Agricultural Skills Course

CLASS DETAILS

Ag Skills provides a season of hands-on learning for beginning farmers. From building soil, best techniques for irrigation, how to increase soil productivity, deal with pests to harvest and packing, each class focuses on tangible skills necessary for farming success in the foothills. 

Peer-to-peer classes are taught on-farm, by farmers and each includes a farm tour.   Ag Skills courses are geared towards commercial farmers and are a great way to network within the farming community and hone your farming skillset. 

REGISTRATION

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Tuesday evenings, 4-6pm starting May 16!

May 16Season Extension – Alex Joslin of Natural Trading Co
Learn tips and tricks that have worked (and not worked) for our farm on extending your shoulder seasons and growing throughout the winter including learning about tunnels, Ag fabric, and smart decisions. Located in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada, 30 miles northeast of Sacramento, Natural Trading Co is a 40-acre organic mixed-vegetable farm, orchard, and micro-greens greenhouse. They sell produce at farmers’ markets in the Sacramento foothills and Tahoe/Truckee areas, in addition to deliveries to local supermarkets, co-ops, and distributors. Established in 1995, they are known for growing everything from apples to zucchini.

May 23Plant Propagation & Greenhouse Management – Aleta & Ken Barret, Starbright Acres Family Farm
Efficiency and profitability in nursery starts production for on-farm use and retail sales.  Build your plant propagation skill set in this interactive class and learn more about infrastructure, tools, supplies, and skills for seeding, potting up, plant health, and greenhouse management.

May 30Hiring & Managing a Farm Manager and other farm employees – Maia Lipkin, Mountain Bounty Farm, & Jeremy Mineau, Super Tuber Farm
Learn important strategies for hiring, onboarding, and managing both new employees and managers for your farm.  Maia, a long-time farmer at Mountain Bounty Farm, and Jeremy, owner of Super Tuber Farm will share their knowledge for creating a healthy work culture and fostering employee retention.

June 6Understanding & Improving Foothill Soils – Sarah Griffin-Boubacar, Sweetland Garden Mercantile
Understanding and improving foothill soils – Learn about foothill soils, how to determine your soil texture by feel; the importance of soil analysis and how to take soil samples;  how to improve soil fertility over time using amendments, and the amazing properties of soil organic matter. The class will take place at Food Love Farm.

June 13On-Farm Chicken Slaughter – Brad & Alana Fowler, The Goat Works
Learn how to process chickens in a clean, humane manner. Demonstration and hands-on learning from kill to chill.

June 20Farming From an Indigenous Perspective – Tony Cervantes & Sara Raskie, Calmil Teoyotica
Join Sara and Tony at Calmil Teoyotica (Sacred House Surrounded By Flowers). Immerse yourself in how we grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and medicine from an Indigenous perspective. Learn about Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (TEK) as it applies to tending the Earth so that the whole thrives. See how we tend herbs and flowers planted in the orchard for diversity, pest control, and beauty. We will harvest and process nopales (prickly pear pads) introduce specialty added value crops and share time delving deeply into the question of “why do we farm” looking at economics, food sovereignty, ancient local food cultures, and more.

June 27Berry & Small Orchard Management – Leo Chapman, Harmony Valley Farm
Come look at the small, diversified orchard, and berry patch Leo planted in Nevada City in 2017 including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, peaches, pears, apples, and plums.  Learn how to choose varieties for the foothills, irrigation methods, soil biology, pruning, trellising, thinning, bird protection, and much more.  Max of 20 students. 

July 18How to Start & Run a Farm Stand – Joshua Rickett, Sun and Cellar
From permitting to marketing to building a sustainable and profitable farm stand, we will take an in-depth look at opening a farm stand and what it will take to make it successful.  Josh has had a farm stand in Marin County for 13 years. His family has operated the farm stand for 41 years. The class will take place in Nevada County.

July 25Top 10 Farm Tools – Antonio Garza, Feeding Crane Farm
Learn how to utilize the top 10 farming tools from veteran farmer Antonio Garza, owner of Feeding Crane Farm. You will learn the tools by scale: Handscale – stirrup hoe, broad fork, digging fork, hand tools; Medium Scale – BCS & attachments, planters – seeders, motorized planter, Paperpot Co. Transplanter; Large Scale – tractors and key attachments.

August 1Value-Added Products – Joshua Rickett, Sun and Cellar
An examination of the benefits and possibilities of value-added products and how they can build a more resilient and stronger business. Josh prepares value-added products for over 15 different farms for over 10 years including salsa, pickles, ferments, jam, and hot sauce. He also sells his own line of canned goods under the name Sun & Cellar.

August 8Small Farm Engine Maintenance – 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 a 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 co-owns Dinner Bell Farm and is constantly rebuilding machines from walk-behind tractors to weed whips, chainsaws, and tractors. He apprenticed with the infamous Lowell Webb of Webbs Farm Supply.

August 22Orchards – Chris Bierwagen – Bierwagen Donner Trail Fruit & Pumpkin Patch Farm
Come learn all about orchard management from expert Chris Bierwagen who ran a commercial peach and apple orchard for decades. The class will include planting, pruning, pest management, and meeting nutrient needs.

August 29 Growing Farm Scale Microgreens – Kevin Keller, Father Daughter Farm
Kevin Keller, co-owner of Father Daughter Farm will be showing you how to farm microgreens, from seed to store delivery. Learn about how their idea became a product on the shelf encompassing a lot more than farming. Father Daughter Farm is a small family farm creating nutrient-rich and tasty microgreens.


“It was so inspirational to see the local farms in action. As a result of all I’ve learned in this series
I’m going to be planting flowers for beneficial insects and for cutting, testing my soil,
and trying out no-till next season!” 2021 Ag Skills student.

Farm & Ranch Jobs in Nevada County           

Looking for a job in agriculture? Send an email to amanda@sierraharvest.org to get announcements about farm and ranch jobs in Nevada County.  

Looking to hire a farmworker for your farm or ranch?  Send an email to amanda@sierraharvest.org with more information and have your farm job included in our farmer E-news.