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Farmer Training Curriculum

20110717_Farmer_Apprentice-7Our curriculum starts in the field and continues in the classroom – from learning how to harvest arugula efficiently to listening to a presentation on soil fertility management – every part of the program emphasizes an applied, skill-based education. Over the course of six months, the UVM Farmer Training Program couples the invaluable approach of hands on learning with a classroom component and immersive rotations with incredible, successful local farmers. Working closely with experts in the field, the curriculum is designed to cover essential topics, using multiple formats throughout the growing season to build students’ experience, confidence, and skills. It is a learning experience unlike any other. Topics covered in the field and in the classroom program include:

Organic Crop Production

  • Vegetable, flower & herb production
  • Integrated, small scale poultry systems
  • Integrated grazing systems
  • Intro to small-scale organic dairy management
  • Organic soil fertility management
  • Compost production & use
  • Cover cropping & crop rotation systems
  • Propagation & greenhouse management
  • Direct sowing & transplanting
  • Crop families
  • Individual crop classes
  • Harvest & post-harvest handling techniques
  • Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry & apple production
  • Season extension
  • Organic pest, disease & weed management
  • Irrigation systems
  • Tractor & small equipment operation
  • Hand tools & field systems
  • Product safety
  • Winter greens production
  • Perennial systems & permaculture methods
  • Understanding of food production as part of an ecological system


  • CSA management
  • Farm stand management
  • Wholesale marketing
  • Marketing to a retail coop
  • Food Hubs

Farm Business Management

  • Farm financials
  • Agricultural business planning
  • Collective farm model
  • Crop planning & field mapping
  • Organic certification process
  • Land Access
  • Systems & record keeping

Beyond the Farm

  • Preservation & storage
  • Seed saving
  • Farm field trips
  • Independent projects
  • Participation in UVM Food Systems Summit
Farmer Training Program