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Wild Willow School for Sustainable Farming

Testimonials from our students

How Farmschool changed my life. An account of how I found my passion of gardening on a small-scale farm in San Diego, and the lessons about life, community, resilience, and independence I learned there. It challenges our current economic, food, and societal systems that have left the majority of us dependent on those systems. But above all, this piece serves as a call arms to join the fight to gain our independence back by gardening, growing your own food, and by supporting your local food community.

-- by farmschool graduate Jay Reid



We teach regenerative farming.

Learn to grow better, healthier food where you live, and more of it, using cutting-edge practices that can be taught in the winter in coastal Southern California's unique climate. What we teach is applicable to all forms of agriculture, urban and rural, whether you're an entrepreneur, a home vegetable/fruit grower, or simply have agricultural curiosity. We want you to grow food where you live.

We begin with the Soil.

Our farming philosophy begins with the development of healthy, rich, living soil that offers multiple beneficial effects, including plant health, water retention, carbon sequestration, and natural resistances to pests and disease.

Goals of the Program

1. Educate students in the basic mechanics and philosophy of how to grow food ethically and ecologically using means suitable for urban and small-scale farming or gardening.

2. Cultivate new growers using hands-on learning experiences on a working farm; provide food literacy and understanding of what a healthy food system can look like and how to achieve it.

3. Empower everyone to grow food where they live -- for their own health, the health of their families, their communities and the world.

Why This Course? Why Now?

We teach sustainable farming because the current conventional agriculture food system exerts tremendous pressure on natural resources and habitats while compromising the economic, environmental and physical health of our communities. Cheap food is killing us and the planet. Industrial agriculture threatens the food security of everyone and the health of those who farm and eat foods grown with pesticides, fertilizers and other toxicants. We think small-scale agriculture is the solution -- growing food where we live -- and we teach you how to do that.


Next Session: Fall

September 29 to November 10

7 Field Labs, Saturdays 9am to 4pm at Wild Willow Farm
6 Classes, Wednesday 6pm to 8pm in central San Diego

Learn more.

Wild Willow Farm's Farming 101: Introduction to Small-scale Regenerative Farming course offers students an introduction to techniques and strategies for small farming or agricultural advocacy, or to simply grow more of their own food.


Upcoming Course Schedule

Fall 2018 (Sep 29 to Nov. 10)
Winter 2019 
(Jan 5 to Feb 16)
Spring 2019 (Mar 16 to Apr 27)
Summer 2019 (Jun 15 to Jul 27)
Fall 2019 (Sep 28 to Nov 9)

Applications being accepted for all listed sessions.


Our Vision

Wild Willow Farm's School for Sustainable Farming is fulfilling the vision and purpose of San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, an educational non-profit whose mission is to educate, cultivate and empower sustainable food communities in San Diego County. From the beginning, we have been advocates for building a healthy, locally based food system by promoting urban, small-scale farming, teaching locally appropriate and sustainable practices, and encouraging people to be engaged with their food system through education, volunteering, community events, workshops and more.

We welcome and encourage you, as farm Wild Willow farm students, to express yourselves and be creative. We are a collection of talents and we want this to be a safe space for yours. The vision for the farm is a collective one, formed out of the community that surrounds and nurtures us and to which you, as students, will be a part. We welcome you to participate in our vision during Farming 101 and beyond!

Our Teaching Model

Farming Fundamentals

Basic curriculum includes two core courses, classes in beekeeping and orchard care, field lessons and work-experience labs. Learning begins with two courses: our six week Introduction to Small-Scale Farming (Farming 101), and the six week Seasonal Crops (Farming 102). Students supplement the courses with weekday and weekend skills-workshops and work-experience field labs to reinforce lessons and further develop farming understanding, practices and skills.

Students are actively learning and practicing farming skills while participating as vital members of the community that is Wild Willow Farm.

Volunteer Internships incorporate key lessons into our routine farm work. Work side-by-side with our farm coaches on field projects to refine your farming skills.

Internships offer a continuing advancement of farming skills, or a deeper exploration of basic-level instructions. The focus of Internships offer one-on-one mentorship with our farm staff in the field. Continuing Education classes are taught by Wild Willow instructional staff and by guest lecturers to broaden and deepen students' knowledge and understanding.

Intended Outcome: student gains skills and confidence in their farming abilities sufficient to start growing food using regenerative farming methods at a small scale.


If you've got questions, please email Tanya at .