Online Farming Training

Beginning Farmer Resource Center: Cornell University, Based in New York

  • Interactive 5- to 7-week courses connect you to the information and people you need to start a successful farm business or diversify your farm.
  • Led by experienced educators and farmers
  • Take a single course or start at the beginning and work your way through the courses in order.
  • Courses help you establish clear goals, assess personal resources, plan marketing, create budgets, set up record-keeping, navigate regulations, choose the right equipment, improve soil, get organically certified, write a business plan, and learn how to raise veggies, berries and chickens.
  • Primarily targeted to those farming (or planning to farm) in the Northeastern US, though most of our courses are also appropriate for those outside this region.

I (John) have taken some of these courses before. I had a good experience and would recommend them.

Penn State Cooperative Extension Beginning Farmer School: Based in Pennsylvania

Penn State Extension educators, led by Tianna DuPont, launched the Start Farming Program in 2009, responding to increasing interest in farm start-up businesses from community members. The Program aims to enhance the success of beginning farmers by providing education and hands-on training in: production, marketing, financial management, land acquisition, and other resource acquisition.

Washington State University: Based in Washington State

WSU's online certificate in organic agriculture provides training in the agricultural sciences, including an understanding of complex agriculture and food systems. It equips students for professions ranging from starting a farm to food industry management.

The certificate is an 18-credit undergraduate program ideal for agriculture professionals wishing to learn about organic methods, anyone interested in beginning a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm, home gardeners, WSU agriculture students, and others with an interest in organic agriculture.

Practical Farminars of Iowa: Based in Iowa

Practical Farmers of Iowa offers FREE 90-minute, interactive online seminars on a wide variety of farming topics. Broadcast over the Internet, Farminars are held Tuesdays from 7–8:30 pm CST. Older "farminars" are archived so you can see them any time.

Urban Farming Training

Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship Program: Multnomah County, OR

The program is an 8-month, season-long training for aspiring urban farmers and community land stewards. It is designed to give a new generation of beginning farmers the knowledge and skills they need to break into the field of sustainable small-scale, urban farming.

Earthworks Agriculture Training: Detroit, MI

Earthworks Agriculture Training Program is a collaboration between the Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Earthworks Urban Farm and Gleaners Coummunity Food Bank.

Farm School NYC: New York City, NY

Farm School NYC offers urban agriculture training through a two-year certificate program as well as a wide range of individual courses. Their courses are taught by experts in the field and focus on a wide range of topics from social justice issues, to urban planting techniques, to grassroots community organizing. Through engaging, place-based education, Farm School classes cultivate future leaders in NYC's food justice movement.

On Farm Training

The Farm School: North Orange, MA

The Farm School is a family farm for the coming generations where people experience first hand what it means to be stewards of the earth.

They provide multi-day residential school-year and summer programs for the over 1,500 young people and their teachers, a year-long program to train adults in practical sustainable agriculture, and an on-site one-room middle school.

The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute: East Troy, WI

They are a non-profit organization with the mission to nurture the ecological, social and economic resiliency of food and farming systems through education, research, policy, and market development.

They envision an ever-creative cultural process in which farmers and consumers create agricultural landscapes with healthy regional systems of land use, food production and distribution.

Foundation Farm School: Eureka Springs, AR

They are looking for people interested in establishing their own farm in the near future.  The program's emphasis is on hands-on field activities and participating to the real-life activities of the farm, including its farmers' market involvement.   The school curriculum will also reflect this objective by teaching the tools necessary to start a successful farm from ground zero.  Classes cover the cultivation, marketing and financial aspects of running a farm based of our accumulated experience with Foundation Farm and previous farms.  Ideally, we try to have a crew of 6 to 8, but that number will vary throughout the season.

Calypso Farm and Ecology Center Farmer Training Program: Ester, AK

Calypso’s Farmer Training Program is an intensive education program focused on providing the skills, inspiration and experience necessary for participants to embark on starting their own small farm with confidence.

Participants learn how to become self-reliant farmers, carrying out all aspects of farm production in addition to learning art and craft skills such as wood carving, basic tool making, metal working, wool processing. Calypso’s unique setting also provides exposure to and experience with farm-based environmental education, and a variety of practical homesteading skills.

Greenbank Farm Ag Training Center: Greenbank, WA

This full-time, 7-month long expe­ri­en­tial pro­gram is for aspir­ing farm­ers seek­ing to learn and prac­tice the tech­ni­cal and busi­ness skills needed to run a small scale organic farm. Through coop­er­a­tively man­ag­ing the Center’s eight-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.

For more information, visit the Organic Farm School page or download the OFS booklet for prospective students.

New Farmer School: Alberta, Canada

The New Farmer School is an offshoot of Thompson Small Farm, a horse-powered initiative begun in 2007 by Andrea Thompson and Jonathan Wright with the goal of providing locally, sustainably produced food and an example of a human-scaled, alternative way of doing things.

Their goal with the school is to help you learn what you need to learn to establish yourself in a symbiotic relationship with a piece of land, whatever your motives in doing so may be.

North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program: East Troy, WI

The North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program (NABDAP) is a program of the Biodynamic Association for beginning biodynamic and organic farmers. NABDAP combines two years of structured on-farm training and mentoring with a course of classroom study in biodynamics. NABDAP apprentices benefit from a comprehensive training curriculum, carefully selected mentor farms, and access to networking, support, and educational resources. Graduates of NABDAP are awarded a certificate in biodynamic farming from the Biodynamic Association. Download the North American Biodynamic Apprenticeship Program brochure (PDF).

Farming Training Workshops

The Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings Program: Minnesota

Farm Beginnings® is a Land Stewardship Project (LSP) initiative that provides participants a wide range of opportunities to learn firsthand about low-cost, sustainable methods of farming. Launched in 1997, Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led, community based training and support program aimed at getting more farmers on the land farming sustainably.

Groundswell: Center for Local Food & Farming: Ithaca, NY

The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is an agriculture education nonprofit based in Ithaca, NY, operating under the Center for Transformative Action and EcoVillage at Ithaca and serving the broader Finger Lakes area. Their core work is nurturing the next generation of farmers and cultivating knowledgeable “food citizens” through experience based educational programs. They inspire people and promote positive change in collaboration with, and with support from diverse donors, experienced area farmers, local educational institutions, granting agencies, a broad range of non-profit and for-profit organizations, and the efforts of dedicated volunteers.

Current programs include the 6-credit Summer Practicum in Sustainable Farming & Local Food Systems, the Sustainable Farming Certificate Program, the Finger Lakes Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training, the Farm Business Planning Course, and the Ithaca Crop Mob. We also plan to launch the Groundswell Farm Enterprise Incubator in 2013.

The Michigan Land Use Institute’s Get Farming! Programs: Traverse City, MI

Get Farming! is your source for information, training, workshops and networking. New and beginning farmers as well as those transitioning to new, local markets will find business and marketing resources. Individual Development Accounts can help eligible producers with small but important financial assistance.

CRAFT Programs in North America

The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) is a farmer-led coalition organized by sustainable agriculture farmers in a self-selected geographic region. Participating farmers offer up their time, talents and experience to help prepare the next generation of farmers. The secret to CRAFT’s success is simple - farmers learn most effectively from other farmers. CRAFT provides farmer-to-farmer learning and access to the social network and culture of local farmers.