Full-time School Market Gardener – biodynamic environment6th November 2023
Market Gardener8th November 2023
About Borde Hill
Borde Hill (BH) is a Grade II* listed English Heritage Garden set within 383 acres of Parkland and Woodland in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with wider farmland beyond.
Created in the early 1900’s with plants gathered by the great plant hunters from their travels to the Himalayas, China, Burma, Tasmania, the Andes and North America, the Estate contains over 70 champion trees and 8,000 trees and shrubs listed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. In addition to the living collection, Borde Hill also has a rare plant archive which allows us to better understand the plant collection and social history to engage our visitors about ‘the world in one garden’.
The Stephenson Clarke family have been custodians of Borde Hill for five generations, and are at a stage of generational change that will see new energy, opportunities and ideas aimed at broadening our visitor demographic and ensuring Borde Hill is sustainable for future generations. This will include new business initiatives of field to fork eating, a biodynamic market garden and a rejuvenated family parkland offering with improved infrastructure, better horticultural interpretation and plant management.
You and Your Role
An exciting new opportunity has arisen to join the Borde Hill team to manage our new 4 acre biodynamic market garden – The Growers Project – located at Sugworth Farm, a 40 acre farm on Borde Hill Estate. Now in its second year of production, we are looking for a passionate grower to work on establishing and transforming the site to produce seasonal fruit and vegetables which will supply the new restaurant, café and farm shop planned to open at The Stables at Borde Hill.
You will work closely with the Senior Kitchen Gardener and restaurant Chef to bring the new food vision to life, creating a strong brand message of farm to fork, seasonal produce, showcasing the very best of biodynamic growing. It is therefore, not only key that you have knowledge of growing produce on a large scale, but also need strong organizational and communication skills to enable effective planning with all parties regarding crop selection, cultivation, time of sowing and harvest.
As the operation grows, you will manage seasonal growers and will need to build upon the current volunteer pool in order to support the growing operation. Polytunnels and undercover crops will be key, so knowledge of cultivation and propagation under these structures will be important for producing a vast array of soft crops.
Beyond the market garden at Sugworth Farm, you will work closely with the Senior Kitchen Gardener to oversee the re-imagined Walled Kitchen Garden at the Stables, which is also biodynamic, and is designed as a potager garden with edible, medicinal and companion planting. Therefore the successful candidate would ideally also have experience in productive walled gardening encompassing vegetable production, propagation, herbaceous borders, orchards, wall trained fruit and cut flowers.
Your passion for organic/biodynamic growing, technical knowledge and creativity will be key in ensuring these areas and the plants within them are cared for and developed to grow delicious seasonal produce to be eaten on site or sold wholesale.
Salary: £26,000 – 28,000 (Dependent on experience)
Hours: 37.5 hrs per week Holiday entitlement: 32 days pro rata (including Bank Holidays)
To apply: email your CV & covering letter to: email@example.com
If you are in employment, please include your current notice period.
Knowledge, skills and experience needed:
(Please provide evidence in your Covering Letter and CV)
You will have the following responsibilities:
- Line manage a small team including staff, volunteers and students.
- Be responsible for all aspects of care for the land, the growing and harvesting of crops including: effective rotations, composting, fertility building, weed control, pest and disease
management and mechanisation.
- Adhere to and develop the cropping plan and sowing/planting schedule, to ensure produce is varied and sustained throughout the year.
- Work within the standards of Demeter and attend annual inspections, preparing all of the paperwork and keeping records of BD spraying activities across Sugworth Farm and the Walled Kitchen Garden.
- Set fair market prices for each product by cross checking other similar operations and adjusting when necessary.
- Communicate and plan ahead with the Chef and Senior Walled Gardener on crops to be grown as well as determining supply and demand.
- Contribute to Borde Hill’s wider work as a member of the Garden team, actively participating in scheduled and ad hoc departmental meetings with the Head of Horticulture, Executive Manager and the Managing Director.
- Manage annual budgets for growing.
- Manage the sale of crops, ensuring efficient use of receipts and working with the Accounts team for invoicing.
Essential Selection Criteria
- A strong understanding of organic/biodynamic propagation, seed sowing, crop rotations, non-chemical pest and disease management, knowledge of post-harvest and other plant husbandry techniques needed in a productive biodynamic market garden or a willingness to learn about Biodynamic principles and practices.
- A passion for biodynamic growing and experience of growing fruits, vegetables, and salad crops in a recognised establishment.
- The variable and dynamic nature of this role requires a flexible approach to working out of regular hours as required.
- A strong understanding of growing crops undercover and knowledge of cultivation under polytunnels.
- An understanding of how to manage the cultivation of heavy clay soil and the climatic influences it may have.
- Excellent communication is key in order to work collaboratively and effectively with the Chef and Senior Walled Gardener as well as across the business as a whole.
- Experience in managing volunteers / junior roles
- Strong organization, forward planning and record keeping are critical for the timely operation of seed sowing, crop rotation, harvest operations as well as supply and demand.
- Experience with handling and using a wide range of machinery, including rotavator, tractor and hand held machinery.
- Understanding and experience of health and safety procedures including COSHH and risk assessment procedures.
- Computer literate with experience of MS Office software, and able to use databases accurately.
We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, or sexual orientation.