Growing the community

My Life as a SAGE Market Garden Intern

SAGE Market Garden Intern Georgie Murray surveys her patch.

From 2016/17 Intern, Georgie Murray

Having had a life long interest in agriculture, but not knowing where to take it, I was fortunate enough to land the position of intern at SAGE in August 2016.

I was in search for a proper taste of market gardening and to learn how to make a living growing vegetables under the guidance and mentorship of Fraser Bayley and the SAGE community.

The opportunity that SAGE has created for young growers like myself is a life changing experience. I had a deep passion for growing clean, wholesome food for communities and the experience I’ve had as the intern at SAGE has enabled me to turn this passion into my career.

The biggest highlight for me was tending to my vegetables that I had grown either from seed or seedling stage and working closely with the soil.

Each day I learnt from the garden, getting to know it like a friend, you do become rather attached!

The other significant highlight was becoming a part of what is the most radical community I have ever come across, and being able to contribute my little bit. The abundance of support and genuine interest was so encouraging and inspirational as a new comer and a new grower. This will continue to inspire me through my future.

One of my toughest challenges was the marketing aspect. Before you know it you’ve got 400 lettuces on your hands and it’s up to you to move those goods!

A sample of Georgie’s fabulous fresh vegetables – she also brought her own chooks into the mix!

I had been taught the significance of marketing, and how crucial it is to be organized and onto it, but it wasn’t until the practical experience I had at SAGE that I learnt the true value of marketing. I can certainly say I am becoming more organized than I was 10 months ago!

During the internship I was taught the ins and outs of running a market garden business. This involved developing a business plan, budgeting, crop planning and scheduling, raising seedlings, sowing and transplanting, maintaining the garden, using the right tools for the job and developing efficient systems to create a viable business. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Fraser’s many years of experience as a market gardener and from Kyle Levier, who has been through the SAGE internship and is now running a biodynamic market garden. Their support and knowledge was always generously on offer. I can’t thank you both enough.

I have come to learn that farming is one of the most physically and mentally challenging jobs. And there is no other way I would rather be living. The past 10 months have taught me more about myself than ever before, this has been an experience of ‘growth’ to say the least.

To start each day in the fresh air of the garden surrounded by plants that I have grown and to hand over that produce to fellow locals is a rare kind of happiness.

You put in a lot of hard yakka, (which at times is enjoyable or a real pain in the —-!) but the satisfaction and joy that comes with this way of life makes the hard times totally worthwhile.

This is just the beginning, and I am excited about what’s ahead and the many more lessons to be had! Thankyou SAGE for giving me this opportunity, and to everyone who has been by my side during my internship, it’s been unreal.

The SAGE Garden well into production.

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One thought on “My Life as a SAGE Market Garden Intern

  1. How does someone become a Horticulturalist?
    I’ve been looking at the University of Guelph for a Diploma, the college offers a Retail Garden Cert. I spoke to someone in the garden center and he mentioned that there are 2 portions to horticulture 1. the science part and 2. the business part (design vs. botany) Can anyone give me some insight ?

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