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The Grain Chain: Arable Crops in Market Gardens – Webinar

A resurgent interest in all things grain has presented opportunities for market gardeners to diversify their cropping and try something new. Many growers will be familiar with sowing grains as a green manure but taking a crop to full term is a different proposition. Tune in to hear a few different perspectives on variety selection, agronomy, pest and disease issues and marketing amongst other things.

We were joined by Madeline McKeever of Brown Envelope Seeds who has been growing grains for seed crops for over ten years, Doug Kemp works for Regather Cooperative in Sheffield and Ruth Levene of the Sheffield Wheat Experiment who is running a community project with over two hundred participants.

This webinar will be of particular interest to anyone looking for new ideas for their market garden cropping and wanting to hear some of the issues involved with small scale grain production.

About the speakers
Madeline McKeever grew up on a farm in Co Meath, Ireland. She began her farming life as a dairy farmer in 1986 until 1999 after which she moved into beef farming and started growing seeds. In 2005 she registered the business name of Brown Envelope Seeds and planted half the farm in broadleaf trees. Since then, seeds have been the main source of income for the farm

Ruth Levene is an artist based in Sheffield, Yorkshire and co-founder of the Sheffield Wheat Experiment, which creates a space for re-imagining our food systems. We have over 200 people growing ‘patches’ of heritage wheat in gardens, allotments & fields, and coming together to collectively hand process the wheat. Together we’re exploring, playing & thinking about how we can create a Sheffield landrace of wheat? Bake an affordable Sheffield Loaf? Grow cereals that are much more nutritious? Become more resilient to the changing climate? Can we have a food system based on food sovereignty not profit? Can we re-imagine Sheffield as somewhere with its own local grain economy?

Doug Kemp works for Regather Cooperative in Sheffield. Whilst working on the veg box scheme for 3 years the opportunity arose for Regather to rent land near Sheffield to grow more local, certified organic veg for the box. Building on years allotmenting and wwoofing on small farm in the UK and Spain, Doug decided to take the plunge into market gardening. Doug Completed the Soil Association Future growers Program and participated in the Land Workers Alliance mentoring scheme to help get started however it’s very much been a self taught journey with lots of help from farming neighbours! Currently growing veg on 1 acre of outdoor beds with 400m2 of tunnel space and a 1 acre orchard. The plans are ready to expand into field scale veg and agroforestry. The story of wheat in the market garden has been there from the beginning of this journey.

This webinar is a partnership between the CSA Network UK, the Seed Sovereignty Programme run by the Gaia Foundation, and the Organic Growers Alliance and forms part of a webinar series funded by Farming the Future.
The webinar programme focuses on practical teaching and farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchanges from farmers and growers from around the UK. The series is designed to increase knowledge exchange and learning on both the politics and practice of agroecology, seed sovereignty and food sovereignty.
If you would like to be involved in running a webinar, a theme or practice you would would like to know more about, or have a specific topic you would like to present on please get in touch with us at

If you aren’t part of any of the organisations running this programme but would like to sign as a member up please check us out at:

Seed Sovereignty Programme (for growers interested in saving and producing seed)
Organic Growers Alliance: (for market gardens and vegetable farms)
CSA Network UK: (For community supported agriculture schemes)

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