Skills & Training

Creating farming pioneers

At the Co-op, we have always believed in working with our members, farmers, suppliers and customers to create better ways of doing business. We also know that to secure our future it is vital that this work embraces the talents and dynamism of the young people who are part of our supply chain. Our Co-op Farming Pioneers programme takes groups of young farmers, aged between 21 – 35 through a free 30 month training programme. The aim is to help develop businesses and personal skills to better equip farmers in our supply chain for the future. By 2019 we will have 5 groups totalling 100 young farmers embarked on the programme!

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Our Growers

Find out how we're working with growers to extend the British season, so that you can buy home-grown fruit and vegetables for longer.

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Meet the Co-op Farming Pioneers

#TheCoopWay means a better way of doing business - and that includes supporting our producers. We met up with some young farmers on our Pioneers programme to hear in their own words why championing British farmers is good for everyone.


Hi I’m Mary, a Dairy Farmer from Cheshire and I supply milk to the Co-op. I attend the Co-op farming pioneers meetings to develop my skills and business. I help out on Open Farm Sunday, we opened up a farm for the public for them to understand the provenance of their food.

It's great to have a better connection with the local community and have that interaction with them. Consumers like to buy British as long as its competitive, they want to support British farmers which the Co-op are helping us do.


We get to share our experiences and it’s great to be involved. Co-ops Farming Pioneers Programme encourages young people to see agriculture as a career and gives suppliers like us the tools we need to grow our businesses. For the past few years we have had heavy involvement with our local secondary school and college.

Every 3 months we have groups of school children come to the farm and learn about dairy farming and encourage them to come into the industry. By buying British produce in your local Co-op you’re also supporting the environment we live in, food miles are cut down and the environment is enhanced, we know where that food has come from.


Getting together is a good opportunity to meet similar likeminded people from all sectors of the farming industry. It’s great as we can learn of each other.

Open Farm Sunday is fantastic because as farmers you don’t get to meet the consumers very often and we also raised money for a local charity.


Co-op is trying to get more local food into its stores, and buying British is a great way to support the economy, as well as future generations of farmers to come. If there were no farmers, there’d be no food on your table