Business

Greenbank Farm Training Program grows farmers

The Greenbank Farm Training Program is starting a class this week designed to help beginning farmers, apprentices and aspiring farmers living on Whidbey Island.

“Now in our third year, we will be offering weekly classes for 23 weeks on the production and business aspects of starting and managing a successful small farm,” training program director Maryon Attwood said in a news release.

Classes begin Thursday, April 7 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuition for the 23-week series of classes and related field trips is $700.

Farm Management is the first course offered at the Greenbank Farm beginning this week. Cost for the 16-week class is $270. Topics include managing soil fertility, garden and field tillage and cultivation, propagating crops from seed and greenhouse management, transplanting, direct seeding and irrigation. Also included: principles and practices, selecting and using cover crops, making and using compost, managing arthropod pests, managing plant pathogens and managing weeds.

Through lectures, readings and discussions, information will be presented from curricula developed by the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Monthly field trips to regional farms allow student to see these concepts in action and talk to experienced farmers throughout Western Washington. WSU Island County Extension will assist in providing public workshops.

Enrollment is limited and scholarships are available. Apprentices and interns from Whidbey Island will have priority but experienced gardeners are also welcome to apply.

Participants may sign up for individual courses or receive a 15 percent discount when registering for the complete series. Continuing Education Units from Skagit Valley College are available.

For more information, contact Sebastian Aguilar at trainingcenter@greenbankfarm.com or call 360-222-3171.

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