There are two major components to the program: Core Classes and the Practicum.
Core Classes: 350 hours
The Farm School program will consist of the following core courses that will be delivered over the course of the season. Each will have a field based component. An excellent team of practical minded, experienced, skilled and dedicated teachers to support and guide your learning, skill building experience has been assembled. Classes do not have exams or graded assignments. You can expect to be given readings. No grades are assigned or academic credits awarded. There are 350 hours of formal class time. Many topics such as sustainable agriculture systems, farm safety, mechanization, construction, cover crops, resources and certifications, farmscaping, habitat enhancement etc. will be integrated into core courses as appropriate.
- Market Crop Production (60 hrs)
- Soils, Water & Compost Management (52 hrs)
- Plant Science (40 hrs)
- Pest Management (20 hrs)
- Animal Husbandry (56 hrs) - Apiculture, Poultry & Goats
- Fruit Production (52 hrs)
- Farm Business Planning (40 hrs)
- Appropriate Technology (30hrs)
Practicum: 350+ hours
All Farm School students will also participate in a minimum of 350 hours of practical crop production and post-harvest experience under the direction and/ or supervision of Farm School staff and/or Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Program farm staff. As you gain experience practicum activities may also be pursued independently. Practicum will also involve personal projects and special events. The majority of practical farming experience will occur at the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project Farm at the Terra Nova Rural Park and the Orchard (see location details below) in Richmond. Other sites may be utilized to enhance the practical learning experience. Note that students are responsible for transportation to practicum sites. Plenty of additional practical on farm experiences will likely be available as we want you to have the opportunity to gain as much real farming experience as possible.
Both core classes and practicum takes place at the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project's farm at Terra Nova Rural Park in Richmond, BC. We have both an indoor facility, with a class room and amentities, and direct access to the nearly 2 acres farm land, which is located HERE. The Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project also owns an orchard at the south end of Gilbert Rd. in Richmond, BC. Although most classes and practicum will be held at the farm, some sessions may involve training and work at the orchard, which is located HERE.
The Farm School is not a profit generating endeavour, nor is it subsidized in any way and therefore must operate on a full cost recovery basis. This means that all fees you pay are used to cover the costs of delivering the program; they are plowed back into the Farm School. We have checked into other similar programs and our cost/ fee structures are competitive.We have established two categories of students that will be subject to different fee structures for classes because they represent differing intents and levels of commitment. They are Cohort Students and General Interest Students.
Cohort Students: $5,000
These students are committed to and sign-up for the full compliment of core classes and practicum. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due to the Farm School at the time of application and the balance $4,500 by the start of classes. Cohort Students are also eligible for incubator farming sites. Couples, an incorporated entity, or community organization may qualify to be considered as one enrollee with one designated representative eligible to attend individual core classes. Contact us to see if you or your group qualifies. Payment of tuition through installments is also an option, please contact Anna Rallings the Farm School Coordinator for more information.
General Interest Students: Cost varies with each course
These students are those that only want to study farming on a class by class basis and do not want to participate in the practicum component. For a full price list for each course, please see the Application.
Anyone is welcome to enrol in Farm School classes if space is available. Enrolling in individual classes can be done at any time before the first date of that particular class. A General Interest student can opt to become a Cohort Student at any time. Upon doing so all fees previously paid to take individual classes will apply to the Cohort Student fee rate.