The Organic Farm School recently welcomed its ninth class to the Maxwelton Valley on Whidbey Island.
For the next eight months, nine students will be fully immersed in all facets of farming. The intense, hands-on curriculum is focused on practical applications and designed to prepare graduates to successfully manage a small scale farm.
“The 2018 crop of students comes from a wide variety of backgrounds and careers, ranging from anthropology to medicine,” said Judy Feldman, the school’s executive director. “It’s a great bunch, including a Yale graduate, a social worker trained in the Bronx and a pre-med graduate who is opting for preventative health care via food rather than medical treatment of disease.”
One local graduate is Nathanial Talbot. He and wife Annie own Deep Harvest Farm on Whidbey Island. He attributes much of the success of their vegetable and seed farm to the education he received from the coursework over seven years ago. He described the program as an asset to Whidbey Island.
“As our island, and greater region, experiences the aging out of our farming community, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations like the Organic Farm School to identify, train and empower young farmers to fill these vacating fields and rebuild our vibrant agriculture system,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Port of South Whidbey also recognized the program’s contribution to local economic development and awarded a $3,000 grant to help the school develop its own marketing plan.