Working at Castleton: John’s story

On September 1, 2021

I started working at Castleton Farm in March 2006 through the Hops Agricultural Workers Scheme.

The snow was causing disruption to the work process. My initial reaction to this was “thankfully each of us has a return ticket home”. This was not looking promising for work.

However, within 10 days I began my first job on the farm planting strawberries in one of the tabletop tunnels.

Within the next month, I was in a team of planters where we took planting into some new fields. As time progressed in April I joined the Irrigation team which involved setting the irrigation systems for new fields.

By June, carting fruit to the coldstore became my main priority. After six month at the farm, my time for that year was finally up and I was able to go on a bus trip surrounded by my friends to London followed by Paris.

Working at Castleton

2006

March – arrived on farm
April  – joined irrigation team
June – carting fruit to the coldstore
September  – returned home (Some of the money was used up by travelling to Paris by bus)

2007

April–June – irrigation team
June–October  – carting fruit to coldstore

2008–2014

For 6 months annually – irrigation team

2014

Finished studies in Romania, received a full time contract working as Irrigation Supervisor. Working there has provided me with enough financial support to continue my studies in Romania and to visit other countries in Europe such as Greece, Poland, England and France.

Before I arrived on the farm I was able to understand a certain level of English, but it was difficult to have a proper conversation. My confidence by having to constantly speak in English with several other workers from around the farm who came from other countries this has brought my English to a much better level.

The first six months at Castleton, the work was hard physically and mentally, but over time, I made friends, and developed different skillsets which encouraged me to come back and relive the experience year after year.

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