Young farmer’s barn conversion wins national award

An enterprising young farmer from Hertfordshire who turned a disused barn into a thriving business received the Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Victoria Smith, of St Albans YFC, started her business during the lockdown after converting a disused barn and turning it into a place to sell hot drinks, homemade cakes and other local produce.

She used the funding and support she successfully secured from the Henry Plumb Foundation and spent every day making her idea a reality, while still holding a full time job.

The company started with a take-out option, but has now grown it to offer covered and outdoor seating and the product line has expanded to include local ice cream, oils, and honey.

In addition to employing local people, Victoria plans to expand the business with longer hours, selling meat raised at her fiance’s home, and selling locally produced Christmas gifts.

The young farmer was revealed as the winner of the award on September 15 during the 2021 awards ceremony of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

Luke Watts from Pembrokeshire has been announced as a finalist for a green glamping site he launched last year called Moithan Meadows.

Victoria said: “I am absolutely thrilled to win this award, something that I could not have imagined possible at this time last year, when my idea was really just an idea.

“West End Barns is proof that if you’re determined enough and willing to work hard, anything is possible, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the company. ”

Victoria’s approach to business planning, research and fundraising impressed all four judges, including Zoe Colville, aka Social Media Chief Shepherdess, Alexia Robinson, Love British Food Director Roddy McLean, director of agriculture at NatWest and Tom Pope, YFC of NFYFC Chairman AGRI.

The announcement of the YFC Achiever Awards ran from September 13-17, 2021.

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