McVean Farm Vegetable Grower Training Program

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Author: Jenn Kucharczyk

Posted: January 12, 2015

Categories: GoodFoodBites / News from Sustain Members / Opportunities

Farmstart 2FarmStart, a Sustain Ontario Member, is running a part-time farmer training program focused on organic vegetable growing, based at McVean Farm in Brampton. The program starts on January 24th, with workshops throughout the winter and spring, followed by a season wrap-up in November. The course fee includes a 500 squarefoot garden plot for each participant to hone their skills and try new ideas.

From FarmStart:

Program Objective: To better enable new farmers to gain the foundational knowledge and practical skills required to take the first steps to start their own farm enterprise.

This is a part-time, flexible farmer training program emphasizing small-scale intensive organic vegetable production methods.

A one of a kind opportunity:

  • Convenient urban location – accessible by transit
  • Part-time, flexible learning without interrupting employment or other commitments
  • Small scale, sustainable, intensive farming methods
  • Full growing season experience on the McVean Vegetable Training Farm in Brampton
  • Receive your own free small garden plot to hone skills, experiment and feed yourself!

The FarmStart McVean Vegetable Grower Training Program Includes:

 Workshop Series for a Solid Foundation – approx. 35 hrs plus reading

A series of 10 practical and informative, vegetable growing workshops that will take place over the winter, early spring and fall. These workshops are designed to offer a solid foundation for the practical business of growing vegetables on a small scale intensively managed farm. These workshops will be delivered by McVean Farm staff and farmers and experienced organic vegetable growers. [Visit the FarmStart website for a workshop schedule with speakers and topics.]

On-Farm, Small Group Training –approx 330 hrs (300 in field, 30 marketing)

In late April, Farmers in Training (FT’s) will begin working toward the all important practical training component of the program. The training farm is a working farm business where you will gain experience b working with the farmers, Paul Stewart and Shira Katzberg, on many aspects of intensive organic vegetable production, reinforcing the material covered in the winter workshop series.  FT’s are required to work on the training farm for 12 hrs per week for 26 weeks following a schedule set out by the Training Farm Manager in consultation with the FT’s.  30 hours of marketing practice are included in this section. FarmStart will help facilitate opportunities for you to assist farmer vendors at local markets, connecting you from the field to consumer.

Tour Unique, Successful Small Scale Farmsapprox. 20 hrs

Farm tours have been planned to 4 successful, intensive organic vegetable operations. These opportunities are an important part of the training, further connecting you to FarmStart’s network of innovative producers and letting you see their wonderful farms. [Visit the FarmStart website for a tour schedule.]

Free Small Plot Garden Space – unlimited hrs!

Each FT will have their own 500sqft garden to hone their skills and try new ideas.

Expected Outcome:

Through instruction, hands-on practice and networking, the farmer training program is designed to help you make real progress towards understanding how soil, plants, climate and people interact to create sustainable farms with environmental, economic and social well being as their core values.

This foundational knowledge offers a solid understanding on which you can build as you take the next steps to becoming part of the vibrant organic farm community.

Resources provided:

Oh to Grow, An Educational Primer for New Farmers, Second Edition. Jacinda Fairholm

The Market Gardener, A Successful Growers Handbook for Small Scale Organic Farming. Jean- Martin Fortier

Course Fee including all materials: $2750+HST

For application and fee information contact: Sri Sethuratnam or 519-766-7493