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Wild Willow School for Sustainable Farming

Mothering the Mother

Mothering the Mother

Sunday, May 20, 11am to 3pm

Come support yourself, your caregivers, each other and the land through a day of self-care at Wild Willow Farm. We'll enjoy a rustic herbal spa, hair cuts, reiki, yoga, meditations, and more! Detailed schedule provided 2-weeks before the event.

$10 to $50

Click below for the schedule and tickets

Admission charge of $10 includes entrance to the farm, make your own smudge stick, and access to our amazing healing stations throughout the grounds. All healing stations accept token payments and charge per healing session. You may pre-pay for your tokens online to pick-up at the farm or purchase day-of. Avoid ticket fees by purchasing day-of with cash or check. All general admission pre-purchases do not charge fees. Please pre-register so we can best prepare the farm.

Wild Weed Identification Series

Weed Class #1: Intro to Botany & Foraging

Saturday June 23 1pm to 4pm

Class Description

This first of four 3-hour classes introduces students to the basics of botany and provides key resources for learning to identify wild plants. In this class, we will begin identifying plants and get to know the many wild weeds of Wild Willow Farm. We will construct personalized nature journals and press plants for future reference. This class is a thorough preparation for more hands-on culinary activities with wild plants in following class sessions.

Discounts for full series and for WWF alumni

click button below for more information and to enroll.


Tour of Wild Willow's weeds and learn foraging ethics
Safety & identifying suitable foraging habitats
Ecology of native and invasive plants
Basic anatomy & physiology
Make field notebooks & plant presses
How to identify at least 3 different plant families using key features

About the Course

This is a 4-class series introduction to the wild plants that are found in San Diego County. The focus will be centered around ethnobotany of plants, identification, harvesting, consumption of, and learning key characteristics and traits. It is not mandatory to take all 4 classes, but it is highly recommended to take at least the first class.

Weed Class #2 "Plant Taxonomy, Properties, and Cooking"

Saturday July 14 1pm to 4pm

Class #3 "Wild Herbal Medicines"

Saturday July 28 1pm to 4pm

Class #4 "Poisonous Plants"

Sunday August 12 1pm to 4pm

Goats and Herbs Class

Goat Cheese and Herbs Class

Sunday, June 24, 12:30pm to 3pm

Join us as Cathryn Henning and Damiana Calvario incorporate herbs into one of our favorite foods, cheese, as you learn the simplicity of bringing herbal medicine into our everyday eating! We'll enjoy an immersive experience at the farm by making chevre, harvesting herbs, and thanking the goats. There will be an opportunity after the class to purchase herbs and veggies with our instructors.

Cat will introduce you to the Wild Willow Farm goats will take you step by step on how to make a beginner farmer soft cheese. Discover the various ways of flavoring your cheese from using fresh herbs, honey, figs, lavender, and more.

Click below for more information and tickets


Farming 101

Farming 101
Introduction to Small-scale
Regenerative Farming

Seven-week Course, two days/week
Field Labs, Saturdays 9am to 4pm at Wild Willow Farm
6 Lectures, Wednesdays 6pm to 8pm in central San Diego

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.

Summer Session

July 14 through August 25

Six-Topic Package or Topics a la carte

Complete Six-Topic Package
($700 + early enrollment discount).

Click for More Information

NEW! Summer Classes a la carte*

Weekly two-part Lectures/Labs a la carte ($125/week).

Every week focuses on a different foundational food-growing topic. You can select the specific week you wish to attend according to the topic in which you want to expand your knowledge. Any experience level is welcome. Our education is based on sustainable regenerative farming using natural cultivation methods with minimal waste/water consumption and advocate against the use of environmentally harmful chemicals.

Each topic includes a two-hour lecture on Wednesday evenings in the evening in South Park followed by a hands-on lab work on the farm from 9AM-4PM. Attendance at the Wednesday class is required for participation in the Saturday Lab.

July 14 @ 9am Orientation/Course Introduction

(FREE, and highly advised)

Topic #1 "It Starts with the Soil"

Wed. July 18, 6pm to 8pm Class + Sat. July 21, 9am to 4pm Lab
Making & using compost, mulching, sheet composting, cover cropping

Topic #2 "Growing Fertile Soil"

Wed. July 25, 6pm to 8pm Class + Sat. July 28 9am to 4pm Lab
Proper use and care of farm tools; evaluating soil texture and moisture; bed preparation; mechanical and manual tillage; compost tea and extract.

Topic #3 "Propagation & Planting Techniques"

Wed. Aug. 1, 6pm to 8pm Class + Sat. Aug 4, 9am to 4pm Lab
Direct sowing and transplanting; starting seeds; planting practice.

Topic #4 "Irrigation"

Wed. Aug. 8, 6pm to 8pm Class + Sat. Aug 11, 9am to 4pm Lab
How water moves through the soil and efficient irrigation practices

Topic #5 "Integrated Pest Management (IPM)"

Wed. Aug. 15, 6pm to 8pm Class + Sat. Aug 18, 9am to 4pm Lab
Identifying pests, pathogens, and beneficial plants and insects

Topic #6 "Building Resiliency into Your Farm"

Wed. Aug. 22, 6pm to 8pm Class + Sat. Aug 25, 9am to 4pm Lab
Exploring permaculture practices and observing the farm with a holistic eye, plus a visit to our beehives. End of course pizza party!


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: Summer

July 14 to August 25

7 Field Labs, Saturdays 9am to 4pm at Wild Willow Farm
6 Classes, Wednesday 7pm to 9pm 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.

2018 Course Schedule

Summer Classes a la carte! Jul 14 to Aug 25
Fall Sep 29 to Nov. 10

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 Tiered Program


Tier 1: Farming Fundamentals

"I do"

Participants start out on Tier 1. Curriculum includes two courses, field lessons and work-experience labs. Tier One begins with two courses: our six week Introduction to Small-Scale Farming (Farming 101), and the six week Growing 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.

Tier 1 students are actively learning and practicing farming skills while participating as vital members of the community that is Wild Willow Farm.

The Tier 1 Work-Experience Field Labs incorporate key lessons into our routine farm work. Work side-by-side with our farm coaches on field projects to refine your skills in our Fundamental Farm Skills Check-List.

For more details about Tier 1, click here.

Tier 2: Continuing Education

"We Do"

Tier 2 is a continuing and advancement of farming skills, or a deeper exploration of basic-level instructions offered at the Tier 1 level. The focus of Tier 2 is 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. Some coursework may take place at other sites, farms and orchards around San Diego County.

Intended Outcome: student gains confidence in farming skills and abilities.

Prerequisites for Tier 2

Students with completion of Farming 101, Farming 102 and at least 40 hrs of field lab at the Tier 1 level are eligible to apply for Tier 2. On a case by case basis, prospective students may substitute farm experience and/or equivalent farm education for Farming 101 and Farming 102. All students must pass the bed building test before admittance into the Tier 2 program.

Field Work Applying knowledge and farm skills in a dedicated student field to accomplish seed-to-harvest farm tasks under their farming coaches, who work with students to establish goals and evaluate progress.

Farm Rotations Offered to help students develop farm-skills and provide opportunities for deeper study in these focus areas:
• Composting • Irrigation • Pest Control
• Propagation • Marketing • Animals • Maintenance

Community Participate in monthly potlucks and other community events. Utilize and lead Tier 1 and/or volunteers in farm projects. Lead groups and visitors in farm field trips.

Continuing Education Classes We offer continuing education classes on a wide-range of important subjects that are meant to further deepen the knowledge and skills necessary for farmers and growers to know. Click here for a menu of these classes. Classes are offered at a reduced price for Tier 2 students.

Tier 3 The Business of Farming
& Farm Incubation

"You do"

The difference between farming and gardening is that farming is a business.

This Tier provides opportunities for beginning farmers to learn business skills and incubate their own small-farm goals in a supportive environment that provides the practical tools needed to make small-farming dreams a reality.

Business Classes Tier 3 offers classes and courses in business management, farm planning, production planning, bookkeeping, regulatory compliance and more. Many Tier 3 classes are open to all students at any level and o tthe general public.

Upon completion of prerequisites, students may apply for Farm Incubation and be given the opportunity to incubate their own ideas before setting out on their own.

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