Lancaster’s FarmStart organic growers support course

Are you interested in growing food for a living? Considering a career working on the land? Have a dream to be an organic farmer? Wondering if this is for you?

Early August Harvest GWGLESS, with support from the Galbraith Trust, have just launched a new FarmStart Growers’ Support Course for people interested in becoming a small-scale commercial farmer.

There are many challenges to starting a career as a grower, including the price of farmland and rural accommodation, and a lack of training and mentorship…This project is the first step in achieving Lancaster’s 10-year vision of thriving small-scale local farms providing food and meaningful employment for local people.

The project will enable up to 20 local people to begin to develop the skills, expertise and experiences that are required for small-scale sustainable commercial growing. It will widen the network of local people with a shared vision for a local food economy which also provides wider community benefits. It will provide access to dedicated structured volunteer opportunities for participants to build experience and expertise with local farms and farmers. Finally, it will be an opportunity to input to the development of the full Lancaster FarmStart scheme which aims to set up on a local three acre site within the next year.

The course curriculum will include an introduction to crop planning for a north west location; growing under cover; harvesting, handling and packaging; pricing, marketing, distribution and selling; organisational/business models; and volunteer management. The focus will be on growing at commercial scale and on commercial terms, using organic principles.

The course will run over 6 months, from April – September 2019 and will be delivered through six full-day sessions. These will all be based at local farms or community growing projects in Lancaster and the surrounding area.

Being an organic farmer can be an incredibly fulfilling job. It provides healthy food and can contribute to sustainable, regenerative living. However, it is also hard work and can be fraught with risk! If you want to join a new generation of small-scale sustainable farmers, come and get your questions answered!

This course is an introductory programme. We are currently seeking a large-scale funding bid to support the set up of a Lancaster FarmStart programme on a three acre site close to the city. If you think that organic farming might be for you, join this programme and be at the heart of the development of a larger scale FarmStart Initiative.

Bursaries are available for low/unwaged participants.

For more information about the course or to book see www.lessuk.org/FarmStart and email [email protected]

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