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"There are only a handful of market gardeners left now on the island"

Friday 20 May 2022

"There are only a handful of market gardeners left now on the island"

Friday 20 May 2022


A farmer in St. Peter is hoping to transform his old outbuilding into new staff accommodation so he can continue to supply local companies and top London restaurants with Jersey-grown produce.

According to the planning application, a ‘redundant’ section of an existing outbuilding at Ferndale Farm in St. Peter would be converted into a two-bedroom flat for owner Graham Barette to live and run the farm from.

The application also seeks to create a new area with ‘French’ polytunnels to support the agricultural business. 

The original farm has been converted to a number of individual homes over the years and there are currently five one-bedroom units for staff accommodation on the site, which are owned by Mr Barette. 

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Pictured: Part of the existing building, which houses the farm shop, will be converted into a two-bedroom flat. 

In a letter accompanying his application, Mr Barette says he purchased the farm in 2003 and has since developed the site to include a farm shop, polytunnels, shed and staff accommodation. 

“I have been a market farmer all my life, with my father as my teacher, and will look to pass my knowledge on,” he said. 

Mr Barette says his farm supplies a variety of crops to local wholesale companies as well as top London restaurants. 

He also has a contract to grow salad crops year-round for Homefields farm shop in St. Clement. 

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Pictured: If Jersey does not support growers like Mr Barette, Director of Homefields says the future of the island’s food chain and farming is in a ‘very dangerous position’. 

Director of Homefields, Catherine Conway, provided a letter of support for Mr Barette’s application, stating that he had been living in temporary staff accommodation for the last six years. 

“If he doesn’t get the support to make this change to his living arrangement, he will no longer be able to continue farming and will cease growing at the end of 2022,” she said. 

“This year he will be growing the majority of our salad crop due to losing yet another grower on the island. 

“I am extremely concerned that there are only a handful of market gardeners left now on the island and we must all fully support the last ones left to ensure our food chain is protected,” she added. 

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Pictured: The planning application includes creating a new polytunnel area to expand growing capacity for salad crops. 

Mr Barette currently occupies a one-bedroom unit designed for predominantly seasonal staff, which the application says is "insufficient and inappropriate" for a professional farmer to occupy full-time. 

The application proposes to change part of the current shop into a two-bedroom unit but says the overall effect on the farm shop will be ‘minimal and inconsequential'. 

The area of the farm shop will be reduced from 152 m2 to 106 m2

As Mr Barette intends to produce more salad crops on the farm, he wants to expand growing capacity by also installing a new range of polytunnels on the site. 

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Posted by Keith Marsh on
Planning Department could earn points, for a quick "yes" on this application.
The Island needs growers and especially those wanting to expand production.
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