Sunday 3 June 2012

Your chance to become a Norwich FarmShare Apprentice!

We're offering two fantastic chances to join the FarmShare growing team as an apprentice. You'll find more information below and you can download a post description here.

Application closing date Monday 25th June, start date Monday 16th July.

Norwich FarmShare - and other CSA schemes in the UK - are doing something a bit different and, we think, a bit special: blurring the boundaries between producer and consumer. This brings a host of benefits - our growers are supported by a team of volunteers, have a secure and regular market for their produce, are part of a community that values their hard work and commitment. Meanwhile our members benefit from very fresh produce and from varieties not generally on sale in supermarkets and greengrocers, they're able to actively participate in the business they own - from helping on the farm to working on marketing and communications. Both growing team and members are part of a wider movement and are in contact with a local, national and international network of other, similar, ventures.

But trying to do something new can also be quite a challenge.

Last year when Norwich FarmShare began recruiting for a head grower we wrote a description of the role - we needed to find someone who had experience growing vegetables on a small scale (but bigger than an allotment), could handle the small machines we use, understood the principles of permaculture and organic production - and got what FarmShare is all about, could recruit, co-ordinate and work with volunteers, could manage staff, would be happy blogging, using Facebook, Twitter and talking to the press. A tall order.

In the end we decided to take a different approach and, working with Tierney Woods (then our assistant grower), we developed an informal apprenticeship scheme. We recruited a mentor, Michael Knights, with a decade and half experience in organic production and we arranged visits to other similar projects.

It worked; Tierney has grown into the role, developed new skills (and taught us a thing or two!). Therefore this summer we'd like to offer our apprenticeship scheme to two more people. We hope that these two apprentices will eventually be able to work either at FarmShare or find places with other similar local initiatives, building skills and capacity in East Anglia and making it easier for other communities to do what we're doing.

The two apprenticeships are voluntary and will last for 6 months. during that time the apprentices will work for 1.5 days a week on the farm (a day of which will be spent with the horticultural mentor) they will participate in a two day communications for community growers workshop, organise a volunteer workday, meet other similar groups from East Anglia and further afield, visit other enterprises, learn the basics of organic production (including protected cropping, crop rotation, weed control, crop/harvest planning, fertility building and more). In addition they will learn more about how community enterprises like Norwich FarmShare work and develop their skills in team-working and volunteer management. Both apprentices will have the option to attend an introduction to permaculture course and to choose a local enterprise they'd like to visit.

It sounds pretty amazing!

If you're interested have a look at the more detailed description HERE.


If you’re keen please send us a brief CV and a short covering letter. In the covering letter please tell us why you’re interested in the apprenticeship scheme, how you meet the requirements and how a FarmShare apprenticeship fits with your future plans.

Apply in writing to Tierney Woods, Head Grower Norwich FarmShare at: 43, St. John’s Road, Bungay or by emailing

Deadline for applications: Monday 25th June
Interview date: Wednesday 4th July (at Postwick)
Start date: Monday 16th July