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Organic Farm School
PO Box 837
Freeland, WA 98249
Contact: Judy Feldman
Last Updated: 01-08-2019
Learn how to start and run your own farm!
At the Organic Farm School (OFS), we give aspiring farmers a strong foundation in a broad range of skills so they can achieve their unique farm goals. We focus our training on helping students to create successful, ecological, and community-focused farms, and the OFS uses its small organic farm as a real-world example and outdoor classroom. Through academic and experiential studies, program participants study all aspects of starting and running a small-scale organic farm, from goal setting and business planning to planting, harvesting, and marketing. Our goal is to offer the skills and knowledge new farmers need to confidently move forward with their farming dreams.
While the OFS Student Farm primarily grows and markets fresh vegetables, it is a diversified operation that also grows seed crops, berries, livestock and more. A significant portion of the farm is dedicated to soil-building cover crops each year and we raise pastured chickens and sheep as well as keep bees. The OFS markets its produce to the regional community through a CSA program, farmers market, local grocers and restaurants. Through newsletters and involvement in local food initiatives, the OFS connects with the community and strives to bring awareness to the issues that face our food system today.
Our full-time, 8-month long experiential farmer training program is for aspiring farmers seeking to learn and practice the technical and business skills needed to run a sustainable, small-scale, organic, commercial farm. Through cooperatively managing the school's ten-acre farm and attending weekly lectures, discussions, and demonstrations on topics including organic crop production, soil science, business planning, and direct marketing, participants will acquire a thorough education in organic small farm management. Participants also engage in independent studies to create a personal business plan. Field trips to regional farms allow participants to see a variety of farming styles and talk to experienced producers. Through management of the student farm, participants develop their practical farm skills including planning, tillage, greenhouse propagation, weeding, harvesting, marketing, record-keeping, and more. Students also learn to operate tractors, make compost, and manage the farm's livestock. With the skills and knowledge gained and a business plan in hand, program graduates are ready to start and manage their own small organic farm.
The OFS curriculum draws from a variety of sources to provide students a broad and effective overview of the many skills and concepts that farmers work with from soil science and irrigation design to direct marketing and cash-flow projections. For a complete list of topics covered, please visit our website.
Starting in 2017, we revised and expanded our livestock, mechanics, marketing and financial management aspects of our curriculum. Our goal is to teach students with a curriculum that effectively prepares them with the practical skills and concepts that will enable their farm aspirations to come true.
- 2019 program dates are March 18th-November 14th
- Tuition cost: $6500.00, scholarships are available
Please note: We want the OFS educational experience to be available to all interested students, regardless of financial ability. Even if the tuition is a barrier to your participation, we encourage you to apply. If you are accepted, we will work to source scholarship funds and set up a payment plan that works for everyone.
Please visit our website for more detailed information about the program, curriculum, and application process. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the farm, if able, and to familiarize themselves with the details of the program before applying. Applicants must submit the applicant questionnaire posted on the website as well as a resume with three professional references. Our review process includes a review of your submitted documents, a one-hour phone conversation and reference checks. We are accepting applications now, and decisions will be made on a rolling basis until the program is full. Apply early for your best chance!
For more information, please visit our website at: organicfarmschool.org
Internship Starts: 03-18-2019
Internship Ends: 11-14-2019
Number of Interns: 6
App Deadline: Rolling admission - Early applications are encouraged
Minimum Length of Stay: Program duration - 8 months
Meals: Participants are responsible for preparing their own meals, and farm produce is available. Often, participants decide to cook and eat collectively.
Skills Desired: Our main focus is to assist individuals who are committed to starting or managing their own organic farm and are seeking additional skills and knowledge before doing so. No experience is necessary to apply, just a proven commitment and interest in learning (and being active in) organic farming.
Educational Opportunities: Our program goal is to prepare students with the skills, concepts and experience they need to feel confident in their ability to go out and start or manage a small scale organic farm.
Stipend: This is a full-time educational program with a tuition of $6500 for the 8-month season. Need-based scholarships are available. please inquire.
Housing: We have affordable, shared, on-farm housing available for rent and for those who wish to live off-site or alone, we assist participants in finding affordable housing in the surrounding community.
Preferred method Of Contact: Email
In this 8-month, full-time program, participants learn and practice the technical and business skills needed to run a small-scale organic commercial farm by cooperatively managing the school's ten-acre farm and attending weekly lectures, discussions, and demonstrations on topics including organic crop production, soil science, business planning, direct marketing, livestock production, and CSA management. Participants also research, write, and present a business plan as well as take field trips to collaborating farms. Participants develop skills in all aspects of running the farm including planning, marketing, tillage, greenhouse propagation, weeding, livestock care, pasture management, and harvesting. They also build a greenhouse, operate tractors, make compost, and manage the farm's poultry, sheep and bees. With the skills and knowledge gained and a business plan in hand, program graduates will be ready to start or manage their own small farm in confidence.