TOMNAH’A Market Garden, a community enterprise located at Comrie Croft in Perthshire, has been declared the winner of the NEWBIE UK award for New Entrant Farm Business of the Year for 2020.

Tomnah’a is run by Cristy Gilbert, Sam Parry and Judith McGowan, along with some dedicated volunteers, and sells fruit, veg and flowers directly to customers through a community supported agriculture scheme, as well as through online food hubs. They also offer training to volunteers in the hope that they too will set up their own market gardens in the future.

The European Commission-funded NEWBIE project offers the award to new entrants in eight European countries, including the UK, as part of a suite of opportunities aiming to help new farmers, crofters and small-holders network and develop successful businesses.

As this year's UK winners, Tomnah’a Market Garden will receive €500 towards the cost of training or an international visit, as well as an award plaque, farm video, and opportunity to participate in a European new entrant conference with other award winners.

The team at Tomnah'a said: “We are delighted with the news and hope it will help share our story of what is possible on a small piece of land and encourage others to do the same! We really need new farmers providing produce directly to make our food system more secure!”

Aweside Farm in England, Matthew Adams in Northern Ireland, and Teleri Fielden in Wales were also shortlisted as exemplary innovative new entrants. Members of the NEBWIE UK Steering group, representing farming interests across the UK, reviewed the shortlisted applications and selected the winner.

Northern Irish land mobility manager, John McCallister, said: “I felt very strongly that the quality of the candidates was superb. For them all to be fulfilling a long-held ambition despite many challenges not least the huge capital costs in entering agriculture I thought was so encouraging to see. They represent the very best qualities and determination needed to break into agriculture and the new blood, new ideas and new generation that our industry needs”.

Rachel Creaney, a researcher with the NEWBIE project at the James Hutton Institute, added: “The calibre of shortlisted nominees this year was outstanding, and deciding a winner was extremely difficult for our panel. However, Tomnah’a are a great example of a new entrant that are using their farming and floristry skills, not just for community and biodiversity benefits, but also to create a viable and innovative business model”.

Award winners from partnering European countries will be encouraged to share their experiences through international exchange opportunities provided by the NEWBIE project. For more information about NEWBIE, see