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Regenerative Agriculture

Meet Jo who completed the Regenerative Agriculture Skills Bootcamp

Age 56

Area Ashburton

Jo is self-employed and runs his own tea plantation near Ashburton in Devon. He used the Train4Tomorrow Skills Bootcamps programme to learn new skills and implement evidence-led farming principles to his business.

Having started the business a few years before he was reading what he could and getting as much information about what he needed to know on the internet but when the business took off he decided more was needed. He said:

“The business really took off a few years ago. The tea business more generally was getting some international interest, we were getting lots of visitors and we started getting a lot of questions about our farming methods. Although I could tell them what we were doing the bootcamp has given me a huge amount of evidence to substantiate what we do – we now practice evidence-led farming. That was really my main motivation for going on the course.”

Thanks to the knowledge gained over the 12-week course Jo has been able to make changes at the farm.

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Skills gained

Level 2 in Regenerative Agriculture

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Jo said:

“The bootcamp has given me a huge amount of evidence to substantiate what we do. But actually, what the course also did for me was it meant I could meet other growers – so there was a real cross-fertilisation of ideas.

“There were certain things within regenerative agriculture practice that we were really struggling with, and we wanted to implement but didn’t quite have the knowledge or support. There are multiple things we’ve done off the back of the course – we’ve changed some of our practice on how we manage and grow crops and organically manage weed issues, we’ve looked at improving how we capture and store carbon on the farm and reducing our carbon footprint by developing techniques that mean we use less fossil fuels.

“What it’s done is it has given us new income streams to looks at gaining an income from what would be considered by-products of our farming – so that’s been really useful. There was also a section about business finance like business plan testing, cash flow and breakeven points but all from an agricultural background.”

The course was one day a week for 12 weeks, in person at the Apricot Centre CIC in Totnes. Despite running his business at the same time Jo said it had been beneficial to take the time out.

“There’s always things to do in your own business but stepping away from it was really valuable because it refreshes you. We’ve also developed a strong support network from the people who were on the course – I think everybody was quite sad when it ended!”

Jo would also encourage others to sign up for the Skills Bootcamps programme.

“I would say absolutely it’s something to do. Even if you feel you’re not so academic or you don’t have access to IT equipment the chances are the provider will help create a workaround for you. It’s great for young learners but also older learners who are looking for a change in direction or to upskill.”

Join the thousands supercharging their skills and find out more about the Skills Bootcamps available in Devon and Cornwall this year.