Operating a small-scale organic market garden

Growers learn about running a small-scale organic market garden

Operating a small-scale organic market garden

Growers learn about running a small-scale organic market garden

Local Links - Stronger Communities -

LLCI003-043

The issue

We have identified strong interest among both growers and consumers in growing organic produce.  Our region is close enough to Sydney to provide a burgeoning market for organic produce, but also to create strong price-pressure on agricultural land making it unaffordable for many who would like to enter the industry.

Furthermore, many farming practices used in the horticulture industry have negative impacts on environmental health. 

The solution

Small-scale organic market gardening offers potential solutions to some of these challenges.  With higher production per unit area and the potential for premium prices for certified produce, it requires a smaller parcel of agricultural land, reducing the entry cost.  Organic farming also offers potential solutions to environmental health. 

In response to the community demand, the Central Coast Sustainable Farming Program team hosted the “Operating a small-scale organic market garden” workshop.

The workshop covered details on setting up and operating an organic market garden.  The training was the first of two one-day workshops on organic market gardening.

The impact

The workshop was well attended.  Topics covered in the workshop included 

  • Site selection for optimizing microclimate, soil type, water sources
  • Selection of core equipment
  • Crop selection and rotations
  • Typical seasonal timetables
  • Challenges faced in the first few and subsequent years
  • Data collection.

Learnings

Although most of the presenter’s experience was from South East Queensland we had two experienced organic growers who helped apply his knowledge to the local area.

Key facts

  • The workshop attracted an enthusiastic audience of 33 newcomers to the industry, existing farmers and industry representatives
  • Participants learnt the practicalities of setting up and operating an organic market garden.

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