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Wild Willow School for Sustainable Farming

Farming 101:
Basics of Small-scale Sustainable Farming

12-week instructional and practical experience
on a working sustainable farm.

taught by Paul Maschka


Wed. evening Class + Sat. Lab/Practicum
Starts Wednesday, April 23

TRACK A Classes in Liberty Station (Point Loma)
Wednesdays, 6:30 to 9:30pm

TRACK A Lab/Practicum at Wild Willow Farm
Saturdays, 9am to 4pm

Course runs April 23 to July 12


Thurs. daytime Class/Lab + weekday Practicum

starts Thursday, April 24

TRACK B Classes/Lab at Wild Willow Farm
Thursdays, 9am to 4pm

TRACK B Practicum at Wild Willow Farm
Mon., Tues., or Wed., 9am to 1pm

Course runs April 24 to July 10

Go to Application

Click here to see upcoming sessions of this course.

About the program

Wild Willow Farm's 12-week 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 tuition if enrolled by April 10 plus registration fee.
$600 tuition if enrolled after April 10 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; subsequent payments are due 30 and 60 days into the program. 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 Director 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.

Renae Santa Cruz is a graduate of the WWF farmer training program and our head farmer. She leads the practicum lessons in the fields.

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

4-week Summer Intensive

July 14 to August 9
Classes, labs and practicum, four to five days a week at Wild Willow Farm.
Enrollment opens June 9, 2014
Tuition increases on June 30, 2014

Fall 12-week Courses

Enrollment opens August 4, 2014
Tuition increases on August 21, 2014

Track A (Wed. evening, Sat): September 3 to November 22
Classes in the city Wed. 6:30 to 9:30pm; lab/practicum Saturdays at Wild Willow Farm

Track B (Thursday class/lab at Wild Willow Farm): September 4 to November 20

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.