Calypso’s Farmer Training Program is an intensive experiential education program focused on providing the skills, inspiration and experience necessary for participants to embark on starting their own small farm with confidence.
Now Accepting Applications for 2017!
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Participants learn how to become self-reliant farmers by working alongside experienced farmers through the entire growing season, gaining hands-on experience in all of the following:
- Seeding and caring for greenhouse transplants
- Prepping the field for planting
- Planting and direct seeding
- Managing soil fertility
- Weed and pest management
- Caring for farm animals
- Operating a CSA
- Running a farm stand and selling to local restaurants
- Working safely, using Natural Balance
During the program, participants spend time each week building their personal Farm Plan. This process of business plan building includes identifying values and choosing land, defining areas of production, marketing and branding, budgeting, and ends with a presentation, suitable for a formal business proposal.
The Farmer Training Program is tailored to each participant’s needs, allowing them to take on increased responsibility in core areas and areas of special interest. Calypso’s unique setting provides exposure and experience with farm-based environmental education, community events, and a range of homesteading skills. Participants receive guided training in art and craft skills, such as wood carving, basic tool making and maintenance, blacksmithing, building, wool processing, working with birch bark, and more!
Program Cost: The cost is $700/month which covers a portion of your room and board and a portion instruction costs. All basic food staples are included and lunches Monday—Friday are prepared for participants. We are able to keep this monthly cost low (approximately half of the actual cost) thanks to community support and grant funds including a 2016 Beginning Farmer and Rancher grant from the USDA. A materials fee of $250 is required to cover your personal tools, project materials and educational supplies (including a “Reader” with a large selection of articles and book excerpts), which you can take with you when you leave. This fee will also support your access to specialized tools and supplies (carving tools, spinning wheel, art supplies, etc.) throughout the program.
Beginning Farmer’s Bonus: Any participant who completes the entire program (including completing their whole farm plan) will be eligible for an end of the season payment of up to 50% of the program cost (not including materials). We are excited to be able to offer these funds in support of new farmers!
College Credit Option: Students can choose to take this class for credit through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. For those interested, this is a 6 credit course through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks—Summer Sessions. There is a small registration fee to UAF and you’ll register for the class through UAF. All students accepted into the program will receive information about the option of registering for credit.
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