Considering a livelihood as an organic veg farmer? Our FarmStart programme offers a unique year-long training programme, working at an organic market garden learning how to become a commercial organic grower. With a mixture of classroom and practical training, you'll gain knowledge on everything from soil nutrition, to managing pests and disease, to crop planning for a commercial operation. For two days a week you'll be based on our 1 1/2 acre site at Woodbank in Stockport. You'll be guided through this process by our expert trainers and coordinators, Rob and Helen, and also have the benefit of an army of volunteers helping you throughout the growing season with our Land Army events.
Kindling provided courses over the year teaching many skills I would need, like crop rotation, planning, green manures, bookkeeping and other useful things. We've also had an established grower looking at our crops and giving advice.
Simon, Former FarmStarter between 2017 & 2018
I've learnt about the unpredictability of growing. The hard work involved. The need to continually keep an eye on your crops. The wonder of it all...how a seed turns to a thriving plant in a matter of weeks! It still amazes me. Working together with the other trainees has been great. We all have different strengths and we can support each other when one of us is flagging.
Nick, Former FarmStarter 2019
If you’re looking to make a transition from community or allotment growing to commercial production, FarmStart offers the perfect opportunity to build up your skills and experiment with organic commercial-scale growing on a larger.
Without hefty savings or a farm in the family, starting a new career on the land is almost impossible for most. By providing training, equipment, land and a growing market, we’ve created a supported route into farming for brand new entrants.
FarmStart runs at our Woodbank site in Stockport. The entry level of the programme runs from February to October each year, and involves a time commitment of 2 days each week.
Our application process will be released on the 29th October, and the deadline for all applications will be Sunday 28th October. It is essential that you first come to one of our Land Army sessions before applying for the course - you can find these on our events page.
The Kindling Trust established the first FarmStart in the UK in 2013 and we've inspired many more across the country since.
The Land Workers Alliance runs a network of similar farm incubator sites and has recently published a 'How To' guide for those considering offering land, mentoring and training to new entrants into farming.
Click below to find out more or contact us if you are interested in learning more about FarmStart.