights’ and professional pesticide use

With the rules about the application of pesticides changing recently, many people may not be completely clear about the implications so here is the latest information from the Farming Advice Service:

Under the previous UK legislation governing pesticide use, people born before 31 December 1964 who used an agricultural product on their own or their employer’s land were exempt from the requirement to hold a certificate of competence (this exemption was known as ‘grandfather rights’). New regulations provided for the continuation of that exemption until 25 November 2015. After this date, everyone who uses a professional pesticide product must hold a specified certificate.

The new regulations also require that, from 26 November 2015, everyone purchasing a professional pesticide product must ensure the end user holds a specified certificate.

Existing certificates of competence (for example, PA2 and PA6) will remain valid under the new legislation. Anyone who already has one of these will need to do nothing new. A list of specified certificates is available by clicking here.

It is a legal requirement to follow the rules outlined in ‘The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012’. You risk being prosecuted if you do not adhere to the rules.

If you do not hold a specified certificate, but require the application of professional pesticides to your land, you may employ a contractor or neighbouring farmer, but it is your responsibility to check they hold an appropriate specified certificate.

Further information on complying with the requirements has been produced by the Voluntary Initiative and can be found here.


Woodland Management course

There are still a few places left on the Woodland Management training course which is scheduled for Tues 1 Mar in Allendale. This is a FREE all day event which aims to show how to maximise the potential of existing woodland or the benefits of creating new woodland as well as an overview of the grants and assistance available.

Take a look at the calendar entry for this event to see more details and reserve your place as soon as possible.

For those who’ve already reserved a place, don’t forget the weatherproof clothing and sturdy boots/wellies!

Membership recruiter vacancy with RBST

This might suit someone with an interest in supporting rare breeds and looking for a little part-time work.

Do you like going to Agricultural shows & talking to people? You need to be a bright, enthusiastic and self-motivated individual, with an interest in farm animals, conservation and the countryside.

The Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) are looking for a Summer Season Membership Recruiter (Spring-Autumn) to cover the North of the UK

Viable Self-Sufficiency book – a KickStarter project

From the publishers of Home Farmer magazine comes a new book called “Viable Self-Sufficiency – The Ultimate Guide to Living off the Land” which has been written by committed long-time smallholders, Tim and Dot Tyne.

This is the most comprehensive guide to living off the land since John Seymour’s seminal book “The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency” which was published back in 1976.

Viable Self-Sufficiency cover image

Viable Self-Sufficiency cover image

This is not from a massive publishing house and this is not just another mass produced book to be sold as cheap as chips via discount outlets or bookshop chains. It is a high quality, full colour, thoroughly researched, substantial book which will have a relatively short initial print run of just 4000 copies.

It is also being printed in the UK, by one of the very last remaining printers of hardback, colour books left in this country. Why publish a book which advocates sustainability and then have it printed half way around the globe and possibly sacrifice another part of our own UK printing industry in the process?

You can help them to make this a reality via their KickStarter project and depending on the amount you are willing to donate you can get some fantastic rewards. The more you donate the better the reward from signed copies of the book to Home Farmer magazine subscriptions and much more.

At the time of writing this the KickStarter fundraising project is already 60% of the way but that still leaves 40% to go and every little helps so please take a look!