Each autumn we run a 4-day Commercial Organic Horticulture Course - offering people an amazing training opportunity to learn how to set up an organic food growing business from the growers themselves.
"Informative and inspirational, we'd highly recommend it to others looking to develop their understanding of commercial growing”.
Kindling is working to create a more sustainable food system for Greater Manchester. We’ve 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). We 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: Jenny Griggs of Climate Friendly Food at Fir Tree Farm, Glebelands City Growers and FarmStart Manchester. The course is designed for people considering applying to join our FarmStart programme - a supported route into commercial organic veg production.
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 course also involves two 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.
"I've just finished a six month assistant grower internship, and Kindling's Commercial Growers Course has fallen at just the right time, because it
complements and consolidates the organic growing techniques that I have been practising.... It really helps to understand the
principles behind the practices" Adam Crowe, autumn 2015 participant.
The course is part of the process for recruiting new growers for our FarmStart incubator farm and training programme for the following 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 – we sometimes run an extra spring course as well, so do contact us just in case (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 additional placement days), can apply for a place. 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.
For details on how to apply for future courses please contact: Alex or Helen on 0161 818 8384, or e-mail email@example.com.