From farm school to incubator

This post is mainly a news release about the Richmond Farm School.

The farm school operates mainly from Terra Nova Rural Farm at the moment. It is gradually expanding its reach, and  the Kwantlen Polytechnic University efforts that include it are a strong candidate for inclusion in Garden City Lands use. (On this blog, we have a series of posts about the proposal, the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Urban Agriculture Education Program.) Here’s the press release:

The Richmond Farm School is starting its 2011 classes soon! 

The Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in cooperation with the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, the Richmond Food Security Society, the City of Richmond and our proud sponsor VanCity, is pleased to announce that the second year of the Richmond Farm School is scheduled to commence in 2011. Classes run from January 2011 to November 2011 on Thursday and Friday afternoons as well as Saturday mornings. Topics include plant science, soil and water management, farm operations, business planning, and many others.

The purpose of the Farm School is to prepare people from all walks of life to engage in human scale, urban focused agriculture enterprises including production, processing, adding value, distribution, marketing and sales. The goal is to build regional agri-food systems in, around and for municipalities. The program will focus on balancing 350 hours of theoretical (classroom) and 350 hours of applied (field/ practical) skill development with the express objective of teaching agriculture as the applied science and art that it is.

Actual farming, processing, marketing and sales learning experience are a defining feature of the program. Upon completion of a single course, a compliment of courses or the complete program, students will not just know about urban and peri-urban agriculture but will also have developed the skills to engage in it. Farm School students will learn by doing. 

A second defining feature of the curriculum will be its focus on sustainability. In this we mean teaching about farming and an agri-food system that is economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsive and just. We will also emphasize agriculture as an integral element of sustainable cities in compliment to existing agri-food systems elements. 

Lastly but importantly, through our program students will have access to “incubator” farm land (up to one acre for three years at very reasonable rates) to begin their agricultural enterprises. Technical support and possibly shared equipment will be available to incubator farmers.

Contact Anna Rallings (Coordinator) for more information at A_Rallings@hotmail.com.

Want to learn more? The Tyee has an interesting new “Welcome to Farm School” article.

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