Commercial Growers Course

Want to be a commercial organic grower? Our 4-day Commercial Organic Growers course might be for you...

Next course dates are:

Sat March 7th & Sun March 8th - Day 1 & 2 - Kate Collyns at Woodbank, Stockport
Sat March 14th - Day 3 at Glebelands City Growers, Sale 
Sat March 21st - week off
Sat March 28th - Day 4 - Kate Collyns at Woodbank, Stockport


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! Each 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”. 

"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"  


“I really enjoyed the course as it was very informative but also very inspiring - especially listening & talking to Jenny and others on the course about becoming a grower. The course was well structured, well thought out and presented. I would highly recommend it to others.”
“I found this a totally unique and inspiring course. I think the opportunity to explore the prospect of going into organic growing and learning about it first hand is really important.”


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, 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. 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). 
The fee is £150. Participants will need to 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) 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.  


Info about Kate:
Kate Collyns started her own market garden business three years ago, 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?
We run the course once a year.
 
 

How do I apply?
Email us at farmstart@kindling.org.uk and ask to be sent an application form for the upcoming dates or to be added to the list of people interested in a future course. We will then email you with an application form or as soon as we have later dates. The application is just to help us make sure that the course is right for you and because there are limited places on the course. We look forward to hearing from you!

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