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A Beginner’s Guide to Farm Education; A Resource Guide

June 18, 2011

You may think of farm education as a series of theoretical subjects like “The Sweet Potato within the Uprising of Corporate Industry” or “The Liberation of Carrots in Western Culture”.  However hands-on farm education is nothing like university courses. Practice out-weighs theory in every dimension.

In my opinion, there is no other way to learn about farming except to get out in the field. Its the do-it-yourself approach to learning!

Its a hard-call to decide to educate yourself in farming. Living on a farm can be seen as uncomfortable and to become a farmer means drastic change from regular urban living. However, with community initiatives starting world-wide that incorporate urban living with agriculture there is a big range of possibilities that a farm internship or farm program can help you get started with.

So, where do you go to find out about these programs? Well, let’s get dirty.

California

Oh, California. How is it that one US state ignites with flavor in every season? And even more, how does one state grow up to 98% of North America’s food. Just for those reasons alone California is one of the best places in North America to learn about organic agriculture.

Regenerative Design Institute, Bolinas, CA – RDI, operated by Penny Livingston and her partner, is one of the country’s best schools on earth living. Courses are offered on everything from animal tracking to permaculture to natural building.

Occidental Center for Arts & Ecology, Occidental, CA. This center is situated in Northern California and has courses focused on permaculture training.

Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA. Esalen offers 3-6 month apprenticeships in permaculture design and bio-intensive farming.

Washington & British Columbia

The Bullock Brother’s, Orcas Islan, WA. The Bullock Brother’s bought their property 25 years ago and have expanded a water-logged wetland into a diverse and ethical garden and learning institute.

Linnaea Farm School, Cortes Island, BC, is a beautiful farm school that opens its doors to 6-8 lucky students to teach growing, natural building and more, all within a 8 months season.

Ontario

Everdale Organic Farm & Environmental Learning Center, Hillsburgh, ON.  Everdale offers a 6 month program a learning institution focused on environmental education, farming and urban agriculture.

Fleming College in Peterborough, ON has a Sustainable Building Design & Construction program and a 1 year Agriculture program.

C.R.A.F.T Ontario – Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training in Ontario. Is a collective of farms throughout Ontario who are focused on farm education and training. Within this network I promise that you will be able to find the Ontario farm that focuses on what you want to learn…there are hundreds of them.

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