Anyone, with any amount of space, can grow food. Whether you want to build raised beds in your backyard or start a small-scale farm, this course will empower you to get the most food possible out of your space.
18 Reasons and the Bi-Rite Farm are delighted to offer the opportunity to get your hands dirty during this 9th annual immersion course, running May through October 2019.
FARM SCHOOL is geared for adults who want to learn about the life, economics, and labor of small scale organic farming practices. The course includes six lectures at 18 Reasons and six farming days at the Bi-Rite Farm, with additional excursions to surrounding farms and gardens. The Wednesday lectures will take you through the logistics and business of starting a rural or urban farm; the Saturday farm sessions will put you on-site digging, planting, weeding and harvesting - hands-on, experiential learning. While this is not a comprehensive, collegiate-level course, the 18 Reasons Farm School is perfect for folks who are interested in growing food and who desire to gain a deeper understanding of the politics and practicalities of small scale organic farming in the Bay Area.
ADDITIONAL PERKS: a free 18 Reasons membership (if you are already member, this can be applied when your current membership expires), farm treats following harvest on Saturdays, and a farm-to-table lunch cooked by Sam Mogannam, owner of Bi-Rite Market and co-founder of 18 Reasons.
INSTRUCTORS: Simon Richards, Bi-Rite Market's head produce buyer and Layla Aguilar, Bi-Rite Farm's farmer; co-led with Vanessa Lieu 18 Reasons' Farm School Coordinator who has supported 18 Reasons programming at Cooking Matters and at 18th St. Classroom. Guest lectures may include Martin Bournhonesque from Martin B Farms, educators from Sonoma Garden Park, Janet Nagamine of Hikari Farms, Ben Eichorn of Grow Your Lunch, Kristyn Leach from Namu Farm, and more.
Class size capped at 24.
If you are unable to attend all sessions, you must still pay full price. Tickets are not discounted or pro-rated for any reason. *If you would like to set up a payment plan, you can send us three post-dated checks, each made out to 18 Reasons for $217. We will deposit the checks on April 1, July 1, and September 1. If this is the route you’d like to take, please contact Vanessa at email@example.com.
DATES, TIMES, LOCATIONS
Wednesday lectures are 6:30-9:00 pm at 18 Reasons, 3674 18th St. (between Dolores and Guerrero) in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco.
Saturdays off-site days are 8:00 am-2:00 pm at Bi-Rite Farm in Sonoma and other nearby farms (carpools will be organized during the first meeting).
Wednesday, May 1 | Welcome to Farm School with dinner cooked by 18 Reasons Chef Mike Weller and an inspirational lecture with a local farmer
*if you have dietary restrictions, please let us know ASAP
Saturday, May 4 | Hands-on learning including field preparation, direct sowing and transplants
Wednesday, May 29 | Lectures on flower farming and urban farm/garden building
Saturday, June 1 | Hands-on learning including pollination, irrigation, and weed management
Wednesday, July 10 | Lecture on starting a farm
Saturday, July 13 | Hands-on learning including crop planning and a nearby farm visit
Wednesday, August 7 | Lecture and visit on urban farm successes
Saturday, August 10 | Farm Tours in the Watsonville area
Wednesday, September 4 | Lectures on Additional Models of Farming
Saturday, September 7 | Farm Tours in the Davis/Winters area
Wednesday, October 2 | Lecture on Seed Saving
Saturday, October 12 | Bi-Rite Farm Harvesting + Lunch cooked by Sam Mogannam
*Topics are subject to change
TRANSPORTATION AND FOOD
18 Reasons will help organize carpooling logistics but will not offer transportation to Sonoma or other farms. Students are responsible for their own food and water. Snacks and water are provided during Wednesday evening lectures.
This promises to be a extremely fun and in-depth introduction to farming!
Recommended Reading before beginning Farm School
Reads + Resources
Suzanne Ashworth, Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners
Brian Capon, Botany for Gardeners
Eliot Coleman, The New Organic Grower: A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener
Eliot Coleman, Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long
Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming
Robert Kourik, Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive
Pam Pierce, Golden Gate Gardening: The Complete Guide to Year-Round Food Gardening in the San Francisco Bay Area and Coastal California
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Rodale, Encyclopedia of Gardening: The Indispensable Resource for Every Gardener
Don’t have a plot of your own? Volunteer Possibilities
Missed Class Policy: As this series is offered once a year and continuously evolves, it is hard to make up for any missed session of Farm School. However, if you're available the next year, we can make some room for students to make up a missed lesson. For the Saturday hands-on learning at Bi-Rite Farm, we are able to accommodate make up sessions if the student is able to provide their own transportation. Due to limited space at our classroom, we are unable to offer make up classes for the Wednesday lectures. For Saturday field trips to non-Bi-Rite farms, these vary year to year and are not able to be made up. We are unable to offer make up sessions to the opening dinner and closing luncheon, as these are social gatherings meant to build relationships within the current cohort of students. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a make up visit to Bi-Rite Farm.
(Photo courtesy of Janine Gee)