FarmStart Woodbank is Kindling’s (and the UK’s!) second farm business incubator. If you’re looking to make a gradual transition from community or allotment growing to commercial production, FarmStart offers the perfect opportunity to build up your skills and experiment with organic growing on a larger scale. Read our main FarmStart page to find out how it all works, or click here to get a flavour of a 2016 FarmStarter's experience at Woodbank.
FarmStart Woodbank is located in the heart of urban Stockport, and is part of Woodbank Park, an exciting new urban agriculture hub that’s joining up inclusive community gardening with commercial urban food production.
Farmstart Woodbank is currently a 1½ acre site, with two large polytunnels . Whilst FarmStart Abbey Leys is focused on crops suitable for field-scale growing on the rural periphery of the city, Woodbank is aiming for year round production and to specialise in tender, higher-input crops, for example early peas and tomatoes and cucumbers during the summer and salad leaves during the winter. FarmStart Woodbank crop plans with Veg Box People and Manchester Veg People two not for profit co-operatives aiming to increase access to local organic veg for all and to support new growers.
It’s part of a site the size of one and a half professional football pitches that’s being transformed by a new partnership of organisations (including us) into a one-stop-shop for urban agriculture. Existing community and therapeutic gardening projects already running at the site will be joined by training facilities, FarmStart, and commercial growing co-operative Glebelands City Growers, already running a thriving market garden in Sale. On the one site, Stockport residents will be able to progress from beginner volunteers through to skilled urban growers.
Applications for FarmStart are taken each autumn and the deadline for 2018 applications is 20th November. If you're interested in applying, please email FarmStart@kindling.org.uk, specifying whether you are applying for FarmStart Abbey Leys or Woodbank.
At other times of year, we encourage interested folk to spend time over the spring and summer helping out on local organic farms with our Land Army. The next step for budding FarmStarters is to take part in our intensive four-day Commercial Organic Growers Course, taught by Glebelands City Growers and Jenny Griggs of Fir Tree Farm at their sites in Sale and St Helens in the autumn.
For anyone interested in urban growing, there is loads to do at Woodbank. Even if Farmstart isn’t for you, if you want to get your hands dirty from time to time, just give us a shout! The site has been largely neglected for some time and the transformation we, local residents and the others partners are seeking to achieve is huge. So if you fancy being part of it, whether by volunteering on the site, participating in training, or something else, get in touch with LandArmy@Kindling.org.uk. We also offer workplace ‘Team Challenge Days’ on the site.