Full-time grower job – Coleshill Organics

Aug 10, 2023

Coleshill Organics is seeking a full-time grower to help maintain and develop the productivity of a 7-acre walled garden into the future.

This vacancy has arisen because Dom, our full-time grower, has left us to go travelling abroad after working with us for two years.

Set within the heart of the picturesque National Trust Buscot and Coleshill Estate villages on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border, Coleshill Organics has been managed to Soil Association organic standards for well over 20 years.

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do here and we are seeking someone to join us and help build the resilience of this business in the face of future challenges like climate change and food security. Ultimately, we are looking for a grower who can envisage a future here with long-term security and real prospects. We would like to hear from new entrants as well as established commercial growers.

We operate a popular organic vegetable box scheme delivering weekly boxes across the Oxfordshire – Wiltshire – Gloucestershire borders area, as well as a weekly stall at the award-winning Stroud farmers’ market and our small on-site honesty shop. We also supply wholesale to several well-known restaurants, pubs, and retail outlets in the local area. The business includes three no-dig polytunnels, a recently renovated and well-equipped Victorian propagation glasshouse, a packing shed, and various outbuildings. We have a wide range of specialist equipment, ranging from a Kubota tractor with a front-end loader, power harrows, planters, flail collector for supplementing compost, wheel hoes/drills, and an electric tilther for no-dig tunnel work. We were instrumental in establishing the first Soil Association Apprenticeship Scheme and trained two well-respected growers who are now running their own successful businesses.–

Over the years we have planted a diverse orchard, espaliered the south-facing wall, erected three productive polytunnels, worked extensively on soil fertility, established excellent relationships with local schools and the community, and generally created a hugely productive and respected local business. We have also hosted many public events – including celebratory feasts in the garden, Shakespeare plays in the orchard, National Trust WWII re-enactment days and annual Earth Summits with our local schools – and this is an area that we are keen to develop in the future. Currently, we have a team of six working across the garden and packhouse.

We are now looking to recruit a grounded, hard-working and experienced commercial grower who can take the lead on crop planning and vegetable production and will bring their own experiences and ideas and passion for regenerative growing to this thriving business—and embrace this diverse and magical garden.

PLEASE NOTE that we would also be interested in hearing from new entrants wishing to consolidate and extend their skills, as support would be available to facilitate this.

As well as extensive horticultural growing and crop planning experience, you will have excellent organisational skills and keen attention to detail, combined with a range of appropriate practical knowledge and skills. Some machinery and general maintenance experience would be an advantage.

As you will have a full-time assistant grower working alongside you, we are looking for someone with excellent communication skills and a proven track record of working well with others, including seasonal staff, students, volunteers, and part-timers, plus the ability to organise and manage daily/weekly activities and to get the best from people.

Under the guidance of owner, Sonia Oliver, your key tasks will include:

  • Participating in the strategic development of the business over the next five years
  • Planning and managing every aspect of garden production
  • Managing a team of paid staff, trainees, students, and volunteers
  • A commitment to education and sharing knowledge (including student interns and the many school groups we work with)
  • Maintenance (mechanical and general)
  • Willingness to be involved in the retail side of the operation.

Salary is negotiable, depending on experience. Again, we are willing to consider applications from new entrants with some growing experience, with a view to providing appropriate training and support for the right candidates. 

This is an exciting opportunity at a unique and evolving time in the history of food production, food security and climate change, when the support and nurturing of resilient local food systems is more important than ever. Our place at the heart of the village community—and our role as a visitor and educational hub—means that Coleshill Organics has never had more relevance, purpose, and value.

How to apply

Please send your CV and a cover letter (two pages maximum), explaining why you would like the position and how you meet the knowledge, skills, and experience required, to Sonia Oliver at:

Coleshill Organics, 59 Coleshill, Swindon, SN6 7PT.

Alternatively, please use our contact form to request our email address. (This helps to avoid unwanted spam!)

If you would like to informally discuss any aspects of the job in advance of applying, please get in touch with Sonia Oliver using our contact form to arrange a phone call or a visit.

For background information about Coleshill Organics, please explore our website. You can also find out more about our day-to-day activities on Facebook and Instagram.

[Photo credits: Coleshill organics]

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