Even the folks who run Farmer Starter, would say you can’t learn everything there is to know about farming in 18 weeks.
But in their four-month program, during which students work and learn on an established organic farm east of Austin, you can get a pretty good start.
That’s the idea behind Farmer Starter, the farmer education program from the local nonprofit Farmshare Austin, which has three parts to its mission: grow a healthy local food community through food access, teach new farmers through Farmers Starter and preserve farmland.
The program takes place from August 21 to December 21, and the deadline to apply is July 15. Students have the option of living on the organic farm on the banks of the Colorado River. Tuition starts at $2,500, but there are scholarships available.
Farmer Starter participants learn both in the field and in a classroom on the farm from experienced farmers who know how to get established in the business and maintain organic practices. In addition to studies on the farm, each week, students visit or volunteer with local farms or food artisans, and to learn marketing skills, students also help run Farmshare Austin’s Mobile Markets, which provide fresh, affordable produce to people living in areas that lack access to healthy food.