An Apprentice’s Story

I did the ‘Future Growers’ apprenticeship at Moyleabbey Farm in 2016.  I thought that organic growing was something I’d like to get into, but I had little real experience of a successful commercial enterprise and the principles of organic growing. I heard about the ‘Future Growers’ apprenticeship while I was wwoofing in Mayo, and thought it seemed like a brilliant opportunity. 

I was placed at Moyleabbey Farm in Kildare with Liam and Yuki and their family.  I have since learnt so much about how a successful organic farm operates.  I got to work alongside a highly experienced farmer who was so helpful and willing to share knowledge.  I learnt about the production of so many different crops from buying seeds, preparing soil and propagating, to harvesting and selling. 

As part of the scheme I would meet up with the other apprentices once or twice every month.  We would visit inspiring and innovative organic farms all over Ireland and come away brimming with new ideas.  The workshops were fascinating and led by renowned experts – they covered so many different areas: organic certification, soil, pests and diseases, machinery, and protected cropping, to name but a few.  The study element was really interesting and the Coordinator and Tutor were very supportive . 

The pay was at a basic rate but it meant I could learn and train on the job whilst being able to support myself.  As part of the course I got a Level 5 in Horticulture: Organic Principles and Standards.  We were also given excellent text books and resources to help us going forward. 

Oh and did I mention the food?  Many a delicious meal was shared together.  I made firm friends and contacts in the organic growing world, and as a result of the apprenticeship I feel confident I could make a go of it myself. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting into growing. 


2016 apprentices at Soil Workshop in Cloughjordan with John Hogan