Grange Farm School in California

Gain hands-on practical farming experience coupled with rigorous curriculum and innovation opportunities at the Grange Farm School!

The Grange Farm School is located on 12 acres of the 5,000 acre Ridgewood Ranch near Wilitis, Callifornia, former home of Seabiscuit and current home to several other non profits dedicated to supporting our community. A historic schoolhouse has been renovated to serve as the headquarters, and student facilities are sprouting up around the knoll surrounding the schoolhouse. 7 acres of bottom valley land are being fenced in preparation for a full scale crop and livestock rotation, and a 2 acre orchard is the home to over 75 apple, pear, peach, and cherry trees. Irrigated and non irrigated pastures support a herd of holistically managed cattle, and the school is surrounded by redwood groves, a lake, vernal ponds, and beautiful rolling hills. Farm School

Program Starts: March 1, May 1, and September 1

Program Duration: Three months, with option to attend multiple terms as Capstone Student

Number of Students: 10 Maximum

App Deadline: January 1, April 1, July 1

Meals: Meals are shared among students and staff- staples are provided as well as the farm fresh produce, meat, eggs, and dairy.

Skills Desired: Students must be over the age of 18, no experience is necessary.  This program is designed to teach the "whole farmer" in the basics of a successful farm operation. Students who choose to enroll for a second term pursue a 'capstone' project to deepen their education in keeping with their specific interests.

Educational Opportunities: The Grange Farm School will host Practicum Students March through November of 2015 on the historic Ridgewood Ranch in Mendocino County, California. Established in 2013, this newly emerging hub of agricultural education offers students of these first few years the experience of building a farm from the ground up. Students and Faculty will collaboratively design and implement plans for a sustainable farm, working with crops and livestock while building new farm infrastructure. This full immersion program gives residential students a thorough understanding of the complexity that goes into generating a new model for farming efficiently and sustainably. Our curriculum covers organic agricultural production methods of integrated crop and livestock systems, industrial arts such as welding, carpentry, and small engine repair, and business skills essential to any successful farm. Teaching the basic foundations of a sustainable small farm business is our primary goal, but we also provide a platform for experimentation and progressive design. Curriculum topics are diverse but crucial to farming success, and are meant to provide students with the vocabulary to think critically and ask good questions.  Sustainable energy production, ecological restoration, marketing models and more are part of the core curriculum alongside the fundamentals of agriculture.

Students with a specific interest are offered the opportunity to design, build, research, and test their ideas. A successful farmer must demonstrate the ability to think creatively and work efficiently, and here at the Grange Farm School we foster an atmosphere for just this kind of work.

Students are encouraged to apply for multiple terms, as each term will focus on the seasonal requirements of the farm. After one 3- month term of foundational learning, students will develop their individual Capstone Project. These projects allow students to focus on an area of individual interest and guide their own learning. We provide a space for a wide range of independent projects, and we are excited to hear proposals from students who are curious self-starters.

Examples of projects include:

Plan and construct vermicompost system

Build a solar powered dehydrator

Design and plant a cut-flower garden

Test several natural fertilizers and compare results

Generate a full-farm enterprise analysis

Film a short documentary for social media

Cost: Students receive food, housing, and earn college internship credits, and are expected to be engaged in classroom activities as well as farm chores. Tuition is $2,000 per 3-month term, and many scholarships are available. Room and Board fees are $1,000 per 3-month term and include meals, private wall tent spaces, and kitchen/bathhouse facilities.

Housing: Students are provided with a canvas wall tent and wood stove on top of a platform, resting on the beautiful knoll behind the farm schoolhouse. An outdoor kitchen and showerhouse are shared between 5-10 students, as well as a composting toilet. An office and library inside the schoolhouse are accessible by all students before 10 pm, wifi is available as well.

Requirements: Concurrent enrollment in Work Experience Education program with Mendocino College or a similar program is required, and the Grange Farm School will cover registration costs at Mendocino College.

Learn more about the Farm School at: www.grangefarmschool.org

How to apply

Online at www.grangefarmschool.org/Training-Program

Applications are due by January 1st for the first term, April 1st for the second term, and July 1st for the third term. Find the complete program description and application at: http://www.grangefarmschool.org/Training-program

Return the application to manager@grangefarmschool.org

2 Comments on Grange Farm School in California

  1. Application deadline extended to January 15!

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