Grower and Director
Nicky has been an organic grower for 20 years and has worked in a variety of different settings. She started out by volunteering at a community permaculture garden in Brighton and soon moved on to helping on an organic veg box scheme one day a week where she became hooked on market gardening. She went on to set up her own veg box scheme called Sprouts Organics which was based at Stanmer Organics just outside Brighton. After 5 years she put down her tools and headed off on great travels as a wwoofer to visit many other farms and projects around the country and in Europe. On her return she eventually settled in Bristol and worked at Leigh Court Farm helping them to grow veg for 250 veg boxes. In 2010 she got a job at a small project in Bradford on Avon and had her first taste of CSA farming and then moved on to become a co grower running Chagfood market garden, a CSA farm in Chagford. Nicky moved to School farm in 2018 to work alongside Mel and Aidan as one of the main growers. Nicky is an active member of the South West seed savers network where she is aiming to save seed at School Farm to share and increase the number of organic vegetable varieties available to our local growers.
Grower and Director
Dan joined the school farm team in the spring of 2020 as one of the head growers, a couple of weeks into national lockdown!He has previously co-run Chagfood CSA in north east Dartmoor, and was the garden manager and facilitator at Embercombe.It all started when he got on his bike in 2009 and left the city, never to return. He discovered a great passion for the work, the culture, and the way of life that resides between the hedgerows, close to the land. Since then he’s been principally growing vegetables ever since, but has a keen interest in many areas of food production and land management. In particular, the transformative processes and crafts of fermentation have enthralled him.In 2019 he founded “Crock and Cole” – a small business producing naturally fermented products for local communities, which is what he spends the rest of his week busy with.
Grower and Director
My childhood love for nature led me to an academic career in zoology and then ecology. I studied pollination biology in the tropics, focusing on how flowers attract insects using colour signals. Ultimately I decided to leave the academic world as I was spending too much time at a computer and not enough time in nature. I came down to Devon in 2015 to participate in the six-month practical residency in Sustainable Horticulture at Schumacher College. During the six months we spent one day a week at School Farm helping out on harvest day, which gave me the taste of small-scale commercial growing that would eventually bring me back to School Farm. I stayed on at Schumacher College for a further 2.5 years as the garden intern and then assistant gardener.
I joined School Farm CSA in early 2018. It was the step up to small-scale commercial growing I had been wanting to do for a while. My particular interests include wildlife-friendly farming and reducing our reliance on brought-in resources by growing and managing our fertility on-site. I want to start growing a few spices at School Farm, so over the next few years expect to see some of those in the CSA boxes!
Photo credit Aubrey Simpson
Teacher and Director
Melissa has worked with growing food and environmental education for over 10 years, much inspired by her mums garden, a feral child hood in a walled garden and holidays spent volunteering on organic farms. She started off at the research and information end of the organic movement with her first job at Garden Organic (then HDRA) in the International Programme. Looking for more direct experience of the soil she started to get her hands dirty working as a Forest School leader and environmental playworker at the Centre for Alternative Technology, as well as free-lance gardening. Another shift brought her to the Level 3 Horticulture course at Schumacher, which she finished in July 2012 and since then has been working with the team at School Farm, helping to set up the Community Supported Agriculture scheme, where productivity is measured by how muddy her face is at the end of the day.
Melissa currently runs the accredited horticulture training at the farm and the herb garden and shares, as well as working with the Growing Devon Schools Partnership running teacher training and mentoring.