Farmer Short Courses

Many current and aspiring growers in our network do not have formal agricultural training. For growers whose training took the form of mostly hands-on apprenticeships, there are knowledge gaps which need to be addressed. These skills require more attention than the traditional 60-90 minute time block allotted for example in an ag conference context. YFN has created the Farmer Short Course model to try to address this need.

Course topics are chosen based on the input we receive all season from the network, so please, let us know if there is something you'd like to learn!

Short Courses typically run during the winter months, when most growers have more flexible time. Courses run for a series of weeks and are taught in collaboration with organizations such as URI extension, The Carrot Project, NOFA/RI, NOFA/MA, Ground Work, and others. Some Short Courses are run as full day or two-day hands on workshops.

Farmer Short Course Topics

Upcoming this winter

Seed Sovereignty Field Day

In collaboration with NOFA-Mass
January 27, 2018
10am- 4pm
at Round the Bend Farm, 92 Allen Neck Rd, Dartmouth MA

Those who control the seed system, control the food system. And yet, over the past 50 years, as we’ve lost the majority of our plant breeds and seed companies, we’ve also divorced plants from their place. Cultivars are no longer bred to thrive in a certain bioregion or soil type. Rarely are they developed for drought or flood tolerance. Nor are most seeds bred under organic systems, which means that most organic growers are planting seeds that thrive on soluble synthetic fertility. Most breeds are also far less nutrient-dense now as breeders have focused on yield and appearance while forgetting about nutrition.
There is now a growing movement to reclaim seeds and breeds, to re-localize them to particular bioregions, and to return to growers the power to participate in the process. Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB), as this movement is called, suggests that through partnerships between professional breeders and growers, we can develop better genetics and provide growers with new streams of income. This field day brings together growers, veteran breeders, and seed experts to discuss how we can reclaim our seed systems while also diversifying our enterprises.

Here’s a rundown of the day’s events:
Session 1: The state of organic seed and keeping seed in the public commons
Session 2: Incorporating seed work on your farm or garden
Potluck Lunch (use your odd varieties, forgotten breeds, and mutant vegetables!) + Bicycle-Powered Seed Processing Demo
Session 3: Participatory Plant Breeding- what it means, how to get involved, and where do we go from here?
Session 4: Plenary Q & A

Young Farmer Network is offering financial assistance for farmers who are interested in attending - PLEASE don't be shy, reach out to w the Subject Line "Seed Day".
Registration link is here:



Past, Winter 2016-2017

  • Soil Science and Fertility Management
  • Including Cut Flowers in Your Farm Business
  • Moving Onto Your New Land
    • Assessing and Preparing Land for Farming
    • Composting to Build Fertility on Your Scale
    • Infrastructure Development

Past, Winter 2015-2016

  • Full Day Farm Finance Course
  • Vegetable Pest Identification and Management
  • Small Engine Mechanics with Carl Sawyer of URI
  • Tractor Basics with Chuck Currie of Freedom Food Farm
  • Irrigation and Water Systems


Past, Winter 2014

  • Small engine maintenance and repair
  • Business planning
  • Soil science