With its aim to give Australians hands-on experience and to grow a new generation of Australian farmers, Farmer Incubator has announced the return of its sought-after Pop Up Garlic Farmers program.
Kicking off in February, people have the unique opportunity to participate in a program that teaches you how to plant and nurture a market garden-scale garlic crop from seed to harvest and to market.
The program is offered at established farms and market gardens including Wildwood Organics in the Macedon Ranges.
All participants are taught and provided hands-on support by renowned farmers and scientists, many of whom started out through Farmer Incubator.
Many graduates of the program go on to work in farm internships, jobs or start their own food enterprises.
Willow participated in the program in 2021 and is now running a small-scale organic farm for North Melbourne Mauritian restaurant, Manzé, in a unique land-sharing arrangement with Tanaka Farm Project in Clarkefield.
This connection came about after Willow approached the restaurant to purchase garlic grown in the program.
“PUGF was a complete game-changer for me. I was always curious about growing food on a larger scale but had no opportunity to seriously try it for myself,” Willow said.
“Taking the pop-up garlic farmers course taught me a lot, but more importantly it connected me to other people growing food and wanting to grow food around the city.
“I met local food system advocates, experienced gardeners, and chefs looking for fresher local produce. Such a joy!”
Consisting of eight weekend workshops, the program runs from February to November 2023, and includes sessions on topics such as Soil Preparation, Pest and Disease Management and Product Marketing.
Participants are given seed to grow approximately 500 plants and tour established small-scale farms to get a deep understanding of the environment, build skills, and collaborate with like-minded farmers.
By the end of the program, participants leave with knowledge, support networks and confidence to grow an organic garlic crop.
Farmer Incubator’s co-farming initiative has booked out year on year.
As the program is outdoors and weekend based, it has proven popular with Victorians looking to reconnect with community and the environment while learning lifelong skills.
Limited spaces are available for the 2023 program. Participants who want an exciting new challenge in 2023, seek skills from the best in the urban agriculture space and learn to grow food regeneratively, are encouraged to apply for the Pop-Up Garlic Farmers Program.
Registrations are now open. For more info or to book a place (this does sell out every year so get in quick!) go to: www.farmerincubator.org/pugf