The new president of the Isle of Wight branch of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Colin Boswell, believes that the recent influx of newcomers to the rural island scene makes it a time of change and of opportunities.

Mr Boswell replaced Laurence Taylor at a CLA committee meeting on Monday night, in one of the island’s most important rural roles.

A father of 5, Mr Boswell and his family run The Garlic Farm near Newchurch, a business that includes self-catering cottages and yurts as well as a fast-growing farm shop, restaurant and cafe, attracting over 200 000 visitors per year.

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He moved to the Isle of Wight as a child in the 1950s, where his father pioneered the cultivation of sweet corn in the UK, supplying expanding supermarkets from the 1960s.

Fast forward decades and Mr Boswell says there is a new influx of new faces to the island who have the capacity to help its rural economy evolve and grow – a group he calls the ‘new ones. Victorians ”.

Mr Boswell, who frequently cycles around the island and has observed their impact, said:

“New Island residents are increasingly present on the rural scene, and it is important that we embrace them.

“I note the many changes taking place in rural housing improvement, an ongoing work underway to meet the needs of our new rural residents. Improved Wi-Fi connections everywhere, increasing the number of people who commit to investing full-time in island life week after week rather than arriving on a Friday night.

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“I consider myself lucky to meet so many new Islanders. They are relatively knowledgeable, considerably younger than our average age gathered here, and with the energy and tenacity to make island life rich and fulfilling.

“Our new Victorians come with money to invest in improving their new location, hopefully for the benefit of all. I see the island’s CLA as a natural home for many of them. We should welcome them and offer ourselves as an essential source of knowledge and contacts within this community. “

Mr. Boswell married Jenny in 1976 and joined his parents in partnership on the family farm. Over the next 20 years, it grew from 300 to 1,500 acres, mostly sweet corn, and imported 2,500 tonnes of garlic per year from all over the world to supply UK supermarkets.

In 1999 the business supplying supermarkets and manufacturers was sold and Colin and Jenny returned to their roots as a family-owned farming business specializing in garlic, but continuing to diversify into 70 product lines at the garlic.

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Over the past 15 years, Mr. Boswell has traveled extensively to research the origins of garlic, from Kazakhstan to eastern Turkey, and works as a garlic consultant around the world. He’s also featured in garlic-related cooking and gardening TV series.

As Chair of the Isle of Wight CLA Section, Mr Boswell will represent farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the island. He added:

“I am grateful to Laurence for having chaired the Island CLA during an extraordinary time. Thank you Laurence for having faced a totally unexpected situation, thrown on your knees, with such good grace, serenity and attention to detail.

CLA Regional Director for the South East, Tim Bamford, said:

“We would like to express our sincere thanks to Laurence Taylor for her tremendous work, ideas and enthusiasm throughout her presidency.

“We are delighted to welcome Colin Boswell to this role and look forward to working closely with him over the next few years. “

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