News

College of the Rockies' Kootenay Farm School Offers Creative Education for Grassroots Agriculture

College of the Rockies' Kootenay Farm School Offers Creative Education for Grassroots Agriculture

submitted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013


The local food movement is flourishing and the demand for sustainably-raised food continues to grow. But lack of knowledge and training in how to successfully operate a farm is keeping many would-be-farmers from pursuing small farm dreams.



Creston Valley



Photo: Opportunities for small–scale farming abound in the Creston Valley. Photo credit Cheryl Jaggers



College of the Rockies is taking a bold stand to help make sustainable farming more accessible.  The Creston Valley campus' new Kootenay Farm School is being designed to bring people together to discover, teach, and support agriculture on a human scale.



COTR’s Kootenay Farm School will focus on practical, community-based learning, from evening talks and weekend workshops to a ten-month beginner farmer training program.



“We know that we need a farming crash course in the Kootenays,” says Farm School Coordinator Nigel Francis.  “This will be one of only a handful of similar programs in Canada.  Our goal is to offer an innovative, intensive, comprehensive education for new agricultural entrepreneurs.”



The part-time farmer training program will allow students to experience a full Kootenay growing season and equip themselves with the know-how to start farming.  Instructors and mentor farmers will help students gain footing in plant science, soil stewardship, crop production, animal husbandry, small farm technology, farm planning, and business and marketing fundamentals.



“We will be teaching farming as a science, business, art, and way of life,” Francis continues.  “Our students will get their hands dirty on small farms all over the Kootenays.  They will network with like minds and hopefully build friendships and community.”



Kootenay Farm School will begin offering workshops this fall.  Topics include advanced seed saving, permaculture food foresting, four-season harvesting and scaling up production on small farms.  The 10-month program will launch in February 2014.



To learn more about learning, teaching, or partnering with College of the Rockies’ Kootenay Farm School, visit www.cotr.bc.ca/Kootenay-Farm-School or www.facebook.com/KootenayFarmSchool or see us at the following events this fall:




  • Aug. 23 – Market Fest (Nelson)


  • Aug. 24 – Saturday Market (Kaslo)


  • Aug. 29 – Salmo Farmers’ Market


  • Aug. 30 – Grand Forks Farmers’ Market


  • Sept. 6-7 – Creston Valley Fall Fair


  • Sept. 8 – Hills Garlic Festival (New Denver)


  • Sept. 14 – Kootenay Lake Fall Fair (Crawford Bay)



For more information contact:

Donna Kraus-Hagerman

Executive Director, College Relations and Marketing

College of the Rockies

Phone: 250-489-8258

e-mail: kraus-hagerman@cotr.bc.ca



Read More: College of the Rockies' Kootenay Farm School Offers Creative Education for Grassroots Agriculture