For the last two seasons the market garden has taken on trainee growers for an 8-month period. Trainees work alongside me in the garden and get the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge needed for small-scale commercial veg-growing. The 2017 traineeships have come to an end and I am now recruiting trainees for 2018. If you're potentially interested, please have a read of the ad below:
Trainee Grower Vacancies
Ragmans Lane Market Garden is seeking two trainee growers for the 2018 season. This is a fantastic opportunity for two motivated people to gain practical experience and knowledge of the practicalities of small-scale commercial veg-growing, nurturing crops from seed to harvest over a full growing season.
About the Market Garden
Ragmans Lane Market Garden is a thriving organic vegetable-growing business, now about to enter its fifth season. Originally set up as a partnership, Jon has run it as his own business (with help from seasonal trainees) for the last year. The garden is based at Ragmans Farm, a renowned teaching centre in an idyllic location by the river Wye in Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean. The garden has been steadily developing into a viable business based on a growing area of just half an acre of outdoor veg beds and three polytunnels. This has been achieved partly through an emphasis on growing high-value crops, particularly salads, and through the use of harvesting methods and crop successions designed to make the most of the available space. A minimal cultivation approach has also been adopted, using compost and other mulches to enhance soil and crop health while reducing the weed burden and need for tillage. Produce from the market garden is sold to local shops, restaurants and directly to local residents through the innovative Dean Forest Food Hub website.
About the Traineeship
This informal but comprehensive traineeship will run from early March until the end of October (some flexibility with dates). The trainees will work closely with the grower on a daily basis, and receive thorough practical training in the various aspects of running a small-scale market garden, including crop planning, cultivation, plant propagation, harvesting, weed management, fertility building, produce packing and marketing. The wide range of crops grown means that the work is varied – trainees can expect to be performing several different types of task over the course of each working day. There will be occasional sit-down tutorials discussing particular topics, but most training will take place on the job. Each trainee will be provided with a simply-furnished private room in a comfortable shared house on the farm, as well as all (mostly vegetarian) food and an £80/week stipend. In return, trainees are asked to work from 8-4:30 Monday-Friday, with a 30-minute tea break and an hour for lunch. There are some earlier starts (and earlier finishes) on harvest days, as well as occasional weekend watering cover.
2016 trainee Esme Shea:
“My traineeship at Ragmans was an absolutely wonderful experience! During the eight month season I learnt so much from Jon and thoroughly enjoyed both living and working at the Market Garden. My time at Ragmans has left me with a real passion for horticulture and equipped me with skills that I will use for the rest of my life. Since finishing the traineeship I have pursued a variety of horticultural work, including using horticulture therapeutically to support disadvantaged children. For anyone interested in learning about organic growing and market gardening, I cannot recommend this traineeship enough - a truly inspiring and informative experience."
The traineeship is conceived as a stepping stone for people to build a livelihood in veg-growing or a related field, so candidates will be expected to have a serious interest in developing the skills needed to pursue this line of work. Despite being rurally based, the market garden’s small scale and low level of mechanisation mean that the traineeship could equally suit someone interested in developing urban or community growing projects. In addition to general enthusiasm, the following personal attributes are required:
- Some practical experience of veg-growing on a commercial scale (eg. WWOOFing).
- Commitment to and/or interest in organic/agroecological principles
- A decent level of fitness and a willingness to perform physical work in all weathers.
- Ability to follow complex instructions and work efficiently, with a high level of attention to detail.
- Ability to work well as part of a team (including some supervising of WWOOFers in the summer months)
- Full driving licence and willingness to make regular deliveries (no more than a few hours a week on average)
- Enthusiasm for shared living and willingness to be involved in preparing shared meals at least some of the time
It should be noted that Jon is very much still learning the art of growing, so the traineeship is as much an opportunity to learn alongside him as it is to learn from him. To apply for one of the roles, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why you would like to undertake the traineeship here and why you think you would be right for the role, including details of any relevant experience that you have. The deadline for applications is the 8th of January 2018, and interviews will take place during the week starting the 15th of January.
Please share this ad with anyone who you think might be interested. For further info, please use the above e-mail address or call Jon on 07503217680.