Opportunity at Trill: Voluntary Trainee Herb Grower

2 Feb 2017 | 2 comments

Voluntary Training Role Available at Trill Farm: Trill Trainee Herb Grower

Placement details:

This is a 6 month-long placement starting in Spring 2019 (preferably February and at the latest March) with residential spaces available. 

This is a traineeship based upon a volunteering arrangement allowing you to learn how to plan and maintain a working herb garden.  You will have the advantage of a practical learning environment making use of the Trill Farm Herb Garden and its facilities.  We will provide support and training throughout your placement. 

Your main focus of work will be learning about medicinal herbs, how to plan, grow and process medicinal herbs. 

Your work can be outlined as follows:

  • Developing and maintaining herb growing areas in line with agreed plans.
  • Working alongside other volunteers on an ad hoc basis.
  • Creating extracts for soaps and dried herbs for textile dyeing and teas.
  • Assisting the owner of the farm, Romy Fraser, in the development of herbal projects. 

You will also have the benefit of spending one day per week working in the Trill Farm Garden learning propagation, composting and general garden care from the market garden team. There will also be the opportunity to join Annie McIntyre’s Herbal Medicine retreats hosted seasonally at Trill Farm. There may also be the opportunity for a series of week-long placements at some of our professional contact’s organic herb gardens in order to gain a wider understanding of herb production, business structures and plant knowledge. 

We are able to provide accommodation and food for the duration of your placement. Please do note that this placement is based on a voluntary agreement and is not paid, there is no expectation and arrangement that any paid role will be offered at the end of the placement.  You will be expected to sign a confidentiality agreement with Trill Farm as part of your volunteers agreement. 

Personal Specifications

In offering this placement we are looking for someone that is able to:

  • Display a proven interest in medicinal herbs and natural remedies. 
  • Work in an organised and methodical way.
  • Work as part of a small team but not be afraid to spend periods of time working alone on set tasks.
  • Work with us to achieve our wider aims and objectives within the operations of Trill Farm.
  • Be reliable.
  • Give commitment.
  • Air any problems/issues immediately to the appropriate person.
  • Respect confidentiality, equal opportunities and health and safety policies. 
  • Attend relevant training.
  • Uphold the name and reputation of Trill Farm at all times.
  • Comply with health and safety rules.
  • Enjoy work and learning.
  • Be energetic and enthusiastic. 
  • Be reliable and trustworthy. 

Our responsibilities to you 

As a volunteer you can expect: 

  • A clear volunteer support framework.
  • To be given tasks that you are capable of and that are of benefit to Trill Farm.
  • A clearly defined outline of the task(s) we would like you to undertake.
  • To have a member of staff nominated as a key contact.
  • To have expenses reimbursed, at the appropriate rates, where possible and pre-agreed.
  • That we strive to ensure equality of opportunity within Trill Farm.
  • Safe working conditions.
  • To join the communal lunches on weekdays with the Trill Farm team.
  • Accommodation and food as a residential option (details can be provided separately if you would like this). 

We will also try to ensure that you:

  • Are kept informed of changes and developments affecting you.
  • Have the opportunity to be involved with decision making that affects you, where appropriate.
  • Are able to say no to inappropriate requests outside the task outline/volunteer charter.
  • Have access to a complaints and dissatisfaction procedure.
  • Feel your contribution is valued by paid staff, who are fully aware of the nature and purpose of volunteering.

To apply please email alex@trillfarm.co.uk.

The Importance of Hedgerows

3 Jan 2019 | 0 comments

Hedgerows are an essential part of Britain's landscape; they provide habitats and wildlife corridors for species of bird, insect and small mammal, create windbreaks to reduce soil erosion, and provide shelter, forage and boundaries to livestock and farmers. 

But up to half of England's hedgerows have been lost since the end of the Second World War, through government-endorsed removal to expand fields for larger machinery and greater food productivity, or through neglect (1).

We are fortunate at Trill Farm that most of our hedges were not pulled out during this period, but they do require maintenance to stop them from growing up into lines of trees with little shelter for nesting birds, and large gaps to allow livestock through.

Many farmers use flails to cut back growth each year, which although quick and efficient, can be bad for wildlife including some species of rare moth and butterfly whose eggs and caterpillars overwinter on shoots and twigs (2).

Sometimes, the old methods are the best. Hedge laying is time consuming and hard work. We use hand tools to carefully chop through part but not all of a growing stake, laying it down with a section of bark and wood connecting it to its roots for water and nutrients. The branch is carefully woven in to other branches, allowing it to continue to grow and creating a denser hedge.

Fortunately, the craft of hedge laying is enjoying a revival, with people like Jeremy Weiss (@properedges) running training through the Devon Rural Skills Trust. He will be here at Trill laying one of our hedges on 16th-17th February, and passing on his skills to anyone who wishes to join him.

Visit our website to find out more and to book your place.

(1) https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/conservation-and-sustainability/advice/conservation-land-management-advice/farm-hedges/history-of-hedgerows/

(2) https://www.buglife.org.uk/advice-and-publications/advice-on-managing-bap-habitats/ancient-and-species-rich-hedgerows

Plans for 2019

5 Dec 2018 | 0 comments

We are looking forward to a new chapter at Trill Farm as the enterprises and employees are exploring options to create a shared ownership structure with the aim of purchasing the farm in the coming year and building on what has already been achieved. Trill Farm was set up to demonstrate the important links between the natural environment, education and the future of society. 

We aim to continue running all courses and enterprises currently hosted on the farm and look forward to building even more exciting projects for the future.