FARM SCHOOL 8-WEEK COURSE
Teaching Regenerative Farming
Using cutting-edge practices, taught year-round in coastal Southern California's unique climate, we teach regenerative farming. What we teach is applicable to all forms of agriculture, urban and rural, whether you're an entrepreneur, a home grower, or simply have agricultural curiosity.
Farming 101: 8-Week
This introductory course teaches the fundamentals of regenerative sustainable farming and is appropriate for those of all experience levels, whether you already grow your own food and want to improve your practices, or just want to spend more time with the soil and are curious as to how food grows. Farming 101 is fully scalable and can be applied to container gardening (pots, hanging baskets, vertical gardens), backyards, building community gardens, all the way up to a small-scale working farm.
After completing this 8-week course, you will understand the ecology of cultivation, the food web, generating strong healthy living soil for strong healthy harvests, agricultural sustainability, and much more! Students are actively learning and practicing farming skills while participating as vital members of the Wild Willow Farm community and meeting like-minded people. This system provides you with the framework to develop a well-rounded set of farming skills and the freedom to explore and specialize in your interest areas.
Each week will focus on a specific topic that begins with a online lecture followed by hands-on knowledge application on Saturday (lab days) at the farm. Farming 101 covers: making living soil, bed building, propagation, irrigation, integrated pest management (IPM), and holistic care.
Times & Days
Farming 101 classes work around most work schedules:
Online lectures each week; these can be watched anywhere at anytime
Saturday 9AM-4PM labs at Wild Willow Farm
2020 Sessions - Dates changed due to COVID-19
Spring 2020: Canceled
Summer 2020: August 1st - September 19th
Fall 2020: September 26th - November 14th
Winter 2021: April 1 - May 29 (two sessions offered with field days on Wednesday and Saturday)
Spring 2021: TBD
Summer 2021: TBD
Fall 2021: TBD
Upon graduating the Farming 101 course, you will have access to:
Attend any and all future Farming 101 courses/classes to refresh or strengthen your knowledge for free! (unfortunately because of the pandemic we can can only have a certain number of people at the farm at one time so we can not allow for extra students at this time. If you are interested in coming back to refresh a class please wait until it is safe to do so).
$700 (covers materials, lectures, and labs)
Unfortunately we can not offer the early bird discount at this time. COVID has brought financial challenges to the farm and we are not able to give discounts.
Check out the FAQ below to learn about payment options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely, we literally start from the ground up! Whether you have had many years of experience or none at all, we want to make sure everyone understands the fundamental principles of growing food in a more traditional regenerative way. Someone that has had experience will learn best practices to grow more efficiently with higher production and healthier crops, honing in their skills even more.
We encourage anyone interested in farming, gardening, sustainability, plant ecology, the soil food web, or those who want to learn how food is grown to apply. We have had students who simply wanted to spend more time outdoors, make new friends with likeminded people, to get their fingers in the soil, or even those who don't have space to grow but want to prepare for when they start growing their own food.
We recommend you be at least 16 years of age. We can also cater to people of varying abilities. Please let us know in your application, if there may be some limitations or special needs. We preach the importance of crop diversity in a food production space and this principle extends to the acceptance of diversity with the people who want to be on our farm.
Each week will focus on a specific topic that includes reading assignments, a Wednesday lecture, followed by a Saturday lab day on the farm to practice what you have been learning. The topics include building life back into the soil, bed preparation, propagation, irrigation, IPM (integrated pest management), and building overall resiliency in crop production.
You will learn best practices on cultivating the healthiest food possible, while minimizing challenges. For more details, check out our syllabus.
Our class times and days works with most schedules. We meet twice a week:
1) Lectures: 2 hours weekly online lectures
2) Farm labs: 7 hours on Saturdays 9am-4pm located at Wild Willow Farm.
Each class is so fundamentally important, it is crucial you don't miss any classes to gain the full amount of knowledge necessary since everything we teach is interconnected. We do understand that things come up and it might not be possible to make every class, but if you do miss a class, you will have a lifetime membership to join any and all future Farming 101 classes for free as part of your tuition cost!
Q: What is the application process?
(1) Application: First, you must submit an application for acceptance into the program.
(2) Acceptance: Once accepted, you will receive an email with payment instruction to secure your spot in the farm school session you requested. Each session is limited to keep the class at an optimal size for your learning experience. If we don't receive your $100 deposit, your spot will be given to the next applicant who pays the deposit.
(3) Confirmation: When we receive payment, you will get a welcome packet with detailed instruction of the class structure, the course syllabus, and a liability waiver before the start of the course.
Q: Do you have a pay plan?
Yes. The $100 deposit used to secure your spot in your selected course is used towards your tuition! At orientation, the first half of your tuition is due, and the remainder of the balance is due 3 weeks after.
At any point before the course start date, you may make payments towards your tuition starting months in advance, creating your own self-regulated payment plan.
WE BEGIN WITH THE SOIL
Our farming philosophy begins with the development of healthy, rich, living soil that offers multiple beneficial effects, including plant health, water retention, carbon sequestration, and natural resistances to pests and disease.
1. Educate students in the basic mechanics and philosophy of how to grow food ethically and ecologically using means suitable for urban and small-scale farming or gardening.
2. Cultivate new growers using hands-on learning experiences on a working farm; provide food literacy and understanding of what a healthy food system can look like and how to achieve it.
3. Empower everyone to grow food where they live -- for their own health, the health of their families, their communities and the world.