Successful farmers must be Jacks & Jills of all trades - i.e. growers, mechanics, scientists, businesspeople, caregivers, meteorologists, and the list goes on. At the Organic Farm School, we strive to expose our students to as many of these important skills as possible so that they will be prepared for running their own successful farm businesses. We've spent 9 years revising our curriculum to best serve our students' learning goals and the ever-changing landscape of food and farming. We use variety of resources in our classes including the CASFS curriculum modules - Organic Farming and Gardening Curriculum and Direct Marketing and Small Farm Viability Curriculum; SARE's Building Soils for Better Crops, MISA's Building a Sustainable Business, and Richard Wiswall's The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook, among others. Here is our list of our classroom topics (several topics take more than one class) and we do many more trainings out in the field:

Business

  • Small farm viability
  • Business Planning Overview
  • Using Spreadsheets
  • Budgeting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Land tenure & assessment
  • Starting a legal business
  • Labor
  • Organic certification
  • Risk Mgmt. - Short and Long term
  • Business feasibility
  • Capital Expenses + Production planning
  • Business plan and Start-up
  • Finances - Profit and loss
  • Finances - Cash flow and Balance sheet
  • Accessing Capital Loans
  • Enterprise budgeting

 General

  • Agroecology/Permaculture/Organic farming
  • Mechanics
  • Carpentry
  • Equipment Operation and Safety
  • Equipment Options
  • Development of US Ag
  • Social Implications of US Ag
  • Environmental Implications of US Ag
  • On-farm R&D basics
  • Farmscaping + property mgmt.
  • Scaling Up

Crop Production

  • Intro to Cropping systems
  • Crop planning
  • Genetics & Seed production
  • Greenhouse mgmt.
  • Propagation
  • Cultural practices (trellising/pruning/etc)
  • Irrigation theory + practice
  • Soil & Fertility
  • Nutrient budgeting
  • Tillage
  • Crop Rotation
  • Farm Recordkeeping
  • Composting
  • Cover crops
  • IPM – Intro + Weeds
  • IPM – Insects
  • IPM – Disease
  • Harvest & post-harvest handling
  • Food safety
  • Crop by crop details
  • Season extension

Livestock

  • Animal husbandry systems
  • Raising Sheep
  • Raising pastured poultry
  • Raising pigs
  • Livestock finances
  • Forage & pasture
  • Beekeeping

Marketing

  • Marketing overview
  • Market feasibility
  • Brand development + Outreach
  • Pricing concepts
  • Marketing plan
  • CSA
  • Farmers markets & Roadside
  • Restaurants + Value Added