The Richmond Farm School is a 10 month program focused on providing training for those who wish to join the ranks of those engaging in local agriculture. Our agricultural philosophy emphasises:
- Local production, processing and distribution
- Human-scale systems that provide sustainability to local farms
- Natural production methods that value ecological recourses and local health
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 theoretical (classroom) and applied (field/ practical) skill development studies 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. The concept of small farmer training facilities is closely tied to the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture's research in Sustainable Agri-food Systems. You can read more about this research HERE.
Lastly but importantly, through our program students will have access to "incubator" farm land (lease of up to a half acre for three years upon program completion) to begin their agricultural enterprises. Technical support and possibly shared equipment will be available to incubator farmers. Learning is an ongoing process and the Farm School is dedicated to providing support for the students beyond the year long program through a combination of mentorship and land availability.
We aim to provide the students with:
- Essential and practical science, management and business skills they need to engage in agriculture
- Solid base of experience in the practical skills required through practicum on the farm throughout the whole season
- Connection to the local community of farmers and agricultural support networks
- Land and/or ongoing mentor support for their learning beyond the program.
Sharing Farm Society
This non-profit organization has partnered with us to provide our educational farm site. The Sharing Farm has grown over the years to nearly 2 acres of active farm land at Terra Nova Rural Park, as well as over 1 acre of apple and pear Orchard at the south end of Gilbert Rd. The Farm grows year round produce for the Richmond Food Bank and other community meal projects in the Richmond area. The students actively participate in these community-oriented projects through their practicum efforts in the farm's seasonal operations.
For more information about this amazing community farm, visit their website: http://www.sharingfarm.ca
Richmond Food Security Society
The Richmond Food Security Society is a non-profit community organization that has been involved in supporting education and awareness of food security issues in the City of Richmond for many years. They partner with the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project to provide community meals and workshops for the public. The Society also maintains the Community Gardens throughout Richmond. Through their work with the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project, the students of the program become involved in community food security projects.
For more information, please visit their website: http://www.richmondfoodsecurity.org
City of Richmond
The City of Richmond is working with the Richmond Farm School to help support new farmers in the city. They have provided educational space for us at their facilities in Terra Nova Rural Park. The City is also involved in providing incubator farm land to program graduates. The cooperation and participation of the local municipal government is key to the development of the local food system, and the City of Richmond has come onboard to help support this endevour.
The VanCity credit union has become a generous sponsor of the program. Their contributions help support the Farm School in their efforts to train new farmers and enhance local sustainable agriculture.