The idea of Incredible Farm was an ambitious one: fill the skills gap in farming by training young people how to grow, and increase sustainable food production by giving them the skills to start their own micro-businesses.
We knew we had to do more than just teaching the growing, but also how to market and sell produce.
It is ambitious, and it needs to be, but we can now beam with pride, after the first apprentice product has hit the shelves.
Jed Forward, our first apprentice, has been learning from grower Mike about practical permaculture, Incredible Farm style.
This is basically farming without chemicals, and working with nature, but not forgetting to grow stuff...and lots of it!
When given his own plot to grow anything, with the prospect of earning a bonus from any profits, Jed chose chillies.
He planted, tended and harvested them.
After taking his food hygiene certificate, we booked a slot at a local kitchen (thanks good old Cotton Mill) and Jed designed and produced his very own genuine Todmorden-grown chilli sauce, surely a first for Tod?
We market tested the first batch at the Todmorden Harvest festival, and the overwhelming consensus was a big thumbs up, even from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall himself.
The subsequent batches of aptly named Fire In The Shire have nearly sold out, but at the time of writing it was hoped another batch was to be ready for the festive period.
Follow Jed on the Incredible Farm facebook page to find out more.
Jed is already starting his next product line in lemon grass coulis - suggested names on a postcard please!
We are looking for successful business owners who could spare a couple of hours a week, or even a one-off half day, to work with our budding entrepreneurs, who need guidance and mentoring in the first stages of business.
We are in the process of recruiting another apprentice.
If you just feel like volunteering, pop along on a Tuesday morning if you want to find out more, and even better, bring your wellies and get stuck in!
You can learn more about what’s going on there by logging on to www.incrediblefarm.co.uk