Complete Urban Farmer

An introduction to the world of urban farming – a perfect portal to your own patch.

Urban farm

Join experienced horticulturist and permaculturist, Justin Calverley as he introduces you to the world of urban farming. The Complete Urban Farmer course combines 14 sessions including an introduction to permaculture, chook care, beekeeping, propagating and seed saving, community gardens — the list goes on!! This program will give you the skills and knowledge to apply to your own urban patch or help you decide if a career in horticulture/permaculture is for you.

A copy of Justin’s Urban Farmer book is included in your course fee.

The Complete Urban Farmer course provides you with the opportunity to achieve up to four digital badges. These badges recognise the additional knowledge, skills and achievements that can be obtained on course completion.

Ceres is a genuinely inspiring setting, and I can’t think of a more suitable place to attend a sustainability focused course. One day per week for a short, unaccredited course was perfect for me, as I was easily able to fit it in around my schedule.

Joe, May 2021

Logo: Learn Local – Skills for study work and life

Course details

This 14 week course will run again in 2024 –  please add your name to our waiting list below to be advised when bookings open

CERES Brunswick, corner of Roberts & Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, Victoria

– Concession available
– ACFE subsidised course placements are available. The cost for ACFE Eligible participants is $140/$107.


Classes run 9am – 3pm each week on the following days:

Full 2023 Dates

2nd March to 1st June – Thursdays

12th May to 11th August – Fridays

7th June to 6th September – Wednesdays

2oth July – 19th October – Thursdays

1st September – 8th December – Fridays

13th September – 13th December – Wednesdays

Course Topics and Proposed Week Schedule

  1. Introduction to permaculture principles
  2. Organic fruit production
  3. Soils and their preparation
  4. Growing Nutrient Dense Food
  5. Beekeeping
  6. Composting, worm farming and fertilisers
  7. Organic vegetable production, harvesting and storage
  8. Propagation
  9. Seed collection and storage
  10. Pest disease and weed management
  11. Growing bushfoods and berries
  12. Chooks
  13. DIY – Backyard constructions
  14. Community gardens, community-supported agriculture (CSA) and swaps

Digital badges for this course:

our digital badges: Knowledge - Problem Solving, Knowledge - System Thinking, Action - Initiative, Earth Service - Grit & Perseverance

Want to learn more about our Digital Badges.

* This is an ACFE Approved Pre-accredited Course where the cost is subsidised for eligible participants.

ACFE Eligible participants are deemed eligible through an interview process with our career pathways officer. Find out more information about ACFE eligibility HERE.  The costs for these participants are $140 or $107.

If you are interested in an ACFE place please fill out the enquiry form on our Learning Pathways page and our pathways team will be in touch soon.

Justin Calverley has been teaching our Complete Urban Farmer course for 10 years. When he is not taking groups of budding green thumbs through all manner of garden know-how, he runs his own Horticultural Consultation Design and Education business, Sensory Gardens. Justin‘s approach is to encourage interaction and understanding of the natural world’s systems via a mix of theory and practical sessions which see his students gain hands-on skills and knowledge. The Complete Urban Farmer course also explores industry skills which has seen some students be inspired to make Horticulture their life-long career. Justin is a regular broadcaster on 3RRR’s “Breakfasters” and ABC “Evenings”. He is also the author of “The Urban Farmer”, available at CERES Nursery.

Donna Livermore is an educator, biologist, permaculture & gardening teacher and community activator. She is passionate about living a life of good health, sustainable abundance and with a strong connection to the environment and local community. Donna has an on-going commitment to school education through her work in sustainability and biodiversity education.

With chickens, worms and a productive food garden in the front yard of her suburban block, Donna is reimagining what it means to live a good life in the city and shares this with others in her local community and through her Instagram page A Good Life in the City and Town.

Benedict Hughes is a well-known registered Beekeeper. As The Practical Beekeeper he collects swarms, manages hives, extracts honey, teaches and loves bees.

Benedict is also a commercial migratory beekeeper who runs around 100 beehives across Victoria. He produces small-batch, raw local honey which is available through Farmers Markets and select retail outlets. His bees also provide

pollination services for Almonds and other horticulture crops.

Benedict is the resident Beekeeper at Ceres (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) and is approved by the City of Darebin to keep bees in Darebin Parklands and Bundoora Park.

Benedict regularly runs school incursions about bees and beekeeping, he also delivers adult educational courses at Melbourne Polytechnic and CERES in Brunswick as well as at Edendale Community Environment Farm in Eltham.

Benedict is also the founding President of The Australian Pollinator Alliance, a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting the health of bees and all pollinators, critical to our food and natural environment, through education, research and conservation.

You can find him on Facebook and Instagram as @Practical_Beekeeper.

What to bring

  • Comfortable enclosed shoes/boots
  • Gardening gloves
  • Appropriate weather gear eg sunhat
  • Pen and paper
  • Lunch
  • Enthusiasm to learn and get your hands dirty’

What to wear

Casual (Warning: This might get messy)

CERES reserves the right to cancel workshops due to insufficient numbers.

If we cancel the workshop you will be entitled to a 100% refund, or you may choose to transfer to another date, subject to availability.

If you decide to withdraw 7 or more days prior to the workshop date CERES will retain a 10% administration fee.

If you decide to withdraw less than 7 days prior to the workshop date CERES will retain 100% of your workshop fee.

Should CERES have to cancel the course due to Government changes relating to the COVD-19 response, we will let you know as soon as possible. Affected participants will be sent a notification that includes details on how to re-book another date or workshop. While cancellations on our part remain refundable within the specified time period, we do hope you will consider bearing with us in these precarious and trying times, and consider the rescheduled date where possible.

In line with current Govt requirements, Course participants will need to provide evidence of their full vaccination status or medical exemption in order to participate in on-site classes. A copy of this evidence will be obtained once, prior to their first attendance onsite, and this information will be held for the duration of the course only. You will need to check in with our QR code and masks will need to be worn indoors. If you have a valid medical exemption, please get in touch asap. All CERES staff and contractors on site have met vaccination requirements.

More courses for you

Lorna Pettifer2023-12-17T23:08:22+11:00

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Complete Urban Farmer

An introduction to the world of urban farming – a perfect portal to your own patch | Coming in 2024 | $1150* | 14 weeks | *ACFE subsidised places available.