Trust signs up 1,000 online farmers

More than 1,000 people have signed up to an experiment that will see them help run a working farm.


The National Trust said it hit the milestone on Friday (6 May) – within 48 hours of asking people to join its MyFarm initiative.

The online experiment will see people make key decisions at one of the trust’s working farms at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire.

It aims to connect thousands of people with how food is produced by giving them a greater say in how a real working farm is run.

For a £30 subscription fee, farmers will get a daily behind-the-scenes insight into how the 485ha farm operates.

They are also given the right to make decisions on the farm by voting on tasks outlined by farm manager Richard Morris.

Decisions will involve real livestock and real crops.

Launched on Wednesday (4 May), the experiment is the brainchild of trust employee Jon Alexander.

He hopes 10,000 people will eventually sign up, although 6,500 subscribers will make the project viable.

“We hit 1,000 members within our first 48 hours, which is great and well ahead of what we were hoping,” said Mr Alexander.

Aspiring farmers who had already signed up included whole families and schools – as well as Trevor Jonas Benson, who logged on from Barbados.

The first decision will be set on 26 May when members will be asked to decide what to grow in one of the key fields on the farm.

“This isn’t a Facebook game – it’s a real farm, with real decisions and real consequences,” said Mr Alexander.

“We’ll need to make some mistakes along the way if we’re really going to learn anything new by doing this.”

Members will be asked to spend a couple of weeks discussing soil types and climate before being asked to select from a list of recommended crops.

“We’ll have a couple of days to make sure we’re happy with those options – then we vote,” said Mr Alexander.

“The vote will stay open for about a week, giving everyone plenty of time to have their say.

“We’ll close at the appointed time, and whatever gets the most votes, we’ll do.”

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