Aspiring urban farmers gain practical skills with OSU program

three urban farmers talk while harvesting vegetables
David Renn, Teresa Gooden and Willow Aevery enrolled in Extension's training for new urban farmers. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.

105 students have completed the Portland training since 2011

Some urbanites are choosing farming over office jobs, but not all of them have agricultural backgrounds. To educate them, the OSU Extension Service, in partnership with Multnomah County, trains these aspiring farmers with its seven-month Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program (BUFA) in Portland.

Through classes, hands-on training, field trips, online learning, stints at farmer’s markets and apprenticeships, students learn to produce vegetables, fruits, grains and cut flowers using sustainable and organic methods. They also learn to design landscapes and create a business and marketing plan for a farm. The curriculum is based on Extension’s “Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management” workshop series.

Significant “soil time” creates a fun and dynamic community and numerous participants report that the BUFA experience has changed their lives and helped them to navigate their career path. Out of the 105 total participants since 2011, 51 students have reported 79 “next steps” in their agricultural careers.

 

Source: Weston Miller, horticulturist with the OSU Extension Service.

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