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 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.
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.
"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, so we will prioritise people who are hoping to apply for this. However if you are looking to become 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.
The fee is £120 and you will need to cover your own transport costs to the sites, though car sharing can be organised with other participants.
What you'll learn:
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.
When is it?
We run the course every Autumn, and sometimes also in the Spring.
"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.