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Wild Willow Farm Interview from Palomar TV on Vimeo.

Giving small makes a big difference to our farm.

Just $10 changes the way a whole project is manifested by our volunteers, students, and farmers.

So, how does $10 help our farm grow food, farmers, and community?

Click here to find out.

Wild Willow Farm & Education Center


Wild Willow Farm & Education Center is a six-acre working farm located in the southwest corner of the United States, less than three miles from the Pacific Ocean and two-thirds mile north of the Mexican Border. The farm is nestled along the banks of the scenic Tijuana River, and borders the river's stunningly beautiful estuary nature preserve. We're a 15-minute drive from downtown San Diego, with easy and quick access from most of urban south San Diego County.

School for Sustainable Farming


School Field Trips

Group Tours, Services & Bookings

News and Events

Upcoming Workshops


Having opened our fields on the Summer Solstice of 2010, Wild Willow Farm is now in its fourth year of developing a farm and growing food while educating local citizenry about sustainable farming, permaculture and how to live sustainably in our region. The farm continues to evolve rapidly both on and off the ground.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter and stay informed about future classes, events and potlucks.

Farm School

Farming 101
Introduction to Small-scale
Regenerative Farming

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

Winter 2019 Jan. 5 to Feb. 16

Tuition: $700 (includes $100 Enrollment Fee)

Tuition includes textbook. Enrollment Fee is non-refundable. You are not enrolled until the Enrollment Fee is paid. Must apply and pay deposit by Sept. 15 for Early Enrollment Discount.

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.

Learn more.

This seven-week (seven Saturdays, six Wednesday nights) course is offered several times each year. With a horticultural and practical focus, students learn about soil fertility; tool use; till and no-till strategies; composting; sowing and transplanting; principles of irrigation; and pests, pathogens and beneficials. The last class is a discussion about building farm resiliency and a farm's relationship to many systems we must interact with: governmental, social, commercial, educational and regulatory. Classes are held in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego (near 30th and Juniper) on Wednesday evenings, with field classes and labs at Wild Willow Farm on Saturdays.

Upcoming Course Schedule

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.



Join the Wild Willow Farmshare CSA

We invite you to join us as we plant seeds for a healthy and delicious shared future.

Now enrolling for Full and Half Shares

Pickups in Imperial Beach, Golden Hill, University Heights.

Click here for more info or to join.

We invite you to become a Wild Willow Farm Shareholder -- our version of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Each weekly or bi-weekly Share includes a seasonal selection of farm-fresh vegetables with occasional fruits, cut flowers, and herbs -- the equivalent of about one grocery bag full of just-harvested produce. Contents of your Share will vary based on seasons and production cycles, but we aim for consistent volume.

$25/week for a 13-week subscription

Full Share = one box every week (13 boxes/quarter)

Half Share = one box every other week (7 boxes/quarter)

Pickups are Wednesday afternoons/evenings.

Both Full and Half Shares are the same size and have the same contents. You may join any time shares are available. Half Share deliveries will begin subject to balanced weekly production.

Click here for more info or to join.

Volunteer at Wild Willow Farm

Open Community Volunteering

Saturday Mornings
at Wild Willow Farm

No experience necessary.


Saturday Volunteer Hours

9:30-10am: Volunteer Arrival and Check-in
10am: New Volunteer Orientation
10:15am-12:30pm: Volunteering for New and Returning Volunteers
12:30pm: Community Potluck

No reservations required except as noted below. Please arrive before 10am for orientation.

Bring: picnic lunch or homemade potluck dish to share (no packaged food, please!), sunscreen, refillable water bottle (we have drinking water).

Open Volunteering is for individuals, families or friends in groups of five or fewer that need no additional facilitation and can be split up into tasks. Any group larger than five that wants to work together and requires special facilitation would be a Group Activity.

Information about Community Service Volunteering
Information about Volunteering with Children

Come to the farm and participate in your food system as we grow Wild Willow Farm. Often the best way to learn is by doing, and you'll get a taste of the myriad things a farmer does while preparing and growing San Diego seasonal plantings of vegetables, greens, medicinal and culinary herbs and cover crops.

On-farm chores vary widely week to week and depend entirely on what's happening at the farm that day. Usual activities include composting (hands-on learning every week), watering, bed prep, weeding, mulching, animal care, planting and tending a huge range of plants and more.

No reservations are required. We've got gloves, tools and tasks; please come prepared for sunshine, cold, heat and working in the dirt. We have bugs too, so please bring any medications you may need. This is especially important for small children.

Appropriate attire: closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants and sleeves, sun hat.

Bring: picnic lunch or homemade potluck dish to share (no packaged food, please!), sunscreen, refillable water bottle (we have drinking water).


The Rules

We welcome eveyone, but please leave your pets at home.
Single-use water bottles are banned from the farm.
Please Bring Reusables/Refillables: bags and water bottles (refill at the farm).
Zero Waste: Please plan to pack out what you bring in.
Be kind, be conscious, be here. Breathe.

We thank you for your support.


We are open for school community service hours. If you are under 18, please arrive with a parent or guardian to check you in and give you permission to participate (parents/guardians do not need to stay). Please let us know at check-in if you need us to sign-off on your required paperwork. No Slackers please! We expect community service volunteers to be fully engaged and to participate as if their work matters (because it does). If we do not feel the volunteer has participated effectively, we may ask the volunteer to leave without signing their community service paperwork.

Court-Ordered Community Service Hours for Youth (17 and under): Youth may volunteer on the farm to fulfill court-ordered community service hours on a case-by-case basis only. Prior to coming to the farm, interested youth and parents must contact the volunteer coordinator by e-mail to make arrangements. This communication will help us make sure that the young person and our staff are prepared for the service hours. We will not verify any court-ordered service without prior arrangement.

Court-Ordered Community Service Hours for Adults: At this time, we do not allow court-ordered community service hours for adults.


You may bring kids of any age you feel suitable to be around a farm, including contact with dirt, bugs, biting ants, thistles and burrs, farm animals, tools, and nature. Rest assured we do not use any harmful chemicals on the soil or food we grow. Children must remain under your direct supervision or awareness at all times; we'll do our best to find appropriate activities for your family. Please no unacompanied children unless by prior arrangement, such as for school service hours. Wild Willow Farm does not offer childcare services and the farm is not a playground.

Volunteering with children under 10 years old: Volunteering activities are limited for younger children on the farm. We offer participation in a variety of activities, but it is important to note that children under the age of 10 are not permitted to volunteer in our vegetable fields. When available, volunteer activities for young children include feeding our goats and chickens, assisting with compost activities, weeding, and seed-saving. 

Although volunteer activities are limited, your time on the farm is not. Young children and parents are welcome to visit the farm during public volunteer hours to walk, observe things happening on the farm, meet our animals, or even enjoy a picnic lunch in our barn. 


Community Farm Day

Click below for tickets

Community Farm Day!

Celebrating and Supporting Wild Willow Farm

Saturday, July 14, 9am to 6pm

at Wild Willow Farm & Education Center

click here for a map (we recommend you use our map)

Suggested Donation: $10

Come join us for a day of fun on the farm! Learn about who we are and why we do what we do, enjoy Mel's famous brick oven pizzas, and learn more about regenerative sustainable farming in our classes and discussions.

Free Programming Includes

9am: History and Purpose of Wild Willow Farm with Mel Lions
10:30am: Spirit of Organics with farm instructor Paul Maschka
1:30pm: Farm Tour. It looks like we're growing food, but what we're really doing is changing the world. See what we do, and learn why and how we do it. Led by Wild Willow founder Mel Lions. Know your farmer, know your farm, know your food.

Lunch and Music

($10 suggested donation)
11am to 1pm: Live Music by Coral Bells


1:30 to 2:30pm: Bed Building ($5 to $10)
Farm manager, Cathryn Henning, will walk you through the steps of building healthy soil and properly preparing your beds for seed and plants for a successful growing season.

2:30 to 3:30pm: All About C.O.F. (Complete Organic Fertilizer) ($10)
Learn how to utilize local resources to feed the soil microbiomes and build healthy crops by adding this organic nutrition to your soil. Class fee includes a 1lb. bag of C.O.F. to take home.

Farm Rules

We welcome everyone, but please leave your pets at home.
Single-use water bottles are banned; we have drinking water for your refillable bottle.
Please Bring Reusables/Refillables (as necessary): plates, bowls, utensils, bags and water bottles.
Zero Waste Event: Please plan to pack out what you bring in.
Be kind, be conscious, be here. Breathe.

We thank you for your support.

If you or your company would like to join this list and support our efforts to educate everyone about the food system and train the next generation of farmers for San Diego County, please click here.