Becoming an organic farmer

Helen showing prospective FarmStarters around Woodbank

Last night we held our annual 'Do you want to be an organic farmer?' event at Woodbank Community Food Hub, where we welcomed eight keen folk to learn more about the FarmStart course before they apply. It was a great evening with lots of really interesting discussion, and great potential for our next set of recruits.

Our FarmStart programme is a part-time, year-long course that we've run for a number of years to get people into becoming a farmer or running a commercial growing site. We give a mixture of classroom-based learning and practical training, all run at Woodbank, our main horticulture site in Stockport. The course is delivered to you by our experienced staff at Woodbank, and you will be supported by our wonderful volunteers throughout the growing season.

If you missed last night's event and want to know if FarmStart would be right for you, then there are still some opportunities to find out more. Firstly we ask that you do come to one of our Land Army sessions, it is implicit that anyone applying gets to know the site and find out more from our staff and volunteers before applying. We have two left in the season, one on the 9th October and one on the 23rd October - you can register for either by following the link to our events page here.

The application forms will be released on the 29th October, which will give you four weeks till the deadline for applications on Sunday 28th November. You will find the application forms on our FarmStart section of the website, here.

Read what Aoife, one of our first year FarmStarters, has to say about the course:

"This year has been an extremely steep learning curve. We’ve been incredibly fortunate with our tutors and the guest growers. I’ve learned so much about the organic market nationally and here in Manchester. My horticultural skills have improved immensely and I never thought in a million years I’d get this good at time management.   

This is all great knowledge to take away from this year but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that there is no one size fits all to run a successful grow project.  There will be triumphs and disasters and learning to roll with both is what makes a successful grower."

If you have any more questions about FarmStart, please email Helen at

Share on social