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Farmer Training


Hands-on, Skill-based Education in Sustainable Agriculture

UVM’s Farmer Training Program is a six-month, hands-on program for aspiring farmers and food-systems advocates that provides experiential, skills-based education in sustainable farming. Students will get a unique and comprehensive education by running all aspects of the 10-acre Catamount Educational Farm, learning from expert farmers and educators in the classroom, and alongside successful, inspiring farmers in the Burlington area. PLANT YOURSELF IN A NEW FIELD!

Graduates will gain:

  • A Certificate in Sustainable Farming from UVM
  • Experience in organic crop production, from seed to market
  • A deeper understanding of small-scale farm management
  • Entrepreneurial skills to start a farm business
  • A network of incredible people to provide support and guidance

Who is this program for?

The program is designed for people interested in immersing themselves in sustainable, local food systems in a hands-on educational setting. Candidates include, but are not limited to:  new and beginning farmers, urban and community gardeners, farm educators and students interested in deepening their understanding of sustainable farming systems in an intensive and focused learning environment.

UVM-CDE-Farmer-Training-Program-ICONWhy Vermont?

Vermont is a national model in alternative food-systems development with its network-based approach. Here you’ll find farmers, food-systems advocates, regional food hubs, policy makers, and community members committed to increasing production and consumption of local foods. Vermont has the highest number of farmers’ markets and CSAs per capita than any state, and it’s consistently ranked among the healthiest, greenest places in the nation. When it comes to local food, Vermont proves what’s possible.

Why is this program important?

Now more than ever we need to sow seeds of resistance. Climate change, environmental degradation, poverty, and food access – are all issues at the forefront of our society. We must combat these socio-economic and environmental problems however we can. Growing local food is one significant way. Small, diversified farms that employ sustainable practices can improve soil, water and air quality, sequester carbon and increase biodiversity. The Farmer Training Program provides you the skills to manage a diversified farm and be that change our planet so desperately needs. Planting those seeds of resistance is the first step to localizing your community’s food system and healing the earth.

Student Testimonials

“It’s not a bachelors, masters or doctorate, but this certificate means more to me than any achievement or degree in my life.  I am a man transformed because of the Farmer Training Program.  I have discovered my passion, my purpose and even more who I am.  And I owe it to those six months.”
Taylor Jespersen, 2016

“Every day I am thankful for those 6 months in Vermont at the Farmer Training Program. I was able to not only learn the theory behind growing but the organization necessary to make a farm viable. Being exposed to a number of farms and farm models was invaluable. Almost as much so as the people I got to weed alongside.”
Isabella Strong, 2015

“When I was working for a farm I had no context of the big picture, I was just plugged into the daily task of harvest, sales, and none of the planning of how to make it all come together. The Farmer Training Program locked in my understanding of all of those things. That dream of having my own operation feels so much more realistic and possible because of those specific trainings in planning and the more intellectual sides of farming…I think about how long it would have taken me to get those pieces of knowledge and it would have taken me years without the Farmer Training Program.”
Karen Taylor, 2016

“My partner and I credit the Farmer Training Program for giving us the knowledge necessary to start and successfully operate our own farm within 6 months of graduating the program.”
Kimberlee Rich, 2014, Old Soul Farm

“The UVM FTP has been an integral part of starting and operating a farm business after graduation.  Not only was the experience transformative and invaluable but I also developed relationships in the broader agricultural community that I utilize every season.  I also remain connected to alumni and staff as friends and colleagues.  Without this program I would not have been able to start a farm business as successfully.”
Ryan Demarest, 2013, Naked Acre Farm

“The Farmer Training Program changed my life in so many ways, learning about how we produce food was and is so empowering for me. UVM is a great place to be as I try to make eating, farming, and learning a more political act every day!”
Katie Horner, UVM Masters in Food Systems, 2013

A special thank you to:

Johhny's Selected Seeds

Career Spotlight

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a 42-credit online graduate program that helps you explore public health and policy issues while gaining a strong foundation in population health sciences. Our program leads to a Generalist MPH degree focused on excellence in Environmental Public Health; Quantitative Public Health Sciences; and Health Policy, Leadership, and Advocacy.

You can complete the program in two years (full-time) or up to five years (part-time). Whether you want to learn more about public health issues or seek a career in health care, research, or public health, our program can help further your goals by teaching you to: