Creative Education for Grassroots Agriculture

Posted by Laura Hannant on October 24, 2013 1 Comment

Kootenay Farm School

Registration for the Kootenay Farm School Beginner Farmer Training Program Opens October 28:

College of the Rockies Kootenay Farm School is the region’s first centre for sustainable agriculture and food security learning. Guided by the motto “Creative education for grassroots agriculture,” we bring together innovative agriculturalists and passionate educators to cultivate knowledge, skills, and networks for food production on a human scale. From our home in the Creston Valley, KFS facilitates dynamic community-rooted learning for gardeners, homesteaders, farmers, and food systems builders.

Creston Valley - Fall

The Creston Valley is tucked among the Selkirk, Purcell, and Thompson mountain ranges in the southeast corner of BC.  Fertile land and dedicated farmers mean an abundance of good food production – homestead, market garden, orchard, livestock, poultry, apiculture, greenhouse, vineyard, commercial seed, and mixed farm operations.  Our cherry juice was judged the best pure juice… in the world.  Our local organic dairy bottles milk and crafts cheeses that we love to boast about.

Creston is a Kootenay town with the markings of Kootenay culture – slow pace, love of nature, and people quick to smile.  But we have our own thing going, too.  What looks like a sleepy exterior sometime hides the momentum that is building here – energy flowing from the untapped agricultural potential of the Valley and the aspirations of people coming here to farm.

Beginner Farmer Training

Beginner Farmer Training

The KFS Beginner Farmer Training Program is being launched to support the next generation of Kootenay farmers.  From February to November 2014, we will be offering a part-time crash course in human-scale ecological farming.  Students will train in the classroom, the community, and on farms all over the Kootenays, studying with a team of farmers and educators.  Partnerships with area food groups and farmers’ markets will help students grow relationships in the Kootenay food system.  A unique collaboration with the K’tunaxa First Nation will have students honing their skills on a 2-acre market garden to grow food for and with the Lower Kootenay Band.

Areas of study will include:

Livelihood – approaches to farming, whole-farm planning, business models, marketing, adding value, record-keeping, regulations, and supports
Plant Science – plant structure, plants, soil, and water, plant nutrition, plants and the sun, plant growth and development, plants and the environment
Soil Stewardship – soil science, soil testing, cultivation, composting, mulching, cover cropping
Pest Management – pest ecology, biodiversity and pest management, integrated pest management
Seeds – seed selection, seed saving, commercial seed production
Market Crop Production – crop planning and rotation, seed starting and propagation, greenhouse production, transplanting and direct sowing, crop care, weed management, harvesting and processing, season extension
Fruit Crop Production – planting, propagating, training, pruning, crop care, harvesting and processing
Animal Husbandry – apiculture, poultry, rabbits, introductions to sheep, goats, hogs, beef and dairy
Small Farm Technology – hand tool use, irrigation, carpentry, small engine, welding and metalwork, working with animals
Permaculture – design principles, food foresting
Life Place – farming heritage and community, assessing land, accessing land

We are happy to accept students for enrollment in the full program or to help develop a custom package that works for you.

Apply starting Monday, October 28th

Registration for the full Beginner Farmer Training Program opens October 28.  To learn more call a KFS Coordinator at 1-866-740-2687 or visit www.cotr.bc.ca/kootenay-farm-school or www.facebook.com/KootenayFarmSchool.

One thought on “Creative Education for Grassroots Agriculture

  1. Hi Laura, My husband and I are thinking of relocating to Creston and are interested in your farm school. Has the first year been a success and is there enough interest to run another year (2015)? Thanks, Alison

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