Young Islanders find support for first-time farming venture

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They are combining an expanding enterprise – G & H Agriculture – with day jobs in commercial aviation and the public sector.

When pilot Henry Lucas (27) is not in the cockpit of an aircraft, and his partner Georgie Barclay (25) in the office, they can be found weeding crops and tending their chicken flock.

Mr Lucas said: ‘Georgie works in portfolio and change management from nine to five, helping out as and when she can in the evenings and throughout the weekends, whereas I am lucky with working shifts, so we can complement and balance one another with the business.’

Based in St Peter, with a field overlooking St Aubin, they have plans to increase their current ten vergées.

Mr Lucas said: ‘We hope to expand as and where we can, but in only five months we’ve gone from a couple of vergées to where we are now. The plan is to grow the flock of egg-laying hens and in time look to other livestock.’

Although both their families have farming in the blood, the couple have started from scratch. Mr Lucas moved to the Island to work in 2018 and Miss Barclay has lived here for about 12 years. They have been together for a year.

He said: ‘Both of us really enjoy various aspects of farming. I’m more interested in arable, whereas
Georgie is livestock.

‘We again complement one another’s interests and help to diversify our offering. But, simply put, it’s a passion. I am not really sure what we would be doing if it wasn’t this.’

Rather than being viewed with scepticism by the established farming community, help has been pouring in – including donations of old equipment and practical assistance. Mr Lucas said: ‘Every single person we have come into contact with, either farming related or who works with chickens, has been extraordinarily helpful and friendly.

‘Even though we are newcomers to farming and I am not even from the Island, people have taken us under their wing.’

The venture might be less than six months old but there are already spin-offs. The couple are working with Charlie Farley’s nursery to help children understand the food chain and where eggs come from.

Miss Barclay is working on a children’s book about the escapades of Beryl, an adventurous free-ranging chicken from their flock.

G & H produce is sold from a hedge-veg stall in Chemin de Mont de la Mare, off Rue de la Presse, in St Peter. They also trade at the Genuine Jersey farm-and-craft markets in St Aubin.

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