Have you ever wondered exactly what students at the Organic Farm School do? You see a lot of photos of their work in the field, but it can be tougher to show you what their classroom experience is like. So, we thought we'd give you a glimpse, via a list of just the classes for April and May. It's impressive.
April 3rd - Crop Planning II: Space. Understand the dynamics at play – both in markets and in climate - in creating your crop plan to best utilize the space you have available.
April 4th - Farm Soils with Ron Hallbauer. Take an interactive field walk with a local soil scientist. Explore the different horizons of the OFS farm soil and how the valley’s geology and geography impact our farming
April 5th - Equipment Introduction Workshop. Get a tour of the OFS equipment and learn the functions they perform. Get hands-on experience changing fluids, filters, and performing other routine maintenance.
April 6th Business Planning Overview. Explore the various components involved when constructing a business plan. Become familiar with the OFS business plan. Get feedback on your ideas from the rest of the group.
April 10th - Crop Rotation. Gain understanding of why crop rotation is practiced. Learn about the benefits and challenges of crop rotation systems. Explore different models of crop rotation systems.
April 11th - Propagation. Learn about the various methods for propagating crops, both field and greenhouse. Get to know the various types of containers and media. Understand temperature and light differences required for germination and growth.
April 13 - Organic Certification. A brief history of the organic movement. Learn the scope of practices involved in organic compliance. Find out what information a farm needs to keep. Learn about the events of the inspection.
April 17 - Crop Planning III: Time. Gain an understanding of the many considerations in timing a crop plan. Comprehend how the available field space interacts with time. Learn how succession planting can be utilized.
April 18th - Enterprise Budgets I. Learn what enterprise budgets are and why they are a valuable tool in managing a farm’s profitability. Get familiar with the types of information that should be gathered and how to most effectively capture it. Choose your crop to complete and enterprise budget for and begin formulating a plan.
April 19th - Mechanics I with Van. Become familiar with various components of tractors. Understand tractor operation and safety. Learn to perform basic operation checks, servicing, and trouble-shooting.
April 20th - Market Feasibility with Jeff Voltz of NABC. Learn the different components and considerations for conducting a market feasibility study, including: Consumer and product trends; Demographics; Brand development; Competition analysis.
April 24th - Tillage I. Review what tillage can accomplish, both positive and negative. Become familiar with the various types of tillage and the equipment used. Learn about the various functions tillage equipment can perform. Explore which tools are the most suited for which jobs.
April 25th - Animal Production Systems. Learn the various financial, production and marketing components of the OFS animal production. Go over chores and timelines for chickens, lamb, and pigs. Explore the benefits and challenges of integrating livestock into a vegetable system.
April 26th - Soil Biology with Gabe Garms. Learn about the elaborate ecosystem within the soil. Learn the various types of soil biota and their effects on crops. Collect soil samples from the farm and look at the soil biology under a projecting microscope.
April 27th - Brand Development and Outreach with Jeff Voltz of NABC. Explore the important components of brand development, including logo, selling proposition, and product positioning.
May 1st - Pastured Poultry Production with Melissa Barker of Oyster Bay Farm. Explore the financial and marketing considerations for pastured poultry. Learn about the various production scenarios, including housing, pasture, feed, and slaughter. Become familiar with the various levels of permitting.
May 2nd - Pastured Sheep Production with Linda Neunzig of Ninety Farms. Explore the various start-up considerations for pastured lamb. Gain an understanding of production operations, including reproduction, grazing, and feed. Get insight into the financial, marketing, and processing aspects of pastured lamb.
May 3rd - Greenhouse Management. Learn about techniques to control the greenhouse environment for optimum plant growth. Get familiar with various ways to both heat and cool greenhouses. Explore different systems for watering, heating, and cooling. Review the OFS greenhouse system.
May 4th - On-farm R&D Basics. Learn how to identify the need for a trial. Explore the practical considerations for designing a trial. Get familiar with various ways of reliably capturing the information you’re looking for.
May 8th - Nutrient Budgeting. Learn what a nutrient budget is and its benefits. Explore ways to calculate the nutrients required. Learn how to calculate the fertilizer contribution of cover crops. Learn how to plan a nutrient budget.
May 9th - Mechanics II with Van. Understand the design and processes of each major tractor system. Get familiar with common failures of each system. Understand how to diagnose common failures. Become familiar with common repair processes.
May 10th - Pastured Pork with Lucia Wyss of Hidden River Farm. Explore business and market feasibility of pastured pork. Learn about start-up costs. Go over production planning and operation considerations. Learn about marketing and procession aspects. Gain understanding into breeding programs and feed operations.
May 11th - Business Feasibility with Jeff Voltz of NABC. Become familiar with the concepts of technical, economic, financial, and management feasibility. Learn how to employ exercises of these concepts to create a successful business model.
May 15th - Farmers Markets and Roadside Stands. Become familiar with the rationale behind direct-marketing. Get a brief history of farmers markets. Learn about the organizational and financial structures of farmers markets. Explore the benefits and challenges of farmers markets. Learn some practical techniques for having a successful market. Get an overview of the OFS farmers market operation.
May 16th - Harvest and Post-harvest/Food safety. Get introduced to appropriate harvest techniques for each type of vegetable. Get acquainted with various washing and cooling options and strategies. Understand harvest priorities and the effects of outside factors. Get introduced to food safety principles and procedures. Understand what GAP certification is, why it exists, where it’s applicable, and what is required.
May 17th - Carpentry I with Hunter Black. Learn what a basic inventory of farm tools should be. Get to know what each tool is capable of and the best safety practices. Participate in hands-on carpentry activity.
May 22nd - Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Learn a brief history of CSA and why and how it was originally conceived. Explore the various CSA models. Discover the opportunities and challenges of running a CSA. Learn about CSA operations. Get a detailed overview of the OFS CSA program.
May 23rd - Irrigation Theory and Practice I. Understand the role of water in farm systems. Learn water cycling terms and units of measurement. Explore how soil moisture impacts crop productivity.
May 29th - Pest Management I: Intro and Weeds. Learn about basic weed biology and identification. Explore different cultural weed management practices, including stale seed-bedding, flaming, and bare fallowing. Become familiar with both manual and mechanical weed control techniques.
May 31st - Carpentry II with Hunter Black. Learn about the different types of wood building materials and their various applications. Participate in the planning and drafting of a farm carpentry project (picnic table and arbor).