Market Garden Business Opportunity at Ragmans Lane Farm

Ragman’s Lane Farm has an opportunity for someone to run their own Market Gardening business on 1.7 acres of organic land in the centre of the farm, taking over from a very successful business built up over the last 5 years.  The current tenant is leaving in the autumn to make way for a new grower and a new season.

Ragman’s is a dynamic farm in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire; they have been working with organic principles and permaculture for more than 25 years and supporting people to access land to establish their own business.

You will need experience, skills and the ability to deliver a self-sustaining project.

Closing date for applications: Sept 23rd 2018.

For more information and to apply click here.

Land & Food Links

A quick follow up for any of you who loved the In Our Hands event at The Bookshop this month.

Averil Clother from Brightspace Foundation messaged with some links for you all:

Herefordshire Food Links is an online directory for local businesses, food producers, retailers etc. Add yourselves to the Directory online at the “Join” section of the site:
If you have any problems using this or wish to add anything more / other information to the listing, contact Averil direct:
And on 25th June Dan Kettridge will be coming to Smiling Tree Farm – just over the border near Bishops Castle in Shropshire. Not many have heard of him in the UK yet but apparently he’s a hugely inspirational speaker. Through his highly acclaimed seminars on Principles of Biological Systems Dan has worked with growers across North America to better understand how to work synergistically with nature in the agricultural context. Thanks to Robert Milne for letting us know – and check on Smiling Tree Farm website for more details of this and other food & land based activities & events:

Forest Gardening & Permaculture learning

There are two summery opportunities coming up for some Permaculture learning at our lovely local Herefordshire permaculture centre:

The next PDC will be in July, when Chris & Looby will be joined by Tomas Remiarz, author of Forest Gardening in Practice. Two weeks of summer immersed in permaculture at Applewood doesn’t get much better!

Or have a look at their Forest Gardening course in June.

What could be nicer….

Dean Organic Fund …

… for small-scale organic/ecological growers and food businesses:

The Organic Research Centre, a leading independent research charity, has launched the new Dean Organic Fund at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. The fund offers interest-free loans, typically ranging from £5,000 to £25,000, to small-scale organic/ecological growers and food businesses.

The Dean Organic Trust was established in 1993 by Jennie Bone and following her death in 2016, the Dean Organic Trust’s assets and a legacy from Jennie Bone’s estate were transferred to the Organic Research Centre to create a significantly larger Dean Organic Fund.

Professor Nic Lampkin, from the Organic Research Centre, said, “The Dean Organic Fund is a rare opportunity for small-scale organic and similar operations to access interest-free loans. Jennie Bone was passionate about conserving wildlife in the farmed environment and she widely encouraged and promoted the environmental benefits of organic farming and growing. We are delighted to continue Jennie’s fantastic legacy and will look forward to receiving applications from eligible businesses.”

The Organic Research Centre is inviting applications for interest-free, unsecured loans from organic farmers and food producers who wish to expand their enterprises by investing in equipment or stock or would benefit from other working capital. The fund is also open to those producers that are not certified organic but whose operations are closely aligned with organic principles. The loans are repayable over periods of up to five years and applications are welcome from companies, sole traders, community or social enterprises and charity-owned businesses.

Further details and application packs are available through the Organic Research Centre’s website: or by email to Nic Lampkin on

Looking up…

A number of people have commented on how important it is in the rainy dark days of January that we look up. We hurry along muddy footpaths and rain-grey streets with our shoulders hunched and heads down…

Here is an inspiration to not only look up, but really look… all around. Applewood Permaculture Centre are planning a spring course on Observation & Mapping, and this short video will make you want to get outside in that sliver of sunshine thats peeping through the grey, and look up, and all around… follow the path of the sunshine, find the small patches of snowdrops, catkins and tips of new growth appearing …

This weekend is also the RSPB Birdwatch weekend. The birds are singing their spring songs… it wont be long now.

An abundance at Applewood

An opportunity to start your new year with some new learning and insight thanks to an array of permaculture courses at Applewood…

Including a new Weekend Permaculture Design Course (weekends Feb-June) starting in Feb. There are still a few places left … AND thanks to a kind benefactor (past PDC participant) Applewood can now offer bursary places for the concessionary rate – up to 50% off!
Other courses include:
Introduction to Permaculture (10-11th Feb):

Shared County Calendar

A number of the blogs this week are alerts to add some fantastic events to your diaries. A whole raft of inspiring events are being planned at Applewood Permaculture Centre, and here (below) we have early notification about Hereford’s fabulous Seed Swap.

As you will see if you glance at the HGN website home page all of these dates are also on our Calendar – meaning that anyone planning an event can easily see what else is happening around the county on the date they have chosen.

If you already use gmail or Google Calendar you can easily share your own dates with others around Herefordshire. Simply send an invitation to your Calendar. I can then duplicate your events onto the HGN Calendar – and hey presto! there they are for everyone on the network to see.

If you’d like me to talk you through this please let me know. And huge thanks to Chris Evans at Applewood Permaculture Centre for helping me trial this – and demonstrating how easily it works!


so … back to that Seed Swap:

Saturday 3rd February 2018: Hereford Seed Swap

From beginners to seasoned gardeners please come along and swap seeds, plants and tips. Don’t worry if you have nothing to swap, you can still join in and take home some seeds or plants. Cash contributions gratefully received!

There is no entry charge and there will be stalls, a talk, tool sharpening and the regular Courtyard food and drink. With Tools for Self Reliance and a free talk at 11.30am from Chris Collins – Chris is Garden Organic’s Head of Organic Horticulture and is a former Blue Peter gardener, Chelsea medal winner and lifelong promoter of organic growing.

For more information about the seed swap day contact Suzanne Noble on 01531 671004 or visit

Permaculture at Applewood

Applewood is a 20 acre smallholding in the beautiful hills of North Herefordshire. The owners, Designed Visions partners Chris Evans and Looby Macnamara, are developing a low-impact permaculture demonstration and training centre.

With permaculture, you need to see it to believe it, and then need to be able to learn it, and then acquire the resources (seeds, plants, books, friends and networks) to do it! The site at Applewood includes woods, pasture, a lake, kitchen garden and an orchard of heritage apples. These diverse habitats make for an incredible wildlife and people sanctuary…  a converted barn & outbuildings provide indoor accommodation for courses, and the grounds a peaceful campsite.

And for those who are especially interested, Applewood Permaculture Centre offers an extra emphasis on social permaculture.

Follow the links below for details of 2018 courses: 

Introduction to Permaculture course
Weekend Permaculture Design Course
Observation & Mapping course
Fruit Tree Grafting and Pruning Workshop
Residential Permaculture Design Course
Forest Gardening
Cultural Emergence Design Course

.. and keep an eye on the Designed Visions website & Applewood Facebook page for updates.
Any enquiries or questions to Chris & Looby 01584 831195 or this email

Applewood Courses for Harvest Season

As we head into autumn there is an exciting and pioneering range of courses at Applewood. These courses will engage, empower and enliven us to be our full selves and be proactive in creating the world we want to live in.  Looby Macnamara, a cutting edge author, facilitator and permaculture designer will be joined by other leading permaculturists.
Empowering Women with Permaculture with Looby and Maddy Harland 31st august -3rd Sept
People Permaculture Facilitator’s Training with Looby and Peter Cow 19th -29th Sept (plus year long mentoring programme)
Cultural Emergence Design Course with Looby 3rd-8th Oct
Learning the language of systems and patterns with Looby and Aranya 12th-15th Oct
Permaculture Your Body with Aranya, Lizzie Franklin and Dick Thompson 19th- 22nd Oct
Next year’s Permaculture Design courses and more are in the pipeline, please be in contact if you would like to be kept informed.

The Heart of our Nature

What makes a healthy culture? How can we speak and listen from our hearts?

Join this weekend workshop at Turnastone LAND Centre, 15th – 17th September.

Using wisdom from traditional cultures and social permaculture the workshop will challenge us to find ways to nurture a truly healthy culture in our lives every day.

For more information contact / / 01981 55 11 31.


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