Want to be a commercial organic grower? - Recruiting now for our Spring 2020 course!

Fri, 01/10/2020
The last commercial growers course group visiting Fir Tree Farm

Want to be a commercial organic grower? - We're recruiting now for our Spring 2020 Commercial Organic Growers course!

We are serious about getting more people into commercial food growing, and we are looking to support people who are serious about doing it too! Every year 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. 

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, Veg Box 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. 

"Informative and inspirational, we'd highly recommend it to others looking to develop their understanding of commercial growing”. 

Who is it for?
The course is part of the process for recruiting new growers for our FarmStart programme for the following year’s growing season. However, if you are looking to become a commercial grower in another area of Greater Manchester - or anywhere else for that matter – do get in touch (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.

How much is it?
The fee is £150 (inc.vat.) Participants cover transport costs to the sites, though car sharing can be organised with other participants. 

What you'll learn:
Our four day course is taught by experienced growers: Kate Collyns (info below) runs the days at FarmStart, Woodbank and Glebelands City Growers at their site in Sale.
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) 
  • 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

Info about Kate:
Kate Collyns started her own market garden business in 2011, and sells to farm shops, cafés, local pubs and restaurants. Kate is also Author of the book 'Growing for Profit' in which she answers all the questions she had when starting out in business herself, and has written for magazines including The Independent magazine, Countryfile and Grow Your Own.  Kate is currently chair of the Organic Growers Alliance. 

When is it?
The course dates for 2020 are:  Sat March 7th, Sun March 8th, Sat March 14th and Sat March 28th
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"  

The deadline for applications is Midnight, Thursday 13th February 2020. Details on how to apply are within the application form below. 
For further info please contact: farmstart@kindling.org.uk

The Kindling Trust is a not for profit social enterprise with charitable aims (Company number: 6136029).
Kindling Trust Ltd - Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7HR