Friday, March 25, 2011

learn about organic farming


Nation's first organic farming apprenticeship program launches

March 24, 2011 9:01pm

•  Students to learn progressive, responsible farming practices
•  ‘Our most important crops are new organic farmers’

What’s being billed as the nation's first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program for organic farming is being launched through a partnership of California's Division of Apprenticeship Standards, the College of Marin and Fresh Run Farm.
Participating students will learn progressive, responsible farming practices including landscape ecology, composting and fertility management. In addition, students will learn the business side of farming with coursework in marketing and certifications.
The Organic Farming and Gardening Apprenticeship Program is the latest of 611 active apprenticeship programs recognized in California by DAS, a division of the Department of Industrial Relations.
"We realize there are particular challenges organic farmers face, and the organic apprenticeship program will benefit this niche industry and support the continued growth of organic farming by providing valuable training to future farmers about sustainable, local food systems," says Department of Industrial Relations Director John Duncan.
The apprenticeship program includes 1,800 hours of hands-on paid training at Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas and 11 courses of related instruction provided by College of Marin. Students will be able to complete the program in two years or less.
The organic farming industry is the fastest growing sector in agriculture. Marin County alone boasts of 23 registered organic producers that farm 810 acres of land. Nearly all row crops grown in Marin today are certified organic.
"Many of us make the claim that our most important crops are new organic farmers and this program is a really great way to stand behind that claim," says Fresh Run Farm owner Peter Martinelli. "There are so many younger people today looking for these opportunities and it is important that we provide them with a clear, legitimate path to entering the industry."
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