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Wild Willow School for Sustainable Farming

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

Winter 6-week Intensive

Farming Classes for the Seasonally Impaired

January 12 through February 20, 2015

including optional trip to the EcoFarm Conference
(separate registration required)

Applications now being accepted.
Enrollment opens November 3.

CLASSES and FIELD LABS at Wild Willow Farm

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9am-4pm

FARM PRACTICA at Wild Willow Farm

Choice of Tuesday or Friday, 9am-3pm

Go to Application

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

About the program

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

San Diego's moderate climate and year-round growing season affords us opportunities to teach basic small-scale sustainable farming skills to those who live in colder climates. Wild Willow Farm is less than three miles from the Pacific Ocean and 2/3-mile north of the Mexican border. These conditions give us the ability to operate our farm school year-round.

The course consists of lectures, field labs and farm practicum work 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.

The Winter Intensive will involve four days per week of learning at the farm, with a break in the middle so farm staff and students can attend the 2015 EcoFarm Conference near Monterey. Students are encouraged to attend and to carpool with us, but they must register for the conference on their own. Students who do not wish to attend can use this time to explore the many wonders of the San Diego area, home to more small farms than any county in the US. We are working on setting up housing options for out-of-town students (additional fees will apply).

Topics Covered

Other topics students will be exposed to include:

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


$650 plus $90 registration fee.

Early Bird Rate: enroll by December 19 for $100 tuition discount ($550 plus $90 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.


Classes begin Mon., Jan 12. Last day of class is Fri., Feb. 20.
Classes and labs at Wild Willow Farm M, W, and Th, 9am-4pm
Practica at Wild Willow Farm Tu or F (your choice), 9am-3pm

Eco-Farm Conference Break: Farm School will break from Wednesday, Jan. 21 to Saturday, Jan. 24 so staff can attend the Eco-Farm Conference (students are encouraged to attend too; separate registration required). On-farm activities will be programmed for students who remain in San Diego.

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.

Available Housing: We do not have living quarters at the farm, but limited no-cost cabin housing is available steps from the beach at nearby YMCA Camp Surf in exchange for 8-hours/week working in the camp's vegetable garden. Housing must be booked through us.

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

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.