Aspiring urban farmers gain practical skills with OSU program

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David Renn, Teresa Gooden and Willow Aevery participate in OSU's training for new urban farmers. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
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43 students have completed the Portland training since 2011

The Oregon State University Extension Service is training aspiring farmers with its eight-month Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship program in Portland.

Through classes, hands-on training, field trips, online learning, stints at farmers markets and apprenticeships, students learn to produce vegetables, fruits, grains and cut flowers using 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.

Alumni of the program have contracted with OSU for small horticulture projects, landed a job at an organic farm, started a nonprofit farm at a high school, interned on farms and operated a small farm for restaurant sales.

OSU anticipated accepting about 30 students out of a pool of 58 in 2013, the program's third year. Forty-eight applied in 2012, and 20 were accepted.

Weston Miller, a horticulturist with the OSU Extension Service, is one of the lead instructors. Multnomah County is a partner in the program.

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


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