Want to be a commercial organic grower?Tuesday 25 August 2015
Make the most of an amazing training opportunity to learn how to set up an organic food growing business from the growers themselves this Autumn.
Each year The Kindling Trust run two 4-day Commercial Organic Growing Courses to support people who are serious about wanting to get into commercial food growing.
“Finding the Commercial Organic Growers Course was such an encouragement to me as a small grower. I have been on general horticulture courses before but never been able to find anything local that looked at vegetable production on a commercial scale that would fit into my working week”. Suzanne Davis, Spring 2015 Course
Kindling is working to create a more sustainable food system for Greater Manchester. They have established a network for sustainable food initiatives (Feeding Manchester), a volunteer force to support local organic growers (the Land Army) and an incubator farm for brand new growers (FarmStart Manchester). They are also in the unusual position of having a great network of people and organisations to work with - from existing local organic growers to buyers such as Manchester Veg People and Unicorn Grocery.
"We are now looking to support and grow more commercial organic growers to supply these buyers, as well as local Farmers Markets and box schemes. The starting point for that is our four day course taught by the experts themselves on their farms. The course is designed for people considering applying to join our FarmStart programme - a supported route into commercial organic veg production." Jenny Griggs of Climate Friendly Food at Fir Tree Farm, Glebelands City Growers and FarmStart Manchester.
“Informative and inspirational, we'd highly recommend it to others looking to develop their understanding of commercial growing.” Jennie Savage, Autumn 2014 course
The course covers the key areas for setting up and running a food growing enterprise, including:
- Running a food growing business (including finances, legal issues, record-keeping, Health & Safety, managing volunteers) and co-operative business models.
- Understanding and maintaining soil fertility
- Small-scale market gardening – focusing on plant propagation and salad leaf production
- Field-scale vegetable production, including pests and diseases and machinery maintenance
The training will run on the following dates in Autumn 2015:
• Saturday 17th October
• Saturday 31st October
• Saturday 7th November
• Saturday 14th November
It will also involve 2 additional placement days at local organic farms (week days if possible), so that you practice what you learn during the course and get a taste of working at a commercial scale.
“A big benefit to us has been spending time both with those who are already part of an organic food growing business…. Our hosts have been warm and welcoming, and very generous in sharing their experiences as well as encouraging us in our future endeavour." Jennie Savage, Autumn 2014 course
The course is part of the process for recruiting new growers for our FarmStart incubator farm and training programme for next year’s growing season, so we will prioritise people who are hoping to apply for FarmStart Manchester. However if you are looking to become commercial grower in another area of Greater Manchester - or anywhere else for that matter – do contact Kindling in case there are places left (you will need to organise your own transport and accommodation however).
Anyone interested in becoming a commercial organic grower, who can commit to all the days of the course (including the two placements days), can apply for a place on the course.
The fee is £100 and you will need to cover your own transport costs to the sites (though car sharing can be organised with other participants). Places are limited so please get in touch now to avoid disappointment.
Apply by midnight on Sunday 27th September - you’ll be notified the following week if you have a place.
To request an application form please email or ask for Alex or Helen on firstname.lastname@example.org 0161 226 2242. For more details about Kindling and our work go to www.kindling.org.uk