Beginning Farmer Training Program
While there is no simple step-by-step method to become a farmer, ECO City Farm’s Growing Urban Farms and Farmers program is designed to help an aspiring, new, or beginning farmer learn the information and practice the skills they need to farm– from the ground up. The training program builds upon all of ECO’s offerings over the past six years. It includes comprehensive practical hands-on experiences, one-on-one mentoring, and a well-tested graphics-rich, culturally-appropriate curriculum that includes all of the crop production, resource management, business and administrative skills needed for graduates to roll up their sleeves and farm on their own land.
In partnership with Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) Center for Entrepreneurial Development, the program entails 27 hours of classroom learning, and provides graduates with a Certificate of Urban Commercial Agriculture and continuing education credits upon completion of the program. The PGCC AGR302: Intensive Introduction to Urban Commercial Agriculture is a key component of the Growing Urban Farms and Farmers program. After the first year of training, a number of successful participants will be offered an additional year of guided learning on designated farmland with many opportunities to direct market their produce. Full participation in all components of the program is required of all trainees.
Schedule: The program’s first session will be Wednesday, January 11th, 2017, and will be held every Wednesday evening from 6 pm to 9 pm throughout the year. In addition, trainees will be required to spend another 6-8 hours on-farm every Saturday.
Location: The Growing Urban Farms and Farmers program will be offered at both of ECO’s farms in Edmonston and Bladensburg, and at our offices in Riverdale.
Download the Announcement Flyer.
For more information, please contact: Gabrielle Rovegno • ECOnewfarmer@gmail.com • 3012449569
Individuals with some farming experience who are serious about farming and/or starting their own farm.
Food Sovereignty: Growing Urban Farmers and Farms is a comprehensive (9 hours minimum per week) training program for seriously committed aspiring, new and beginning urban farmers who want to learn about every aspect of the joy and business of growing healthy ecologically-sound food. This is a year-long classroom training and apprenticeship with potential cooperative farmland with start-up stipends for graduates. Each participant will be responsible for a 300 sq. ft. personal plot at one of ECO’s farms.
This program is a year-long commitment. Participants meet in-class and on-farm every Wednesday evening from 6pm-9pm and Saturday’s from 8:30am - 2:30pm, with additional times as pre-arranged and/or desired. First day of the full program is Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at 6pm at ECO’s Bladensburg Farm at 6100 Emerson Street, Bladensburg, MD 20710. In-class learning in conjunction with Prince George’s Community College begins Wednesday, January 25th through Wednesday March 22nd, 2017. Successful completion of this segment of the program earns participants a Certificate in Urban Farming.
Most of the coursework will be offered at ECO’s farms in Edmonston and Bladensburg, and at our offices in Riverdale, with occasional visits and hands-on work at other local farms.
As one of our favorite farmers, Wendell Berry says: To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd. All of us have to be both eaters and producers and know how to do both well! Berry also says: Teachers are everywhere. What is wanted is a learner. We at ECO are both teachers and learners, and are interested in creating a forum where all of us learn and grow together to sustainably produce healthy food locally. Thanks to the USDA Beginning Farmers and Rancher (BFRDP), ECO has been funded to develop and run two year-long cycles of this program to proliferate urban farming here and elsewhere. Please join us in this collaborative adventure.