How to Start Farming: An Introductory Course for the Farm Curious

Posted by Alex on February 16, 2023

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Not Enrolled
Price
$100-$200 (pay what you can)
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Young Agrarians presents How to Start Farming: An Introductory Course for the Farm Curious! This online course will give you the space to explore farming fundamentals, connect with the farming community, and learn about ways to get more involved in farming.

Registration is now closed for the April 2024 program. If you’d like to be alerted when we announce upcoming programs, please share your email in this form!


Quick Links: 
OVERVIEW | IS THE HOW TO START FARMING COURSE FOR YOU? | PROGRAM FORMAT | SPEAKERS | REQUIREMENTS | COST | FAQ | RESOURCES FOR HOW TO START FARMING

 

Did you know that over two-thirds of new farmers don’t come from a farming background?

People from all walks of life have caught the farming and food-growing bug. Maybe that’s you! 

 

Overview

How to Start Farming is a four-week program packed full of information and activities that guide you through the basics of farming and brings together people who want to dip their toes into the world of growing food. Registration in the course includes access to 20 instructional videos, a curated list of more than 30 of our favourite farming resources, and 8 hours of virtual support and instruction, all broken down into easily digestible weekly modules. Each week will include pre-recorded videos, a discussion forum, and a 2-hour online session.

How to Start Farming will cover everything from overviews of different kinds of farming to basic soil health principles to preparing for your first farm visit. In this program you will have the opportunity to:

  • Be introduced to Indigenous food systems and relationship to the land (led by Nehiyaw/Métis Knowledge Keeper Audrey Logan, Treaty 1 Territory)
  • Discover how to address climate change through farming methods
  • Explore paths to get more involved in farming
  • Meet farmers and peers who are passionate about local food
  • Hear first-hand stories of the joys and challenges of growing food

This program is open to anyone and everyone curious about farming. How to Start Farming is a great place to explore whether farming is right for you, how to build community by growing food, and tangible ways to make a positive impact on the ecosystems around you. This course is also a great way for those who are new to Canada to learn the basics of farming in Canadian climates. You don’t have to have any experience with farming or growing food to join. 

“Young farmer, learn as much as you can about farming and life. Listen to your elders, for they are wise… Whatever you learn, share that knowledge with others; whatever you grow, share with those who have less. Be prepared to meet the challenge ahead but know that you are not alone.”
–Karen Washington from Letters to a Young Farmer

Is the How to Start Farming Course for You?

How to Start Farming is best suited for folks who have little or no experience in farming. This is an introductory course so it will be an exploration of the basics of farming. People of all ages and walks of life are welcome to join.

How to Start Farming is geared toward people who:

  • Are looking for tangible ways to fight climate change
  • Want to develop a relationship with the land through growing food
  • Want to learn more about how food is grown in their local area
  • Have grown food in gardens and want to learn about farming on a larger scale
  • Come from farming backgrounds outside of Canada and want to learn about growing food in Canadian climates
  • Are interested in working outdoors with their hands in the soil
  • Want to connect with others who are interested in farming

Not sure if How to Start Farming is right for you? Reach out to us at: elearning@youngagrarians.org

Program Format

How to Start Farming is structured to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, which means it’s different from a standard online course. Each week participants are encouraged to watch a few short videos and answer a discussion question before attending the online, live session (via Zoom). 

The videos cover the content of the topic for that week. Some videos will focus on the practical pieces of growing food while others will be a story of how a new farmer got involved in farming. Each week will have about 30 minutes of video content.

Each topic will also have a discussion question to complete. These discussion questions will help you reflect on the topic and to hear from others in the course. You can expect to spend 5–10 minutes on each discussion question. 

During the live session, you have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and to connect with peers in small groups. These sessions are participatory and driven by your questions. Each session is 2 hours long and we have live transcription available during all of our sessions. 

How to Start Farming will run for four consecutive weeks with one topic per week, with live sessions on Wednesday evenings at 6 pm PT, 7 pm MT, 8 pm CT, 9 pm ET, 10 pm AT. The dates will be April 3rd, April 10th, April 17th and April 24th. If you require any accommodations to make this program accessible, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at elearning@youngagrarians.org.

Speakers

We have carefully selected an exceptional team of speakers! Learn from these amazing farmers and food lovers about how to get more involved in the farming community.

How to Start Farming is facilitated by Alex Pulwicki, E-Learning Manager and Chantelle Chan, E-Learning Coordinator at Young Agrarians.

How to Start Farming course facilitator photo

Alex loves nothing more than bringing together people to celebrate local food and farms! As the E-Learning Coordinator for Young Agrarians she gets to meet amazing new and aspiring farmers and help them to connect with the resources and support needed to start farming. She enjoys making online spaces a place to build connections with people near and far. Alex has worked and volunteered at a number of farms across Alberta and is passionate about local dairy and cheesemaking. She currently sits on the Edmonton Food Council and is in the early stages of starting a small herbal tea farm. You can reach Alex at alex@youngagrarians.org

Chantelle is curious about most things (including all things farming), and often straddles roles of learner and teacher/facilitator. A city kid with a homestead dream, she grew up with the abundance of her poh-poh’s (grandma) backyard veggies and goji berry bush. In 2021, they started an urban flower farm with a friend, Suelo & Faa. Suelo is Spanish for soil, and Faa is Cantonese for flower, reflecting their family backgrounds. They transform under-utilized yards into micro farm sites and operate a CSA program. She has led teams in different realms – outdoor recreation education, environmental stewardship, event planning and e-commerce, with elements of team-building, group facilitation, learning and development woven in the mix. Operator of a neurodivergent brain. The power and possibilities of regenerative farming practices to address the impacts of climate change is a good reason to be hopeful. Contact Chantelle at elearning@youngagrarians.org

Requirements

To fully participate in the program, participants should have reliable access to a computer and a stable internet connection (to join Zoom video calls). Please contact us at elearning@youngagrarians.org if you need any technical support. 

Cost

We love supporting new and young farmers to grow! To make How to Start Farming more affordable we are offering a sliding scale payment, which means that you are able to select how much you pay to participate. 

The suggested sliding scale cost is $100–$200, which is $25–$50 per session. If you are not able to pay on the suggested sliding scale, you are welcome to contribute an amount that works for you. No one will be turned away from our programs for lack of funds. 

We base the price range on the cost of running the program (coordination, speaker fees, facilitation, program development, and online infrastructure). When you register you are able to enter any amount as a registration fee. If you’d like to learn more, please go to “What is sliding scale payment? Why do we use it?”.

If you have any questions, would like to pay without using a credit card, and/or want to arrange a payment plan, then please contact us at elearning@youngagrarians.org. Teams that join the program together can register as one entity.

FAQ

The program is 4 weeks long. Each week will have 30 minutes of video content and each live session is 2 hours long. You can also expect to spend 5–10 minutes each week answering a discussion question online. So each week will require about 3 hours of your time, for a total of 12 hours for the whole course.

Spring 2024 dates: Wednesday April 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th.

All sessions are held on Wednesdays from 6–8 pm Pacific Time, 7–9 pm Mountain Time, 8–10 pm Central Time, 9–11 pm Eastern Time, 10–12 pm Atlantic Time.

Not a problem. Three of the live sessions (Topics 1, 2, and 4) will be recorded so you can always catch up by watching these videos. These recordings will be available only to program participants and only for the duration of the program. That being said, past participants have really enjoyed the live sessions and they have benefited from connecting with the speakers and their peers, so you are encouraged to come when you can!

Absolutely! You’ll have access to the program website, which has all the videos, resources, and discussion questions after the course is done.

Absolutely! There are some resources that are specific to Canada, but the majority of what we discuss and explore can be applied to an international context.

If you have a specific topic or question that you are hoping to address, please send an email to elearning@youngagrarians.org

Questions or ideas? Email us at elearning@youngagrarians.org

Resources for How to Start Farming

Want more programs and resources for your farming journey? Check these out!


How to Start Farming is coordinated out of   ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Amiskwacîwâskahikan), which is in Treaty 6 and Métis Territory. This land is the meeting place of the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others. As we live and work in the context of, and in response to, a colonial land title system, it is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of agriculture on Indigenous lands and food systems.  As Métis writer Chelsea Vowel says, “I think rural/Indigenous alliances have the potential to be the most transformative relationships in this country, even as they remain the least likely to occur.” In this context, we believe that it is our collective responsibility to position reconciliation, ecology and land stewardship at the forefront if we are to learn to be in relationship with the land.

You can read Young Agrarians’ full land acknowledgment on our The Land page. 

Thank you to our course sponsors: