*Matt doesn't have capacity to accept mentoring applications currently. Please contact Awel Jones on 07961 958 807 / firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your other options.*
Why Matt would be an effective mentor
- A former TV producer and new entrant into farming, Matt began farming in 2012. Originally from Yorkshire, Matt fell in love with Wales whilst studying at Bangor University and working on Anglesey and Bardsey islands. His career in TV production included working with Sir David Attenborough on the BBC Planet Earth and Frozen Planet series’ before he and his wife took the plunge to buy their 350-year-old farm in North Wales.
- Matt is passionate about the benefits of ecological small-sale farming and uses permaculture and holistic management as design methods for the farm. Although he has only been doing this for seven years, the farm is becoming a sound example of ecological focused approach to small-scale farming. Constantly working to make the farm more resilient and productive whilst also focusing on being regenerative, Matt can provide guidance to farmers wanting to make their businesses more sustainable and productive.
- A diversified farm, income primarily comes from tourism; micro-dairy; sheep; beef; forestry; eggs and market gardening, all of which are done on small but profitable and productive scales. Matt believes that it is this diversity that enables him to make an income from such a small farm.
- The micro dairy enterprise is run with a 6-cow herd, specialising in selling raw milk direct from cows kept with their calves and fed grass only. Another diversification enterprise is using their sheep’s wool create high quality fibre and fleece products which generates significant extra profit.
- The farm has four glamping units with seven camping pitches. The setup is rustic and encourages people to access nature whilst still providing all that they need to be comfortable.
- As former director of Ethical Solar, an award winning regenerative solar PV installation and import company, Matt has experience in renewable energy. They have installed solar panels and a small-scale wind turbine on the farm, and are currently looking into micro-hydro.
- A people person, Matt enjoys seeing people succeed and is eager to share his knowledge to help others along the way. He says that he often gets so much more out of his own projects or learning when helping others develop, describing mentoring as a two-way beneficial relationship.
- Matt has benefitted from many Farming Connect services including the Agrisgôp, Management Exchange and EIP programmes. He has also spoken at a series of Living Off 10 Acres events. Thanks to these experiences, Matt has a strong global support network with some of the best people in the industry.
- Matt would really love to work with anybody wanting to make their farm businesses more sustainable or who wants to use permaculture or agro-ecological methods.
Current farm business
- 80-acre farm
- Micro dairy enterprise with 6 Jersey/Welsh Black cows
- 4 Shetland beef cows, with meat sold direct from the farm
- 80 ewes including Jacobs; Shetlands and other native breeds, with wool used to create high quality fibre and fleece products
- 200 laying hens, kept on pasture in mobile housing
- 6 weaners, fattened by farm waste over the summer
- Small no-dig vegetable garden, sold via a veg box scheme with people collecting veg from the farm
- 40 acres of woodland, currently transforming from spruce to silvopasture, agroforestry and coppice management
- Solar panels and small-scale wind turbine
- Small camping, glamping and on farm events business including 4 glamping units with 7 camping pitches
- Qualifications/ achievements/ experience
- 1997 – 2000: BSc Marine Ecology, Bangor University
- 2000 – 2004: PhD Ecology, Cambridge University/British Antarctic Survey
- 2004 – 2011: Assistant Producer, BBC Natural History Unit
- 2011 – 2013: Director, Ethical Solar
- 2014: Diploma in Permaculture, Permaculture Association
- 2014: Member, Permaculture Associations Farmers and Growers Group
- 2014: Member, Paramaethu Cymru
- 2016: Holistic management training, Re-gen Ag UK
- 2013 - present: Self Employed Farmer
TOP TIPS FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS
“When you want to do something, you should find the world’s best and learn with them. Finding a good mentor is invaluable.”
“Farming is the most important job in the world. Love what you do and be proud of it. Follow your own vision; don’t try to always please everybody or do what others expect you to do.”
“The main limit to your farms productivity is your imagination.”