Wild Willow Farm's 12-week Basics of Small-scale Sustainable Farming course offers students an introduction to techniques and strategies for small farming or agricultural advocacy, or to simply learn how to grow more of their own food in an agricultural setting.
The course consists of weekly lectures and fieldwork where students learn what it takes to work a small organic farm. Students take part in classroom lectures and projects, and work alongside farm staff to practice material covered in class.
Students who successfully complete the course earn a Certificate of Accomplishment.
Wild Willow Farm & Education Center is a program of the non-profit San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, whose mission is to educate, cultivate and empower sustainable food systems in San Diego County. Since the farm began in 2010, WWF's goal has been to teach about where food comes from and how to grow it, both in urban and rural agricultural settings, using sustainable practices best suited for San Diego's unique climate and year-round growing seasons. These conditions afford our students learning opportunities that exist nowhere else in the United States.
Basic Soil Science
Drip Irrigation installation
Environmentally Friendly Pest Control
Warm Season and Cool Season Crop Cultural Requirements
Greenhouse and Shade House Growing
Soil Fertility Enhancement Through Composting, including worm farming and custom-blended organic fertilizers
Orchard/fruit tree care
Other topics students will be exposed to include:
Medicinal & Culinary Herbs
Animal Husbandry (goats & chickens)
Public Events, Workshops and Field Trips
Class Size: Enrollment is limited; please apply early.
Costs: $500 tuition, plus $75 non-refundable registration fee. Tuition may be paid in installments, with $175 due on first day of class, $175 due on November 3, and $150 due on December 1. Enrollment is secured after online application and upon payment of registration fee, which provides you the required textbooks, tools and materials.
School Credit Option: You may apply to have tuition fees waived by being a registered student at a local community college or university and be signed up for your school's service learning, internship, or work-study program for credit (verification required). The $75 Registration may not be waived.
Scholarships and work exchange credit: Limited scholarships and work-exchange opportunities may be available to help defray tuition costs, and require a separate application once you've been accepted into the program. The $75 Registration fee is still required.
Class Schedule: Class meets every Sunday. First class is Sunday, October 6, 9am to 4pm. Last day of classes is Sunday, December 22.
Curriculum: we have an established curriculum that includes required reading and discussion during class time.
To fulfill the requirements of the program you must:
1) Attend Sunday classes and field labs, 9am to 4pm.
2) Attend at least four Saturday farm practicums, where you'll get hands-on farming experience and practice what you've been learning.
We are a non-residency program. We do not have living quarters at the farm. Students must provide for their own housing and transportation.
Location: 2550 Sunset Avenue, San Diego 92154, 20-minutes from downtown San Diego near Imperial Beach.
Lisa Ordóñez is Wild Willow Farm's Education Director and manages the farm school program.
Paul Maschka (lead instructor) grew up in farming country near Escondido and is one of our area's most experienced and skillful instructors in sustainable agriculture. He was instrumental in creating and developing the Seeds@City Urban Farm, a unique agricultural gem on the campus of San Diego City College in the heart of downtown San Diego, where he served as adjunct professor in sustainable urban agriculture from 2007 to 2012. Prior to that he was employed as a landscaper at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park and was responsible for implementation of composting and natural plant and pest management practices for those parks' world-class botanical collections. Paul's rich experience in sustainable farming and homesteading affords our students a well-rounded opportunity to learn all aspects of food production.
Renae Santa Cruz is a graduate of the WWF farmer training program and our head farmer. She leads the practicum lessons in the fields.
Additional staff Students will also be given opportunities to work with our organizational management staff and learn how our small non-profit does our educational work in the community.
Samples of veggies or other products from the farm.
Free or discounted attendance at WWF workshops (students will assist workshop coordinator).
Access to the WWF library.
Discounts on books, eggs, and tea.
Upon successful completion of program, students will receive a Certification of Accomplishment.