Our Programs


Now in its 3rd year, our Pop-Up Garlic Farmer participants are given the opportunity to access the world of agriculture by providing them with access to land, resources and mentorship in order to experience growing a crop on a larger scale than their backyard. This year, we have 18 spots available across 4 different sites in and around Melbourne. Throughout this program, we explore and cultivate our model of co-farming, with the participants working in small groups to nurture a crop of garlic right through from seed to harvest.

Program Details:

Below are the program details. It is always important to check whether you are available for the following dates. They are fixed dates, and we require 90% attendance rate throughout the course.

The 2017 program cost ($690-) includes the following:

– 8 x workshops and all learning materials
– your garlic seed to plant
– land access
– water and irrigation equipment
– mulch & most soil inputs (to be discussed with your Site Facilitator)
– a copy of Penny Woodward’s ‘Garlic’ book
– access to tools
– 4 x lunches provided, and tea/coffee available at every workshop
– new friendships/community connections/business partnership opportunities
– lots of garlic at the end of the year to sell, give away or simply keep for yourself!

Site Descriptions:

Keilor Site – Days Walk Farm, 27 Koronis Rd, Keilor
Located just half an hour’s drive from Melbourne, this site is our most established site. Paul’s market garden business has been operating here under the name Day’s Walk Farm for roughly 2 years, and comes with
set up irrigation and established rows ready to plant directly into! There is also a tractor onsite that will come in handy throughout the program. The Maribyrnong River runs along the border of the property, and is a great place for a swim after a long weeding session! (5 spots available)

Bundoora Site – La Trobe University Bundoora Campus
Located within the university’s Agricultural Reserve, this site is approximately 17km from the CBD. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful protected natural reserve and in contact with other staff and students working on all sorts of agricultural projects. (4 spots available)

Ballan Site – Mohan’s Walnut Farm, Denholms Rd/Gillespies Rd, Ballan
Located roughly 80km out of Melbourne, this is our most rural (and seriously peaceful) site. The property is 55 acres in total, and is currently being established as a beautiful walnut grove and English country garden. Accessible via the V-Line train and also driving (approx 1hr from Melb), you will be lunching under the beautiful elm trees or at one of the numerous op-shops in town. For the true rural experience within a very cute country town, sign up to this gorgeous site. (4 spots available)

Clarkefield Site – Hollyburton Farm
Located approximately 40 mins drive from Melbourne, Hollyburton Farm is a well-known, very beautiful 440 acre farm owned by Rob and Colita, with several established enterprises, such as Madeleine’s Organic Eggs, already existing on the property. You will be farming just near a beautiful dam to swim in, surrounded by incredible views of the Macedon Ranges. The farm is accessible by car and also a V-Line train station. (5 spots available)


What is expected of me?

This program relies on extensive planning well before even the first clove gets planted! We have worked hard to provide you with the best opportunity to learn how to grow a crop, access brilliant knowledgeable speakers, foster your farming spirit and help grow your community. If you want to see what previous participants thought of the project, please check out their testimonials below, as well as Georgia’s blog post.

We have found that one of the strongest aspects of Farmer Incubator courses is the growing of the farming community. Deep friendships have been created through working together and sharing a meal and a few laughs. We think that those who have gained the most have made the most of the contact with each other. ‘Co-Farming’ is a very important part of Farmer Incubator’s ethos.

As such we hope you will involve yourself with the workshops and maintenance routine. There are 8 workshops, roughly one per month, with less in winter and more in Autumn and Spring. While we understand that sometimes things do unexpectedly pop up, if you miss a significant number of the program’s workshops, there are consequences to your understanding and integration within the course and the group.

The maintenance regime is vital to ensuring that the plants are cared for – both watering and weeding are absolutely essential for a good crop – but also that your fellow farmers are cared for. We are sharing the experience and revenue from growing and therefore you should expect to contribute to 12 or so trips to your site throughout the program.

For comparison, our participants have been able to carry on with their normal lives of university, a 9-5 job and/or looking after children, so it’s not an overly significant contribution, although harvest-time can get a bit hectic, but in a good way!

Essentially, we are looking for strong intention to make the experience worthwhile and equitable for everyone.


“I recommend PUGF course to anyone wanting to have a go at farming. The course gave me an experience of farming that was fun, collaborative and very rewarding. I’ve come away from the course with lifelong friends, a good skill base and a passion to continue small scale farming. It has opened up opportunities for market gardening internships which I’ll be doing this year. I’m very grateful, thankyou!!” – Felicity, 2015 participant

What is the refund policy?

If for whatever reason we decide to cancel the course, we will provide a full refund.
If you decide to cancel for any reason other than a special circumstance such a personal or family illness:

  • 2 weeks before the course commencement, you are entitled to a 100% refund
  • Less than 2 weeks before the course commencement but before the course commences you are entitled to an 80% refund
  • After the course has commenced, you will receive no refund

How does the roster work and what kind of time commitment does this involve?

It really does depend; sometimes a crop needs weeding only a few times a season, other seasons it requires more. The same goes with watering. Usually, more work is required at the beginning and the end of the program with planting and harvesting – but not always! Early in the program, we encourage each group to put together a roster for maintenance, which will likely involve about 12 visits to your site throughout the year.

Are we organic?

We require all participants in the program to grow without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. Furthermore, one farm we are located on is certified organic and we strictly adhere to these standards.