FarmStart - Training Programme, Stockport.

FarmStart is for skilled and enthusiastic people from all backgrounds to build new careers in producing fresh, healthy and sustainable food for local markets.

Agriculture is key to a healthy planet and no system of farming does more to protect soil, water and biodiversity than organic. Being an organic grower is an incredibly fulfilling job, nourishing people and planet.  But it's also fraught with risk, underpaid, and incredibly hard work! Is it for you? 

If you're keen on a career in growing but not not ready to launch yourself into it full-time, spend a year honing your veg growing skills and learn about the business aspects of horticulture with a year-long programme.  

FarmStart is for people who want to focus on increasing their commercial scale growing experience and skills before taking on the additional challenge of setting up their own growing business. The programme involves classroom training covering the key topics for commercial scale organic growing – ranging from building and maintaining soil health, to managing pests and diseases in an organic system to crop planning for a commercial scale. We also get you thinking about the other side of running your own business, from pricing to book keeping to working with volunteers. You then get to put all this into practice by working alongside an experienced grower in the field for the year. This is not only to help you learn more about growing, but to give you a realistic experience of life as a commercial grower, to help you decide if this is for you.

FarmStart Woodbank is located in the heart of urban Stockport, and is part of Woodbank Nursery, an exciting new urban agriculture hub that’s joining up inclusive community gardening with commercial urban food production.

Farmstart Woodbank is currently a 1½ acre site, with two large polytunnels. We aim for year-round production and specialise in tender crops grown under cover, for example early peas and tomatoes and cucumbers during the summer and salad leaves during the winter. FarmStart Woodbank crop plans with Veg Box People and Manchester Veg People; two not for profit co-operatives aiming to support new growers and increase access to local organic veg for all.

It's located on a site the size of one and a half professional football pitches that’s being transformed by a new partnership of organisations (including us) into a one-stop-shop for urban agriculture. Existing community and therapeutic gardening projects already running at the site have been joined by FarmStart, a programme of community activities and courses, and and commercial growing co-operative Glebelands City Growers, already running a thriving market garden in Sale. On the one site, Stockport residents will be able to progress from beginner volunteers through to skilled urban growers.

To find out more about the FarmStart programme please click here.

Applications for FarmStart are taken each autumn and the deadline for 2018 applications is 19th November. If you're interested in applying for FarmStart Woodbank, please email

Further information about the Kindling Trust growing opportunities click here.

[Photographs courtesy of the Kindling Trust]