Smallholding Scotland 2018 Programme

Smallholding Scotland 2018 programme

The conference has a single stream, providing six presentations in all throughout the day.

Registration and refreshments start at 9:00am with the first sessions starting at 9:30am. The conference will close at 4:45pm. The full programme:


9:00 – Registration


9:30 – Practical Health & Safety – Stuart Daly, NFUM

Stuart has worked as a health and safety professional since June 2000 and joined NFU Mutual Risk Management Services in August 2017. Prior to joining NFU Mutual, Stuart has worked in various sectors including: oil/ gas, manufacturing, engineering, transport/ logistics, shipping, marine operations, construction, waste management and education. In addition, Stuart has held a number of senior health and safety management positions in both the private and public sectors.

Stuart has extensive experience working with a broad range of stakeholders that include: front line staff, supervisors, regulators (e.g. HSE/ Local Authority), trade unions, management/ board of management and members of the public.

In his presentation, he’ll be covering three main areas

  1. Occupational Health
  2. Risk Management
  3. Accident Prevention

10:00 – The GREAT Soils Project – Audrey Litterick

Audrey has over 20 years experience as a crop and environmental scientist. She trained originally in horticulture and plant pathology, and ran the Horticultural Crop Health Centre at SAC for 8 years. She has since held senior research posts at both Aberdeen University and SAC, where she developed a portfolio of work in sustainable and organic crop production, crop nutrition and soil management.

Audrey now runs a busy consultancy business (Audrey Litterick Consulting Ltd.) and is a director of UK environmental consultancy Earthcare Technical Ltd.). Her main roles are to work with famers, land managers and advisors to improve their soils, to optimise use of fertilisers including bulky organic materials and to assist compost/digestate producers to improve their products and develop robust and novel markets primarily in agriculture, field horticulture, landscaping and land restoration. Her clients include government departments, local authorities, charities and companies of all sizes.

Audrey is passionate about the potential for horticultural crop production in Scotland. She has written numerous guidance documents on best practice in soil management and crop nutrition and has developed and run a wide range of practical training courses for gardeners, crofters and other small-scale growers.

Audrey’s presentation at the conference is on the outcomes of the GREAT soils project. She will be explaining the following:

  1. What is soil health?
  2. The GREAT soils project (funder, aims and project outline).
  3. Why test soil health?
  4. The three main types of soil health tests (chemical, physical and biological)
  5. Recommended tests for small-scale growers
  6. What the farmers have been doing on their fields
  7. Strategies to manage soil health (green manures, composts, minimising bare soil in the rotation etc.)
  8. Conclusions and things to aim for in future

10:50 – Refreshments


11:20 – Improving neo-natal care on the smallholding – Caroline Robinson, SRUC

Caroline Robinson is a Veterinary Investigation Officer with SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College. In this role she investigates farm and exotic animal diseases, consults to vets in practice, monitors wildlife disease and provides veterinary advice to the police and the SSPCA. In addition, SRUC provides health and welfare advice to farmers and smallholders, and Caroline’s particular interest is the provision of services to smallholders and small farmers, with an emphasis on preventing problems before they occur.

This year, Caroline is going to be tackling a particularly seasonal issue – care of the neonate. She’s be talking about recent developments and that steps that you can take to reduce the risk of losses of newborn animals during lambing, kidding and calving.


12:10 – Food Assemblies – getting to market – Theo Laffargue, Riverside Bakery

Theo Lafarrgue has been making bread since he arrived in Stirling as a student in 2011. He started to make his own sourdough bread and found that this was a true eye opener to the whole topic of food systems and sustainability. Since then, Theo says he has “met fantastic people and discovered fascinating projects like Bread Matters, Scotland the Bread and more.”

In 2014, Theo took part in a ‘Baking for Community’ course at Bread Matters. These four days opened up new horizons and from there, he decided to work towards a community-supported bakery project, running bread workshops, baking for community events, and then starting the Riverside Bakery Project with Nils and Tom.

Theo’s presentation at the conference is about The Food Assembly Network. He became involved in the Stirling Food Assembly at its creation in September 2016 and will offer a short history of the network and its national/local development in the UK/Stirling, followed by an outline of his own experience, and those of others, as a small scale producers, selling there. He will also extend the discussion further and talk about the general food scene in Stirling and bring ideas that could be interesting to folks trying to make their way to market as smallholders in rural/peri urban Scotland.

Theo says, “As someone running a small scale food business based on very little input (financially and energetically) I mostly rely on direct sales because they let me know my customers, and simply make more sense financially. Not only has The Food Assembly has increased my sales, but it has created a fixed point (every Thursday evening), where I can meet other food producers, and customers, and I think that the food we sell has increased in value (ethical, social, environmental etc.) as a consequence. The Stirling Food Assembly has become one of the favourite times of my week for its social and cooperative aspects.”


12:55 – Lunch, provided by the excellent Pitcairngreen Inn


14:00 – Discussion session on smallholding issues


14:50 – Permaculture in action

Lorraine Ishak, “In bed with Tesco”

Lorraine lives at The Hidden Mill, a 15 acre smallholding in Dumfries and Galloway, with her partner and two children. The land, although classed as unproductive has pockets of woodland, wetland, pasture and waterways – in fact, a permaculture paradise.

Lorraine’s presentation is about a Tesco funded permaculture project recently completed at The Hidden Mill – The Children’s Permaculture Forest Garden – and how permaculture had helped her family to find a way to work our land in a way that made sense to them and for the world around them.

Sue Manning, Tombreck Farm

ScotLAND is a Scotland-wide network supporting and creating permaculture Learning And Network Demonstration (LAND) Centres. The aim of ScotLAND is to demonstrate practical examples of permaculture design in various different places, micro-climates, and cultures throughout Scotland. These include urban and rural home gardens, community gardens, public spaces, allotments, smallholdings and farms.


15:40 – Being Social – social media marketing – Jean Smart

Jean Smart is a freelance marketing professional, who works over a variety of sectors including charities, e-commerce, local small businesses and creative industries.  Her work focuses on creating social media strategies and solutions for her clients to help them better connect with their own unique audience.

Jean has a number of years experience managing international brands, and lives in deepest darkest Fife with her husband and toddler daughter, Peg.

Jean’s presentation will cover four key areas:

  • the current social media landscape
  • making social media work for small businesses
  • the right platform for the right audience
  • top five changes to make now

16:25 – Refreshments & networking


17:00 – Close


We are expecting a number of relevant organisations to attend to provide information and advice for smallholders going into the new year.

The venue

The 2018 conference is being held at Pitcairngreen Village Hall near Perth, the venue’s postcode is PH1 3LR.

Buy tickets online

Tickets are on sale now priced £25 (£20 for members of Smallholding Scotland, or £40 including 12 months membership of Smallholding Scotland).

Payment by debit card, credit card or PayPal account. NB: Last date for online orders is Wednesday 14th February 2018.

Buy tickets online now