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Wild Willow School for Sustainable Farming

LEARN FARMING at our next Farming 101 session:
Basics of Small-scale Sustainable Farming

Fall 12-week Session

Classes begin Wednesday, September 3

Last day of classes is Thursday, November 20

Applications now being accepted.
Enrollment now open.

CLASSES Wednesday evenings in San Diego


Select the Lab and Practicum to fit your schedule

FIELD LABS at Wild Willow Farm
Thursday only (Saturday is full)

FARM PRACTICA at Wild Willow Farm
choice of Mon., Tue., Wed., Fri. or Sat.

Go to Application

Click here to see the course requirements, syllabus, and recommended readings.

About the program

Wild Willow Farm's Basics of Small-scale Sustainable Farming course offers students an introduction to techniques and strategies for small farming or agricultural advocacy, or to simply learn how to grow more of their own food in an agricultural setting.

The course consists of weekly lectures and lab fieldwork where students learn what it takes to work a small organic farm. Students take part in classroom lectures and projects, and work alongside farm staff to practice material covered in class. Additional experience is gained on the farm during practicum hours, where students take an active part in life on a working farm.

Topics Covered

Other topics students will be exposed to include:

Class Size: Enrollment is limited; please apply early to ensure your participation.


$500 plus $90 registration fee if enrolled by August 21. Tuition increases to $600 on August 22 (plus registration fee)

Registration Fee of $90 secures your enrollment, provides you with required tools and textbooks, and is non-refundable.

Tuition may be paid in installments, with $175 due on first day of class, and installments due at thirds of the term. Payments may be made in cash, check, or via PayPal. Enrollment is secured after online application and upon payment of registration fee, which provides you the required textbooks, tools and materials.

School Credit Option A limited number of students may have tuition fees waived by being registered student at a local community college or university and be signed up for your school's service learning or internship program for credit (application and verification of status with school required). College credit tuition-waiver must be project based and be arranged prior to the start of class. Registration fee is still required.

Scholarships and work exchange credit: Limited scholarships and work-exchange opportunities may be available to help defray tuition costs, and require a separate application once you've been accepted into the program. Registration fee is still required.

Curriculum: we have an established curriculum that includes required reading and discussion during class time, field labs and farm practicum training.

Certificate of Accomplishment: Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Certificate of Accomplishment. To fulfill the requirements of the program you must attend all classes and field labs, 9am to 4pm.

We are a non-residency program. We do not have living quarters at the farm. Students must provide for their own housing and transportation.

Location: 2550 Sunset Avenue, San Diego 92154, 20-minutes from downtown San Diego near Imperial Beach.

Instructional Staff

Cat Henning is Wild Willow Farm's Education Coordinator and manages the farm school program. She is a graduate from our school, attending classes in 2012. Her background is in environmental engineering.

Paul Maschka (lead instructor) grew up in farming country near Escondido and is one of our area's most experienced and skillful instructors in sustainable agriculture. He was instrumental in creating and developing the Seeds@City Urban Farm, a unique agricultural gem on the campus of San Diego City College in the heart of downtown San Diego, where he served as adjunct professor in sustainable urban agriculture from 2007 to 2012. Prior to that he was employed as a landscaper at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park and was responsible for implementation of composting and natural plant and pest management practices for those parks' world-class botanical collections. Paul's rich experience in sustainable farming and homesteading affords our students a well-rounded opportunity to learn all aspects of food production.

Dorothea Sotiros instructs students during field labs and practica. She also serves as sales manager for Wild Willow Farm's FarmShare program.

Diego Duran is Wild Willow Farm's Volunteer Coordinator and helps instruct students during field practica. His agricultural life started as one of the farm's first apprentices, so he has seen and helped grow the farm from the early days. He has great passion for medicinal and culinary herbs.

Additional staff Students will also be given opportunities to work with our organizational management staff and learn how our small non-profit does our educational work in the community.

Additional Benefits

Samples of veggies or other products from the farm.
Free or discounted attendance at WWF workshops (students will assist workshop coordinator).
Access to the WWF library.
Discounts on books, eggs, and tea.
Upon successful completion of program, students will receive a Certification of Accomplishment.

To go to the application, click here.

Questions: please contact Cat Henning at

Upcoming Sessions of Farming 101

Winter Intensive Course

January 12 through February 13 (five weeks, four days/week).

With week of January 19-25 off for personal traveling or class trip to the 2015 EcoFarm Conference (separate registration required)

Applications now being accepted.

Spring 12-week Course

Wednesdays/Saturdays, March 18 through June 6.

Wild Willow Farm & Education Center is a program of the non-profit San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project, whose mission is to educate, cultivate and empower sustainable food systems in San Diego County. Since the farm began in 2010, WWF's goal has been to teach about where food comes from and how to grow it, both in urban and rural agricultural settings, using sustainable practices best suited for San Diego's unique climate and year-round growing seasons. These conditions afford our students learning opportunities that exist nowhere else in the United States.