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Farm School Launches in Sebastopol


Farm School Launches in Sebastopol

by Miriam Volat

We love it here, north of the San Francisco Bay, for many, many, reasons: the beauty, the pace, the diverse ecosystems, the culture and of course – the food. Farm School, a new program beginning in August at the Permaculture Skills Center (PSC), weaves the bountiful farms, ranches, markets and food businesses of the North Bay into the training and support new farmers from all over the U.S. receive in the program.

Farm School’s goal is to teach folks how to make a living producing and supplying food while participating in a healthy local economy, and regenerating our ecosystems. “The fastest growing group of farmers is those of 65 years old,” according to the USDA (Source: USDA 20017 Ag Census). That means most farmers today will retire in the next 5-10 years. We need a lot of new farmers who have the practical skills - business and farming – to address growing populations, climate change, land access issues, environmental challenges and the aging of our agricultural experts.

Locally grown produce for Permaculture Center farmThis new program walks participants, over the course of an 8-week intensive, through each step of creating a Farm Plan and then places them in a 6-month directed mentorship with an experienced farmer. During the 8-week intensive, classes, tours, practicums, introductions to key farm support organizations and workshops are 4-days per week, one day focused on business development, the other three on hands-on farming skills and exploring successful models. 

Each week of Farm School is co-lead by a Farmer with expertise in a particular aspect of ecological farming, who not only supports students in building skills, knowledge and connections - but helps them develop their own integrated farm design and business plan. For those students who don’t have an existing project or business they want to develop or initiate, Farm School has land for them to farm where they can get started.

Farm School will certainly be an adventure, one that can lead to a fulfilling life for those with a love of the land and food grown in concert with nature. Participants will be growing a future for agriculture that addresses the primary ecological, social and health concerns of our time.  

Find out more at