May 15, 2018 @ 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Various Locations
Nevada County
$45 each class or 14 class pack $490; 7 class pack $280
Sierra Harvest
(530) 265-2343

Farm Crew Agriculture Skills Course

Hone your skills! Join the Sierra Harvest for a season of in-depth classes all about production farming.  All classes are taught on farms in Nevada County by local farmers and agricultural professionals. Location details are emailed one week in advance of class.  This course is designed to for beginning farmers interested in production scale agriculture.

Sign up for the entire course and get a 23% price discount.  Choose 7 or more classes for an 11% discount.   Individual classes are available at $45/class.

Classes meet every other Tuesday, 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm 

5/15/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 1:  Introduction to Farm Crew and Critical Analysis of Sustainable Farming Systems with Cindy Fake, UCCE Horticulture & Small Farms Advisor

No-Till? Biodynamic? Permaculture? Regenerative? Organic? How to choose!? Learn to look closely and critically at sustainable farming systems to find the methods that will work best on your land and in your own farm business.  Cindy Fake has supported farmers in Placer and Nevada counties for decades and is an expert on crop production in the region.

5/29/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 2:  Plant Propagation, Transplants and Green House Management with Robbie Martin, Sweet Roots Farm

Producing high quality plants from seeds and cuttings is a critical component of farm success!  Learn about soil mix, greenhouse management from seed to field, and growing plants from cuttings and divisions.  Farmer Robbie Martin of Sweet Roots Farm, will share his vast understanding of plant production.  A great opportunity to see commercial scale, certified Organic plant start production.

6/12/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 3:  Field, Soil and Bed Preparation & Spring Weed Management with Jeremy Mineau, Super Tuber Farm

Learn the how to identify the right time and methods for preparing the soil for planting.  Best practices in preparing the ground for planting can mitigate weed pressure and promote crop success.  Jeremy Mineau of Super Tuber Farm will share his bed preparation skills.  Super Tuber Farm grows a variety of crops on about 6 acres including 2 acres each of carrots and beets, which are notoriously difficult crops when it comes to controlling weeds.  

6/26/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 4:  Best Practices in Row Crop Irrigation with  Antonio Garza, Riverhill Farm

See efficient and effective irrigation systems in action.  Learn the water needs of crops and the best methods to get water to the plants.  Antonio operates Riverhill Farm, a beautiful and diverse 10-acre vegetable farm in Nevada City that hosts a weekly farmstand and sells at local Farmers’ Markets, restaurants and grocery stores.

7/10/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 5:  Identifying Pests, Beneficial Insects and Management Options with Cindy Fake, UCCE Horticulture & Small Farms Advisor

Learn to identify what’s a pest and what’s beneficial. Learn about Integrated Pest Management to prevent damage from key fruit and vegetable pests and how to manage pest problems in an eco-friendly manner. Cindy Fake has supported farmers in Placer and Nevada counties for decades and is an expert on crop production in the region. 

7/24/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 6:  How to Take a Soil Test and Interpret the Results, Understanding the Role of Fertilizers in Plant and Soil Health with Amigo Bob Cantisano, Organic Ag Advisors

 One of the most influential figures in California organic agriculture, Amigo Bob Cantisano is perhaps best known as the founding organizer of the annual Ecological Farming Conference.  His search for a reliable source of organic inputs led him to found a farm supply company, Peaceful Valley Supply.  Organic Ag Advisors, has assisted hundreds of farms in transitioning from conventional agriculture to organic.  

8/7/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 7:  Let Animals work the Land! Integrating Animals and Vegetables with Leo Chapman, Harmony Valley Farm

See a small, diversified farm in action.  Leo Chapman at Harmony Valley Farm will introduce us to a diversified farm system that integrates animals into a No-Till fruit and vegetable system.  If you can grow it in Nevada County, Leo has!  Leo founded the Living Lands Agrarian network and has trained countless aspiring farmers in the area.

8/21/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 8:  Diversified Farming: Livestock, Field Crops & On-Farm Compost Production with Tim Van Wagner, First Rain Farm

First Rain Farm has been producing high quality fruit, vegetables and fresh goats milk since 2012.  This exciting class will look at the closed farming system that Tim has created, using waste from his goat dairy to create compost for his fruit and vegetable crops.

9/4/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 9:  All about Sales with Aleta Barrett, Starbright Acres Family Farm. 

Sell it before you grow it!  Understand how crops move from the field to the customer at Farmers markets and Farm Stands, and to restaurants, food hubs and grocery stores.  Aleta Barrett owns and operates Starbright Acres Family Farm, an intensive farm that produces $100,000 of vegetables per acre for local markets. 

9/18/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 10:  Small Farm Machine Operation and Maintenance with Paul Glowaski, Dinner Bell Farm. 

You go into farming to get your hands in the dirt, but every farmer spends a good amount of time with wrench in hand.  Knowing how to keep equipment in good working order is an essential skill. Learn tools and tips for keeping your farm machines in great working order.  Regular maintenance can save you time and money!  Paul Glowaski runs Dinner Bell Farm and has rebuilt everything from walk-behind tractors to weed whips, chainsaws to tractors.  He apprenticed with the infamous Lowell Webb of Webbs Farm Supply.

10/2/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 11:  Cover Crops and Soil Health with Patrick and Diane Bollinger, Foothill Roots Farm

Cover cropping is one of the building blocks of ecological agriculture.  Learn how to feed your soil microbes, and plants by growing thick stands of cereals, legumes and other cover crop.  Understand what and when to plant and see methods of seeding and incorporating cover crops into the soil.  Patrick and Diane Bollinger run Foothill Roots Farm in Meadow Vista where they grow a diversified menu for their successful CSA.

10/16/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 12:  Seed Production and Seed Saving with Sarah Silverheels, For the People Seeds

With the current loss of our seed heritage from large corporations purchasing so many seed companies, seed saving has become paramount to life saving.  We will learn what and how to plant for seed harvest and be shown some seed saving, cleaning and storage techniques.  Sarah Silverheels blends her vegetable crops with many varieties of traditional native plants for basketry and forage.  Sarah will share her knowledge of production seed farming and teach us to be seed keepers.

10/30/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 13:  Crop Planning, Successions and Rotations, Instructor and host farm TBA

Every farm needs a great crop plan!  Learn to plan your season and extend your harvest window with well-timed crop successions.  Instructor and host farm TBA.

11/6/18, 3:30-6:30 pm- Class 14:  Fall/Winter Season Extension with Kristen Draz and Will Holland, Fog Dog Farm

“Shoulder” season crops can be a great way to increase sales and find a niche market.  Explore various methods of extending crops into cold and wet weather and learn more about how to plan for these different growing seasons.  Kristen and Will started Fog Dog Farm in 2016 and have been successfully growing their mixed vegetable, mostly no-till operation since.