From Grange Farm School
The crucially important purpose of the Grange Farm School is to help aspiring farmers learn the skills they need to pursue their dreams as small farmers and to provide healthy local food to their communities.
You know the bad news:
America’s farmers are aging, and their children are not replacing them on the farm. American commercial agriculture is good at producing huge quantities of mono-crops laden with GMOs and chemicals; but wholesome, healthy food is hard to come by. And conventional agriculture gulps fossil fuels and water and depletes the topsoil at alarming rates.
Here’s the good news:
More and more young people want to farm. The dilemma is that opportunities for learning on the farm from seasoned farmers—who know how to grow healthy food from healthy soil—are disappearing.
We’re trying to fill that gap
With your help the Grange Farm School can provide the training so many aspiring farmers want.
We aim to educate the “whole farmer” in sustainable agriculture, offering hands-on training and classes in all the skills new farmers want and need, from tilling to transplanting, from weeding to welding, from mulching to marketing. We have everything in place except the last bit of funding. Your help is needed now.
What’s a ‘Grange’?
The Grange is the oldest farmers organization in the country, and in some parts of the country it is embracing a resurgence of efforts to support small-scale farming. Severine von Tscharner Fleming, one of the founders of the dynamic new young farmers organization, Greenhorns, calls the Grange “a really powerful rootstock that we can graft on to.”
Who We Are
We are part of that group of Grangers across the country who have found new meaning in the call of the land to grow quality food. We are teachers.
A year ago the California State Grange pledged start-up funds for this project to teach aspiring farmers how to grow sustainably, holistically, and efficiently. With that initial support we have made significant progress. We have twelve acres of the large and famous Ridgewood Ranch, in Mendocino County.
We have staff, curriculum, students, and expert teachers in place
Now we need the final influx of capital to bring the project to a point where it can be self-sustaining in three years. People like you—who know the crucial importance of localized, organic food production—will be key to our success.
Every donation we receive adds another boost of vigor and life to our project.
“The feeling of awe we get watching corn leap out of the ground or chickens put on feathers and weight is similar to the excitement and gratitude we feel watching the Grange Farm School grow up from the ground.” ~Antonia Partridge, Farm Director
After you’ve watched our little video shot on the Farm, please check out our website: http://www.grangefarmschool.org. More great pictures!
In a few months, the farm will have 5 acres in row crops, a two acre orchard of old and new trees, and small livestock production.
Hands-on, traditional apprenticeship teaching
Students will be housed in platform tents surrounding our outdoor kitchen and dining area. Our video will show you the incredible view. And the renovated farm house next door will serve as living room, library, office, and headquarters for the farm.
This first year we are accepting “practicum students,” interns who receive a few weeks to a few months training in farming skills in exchange for work on building the school infrastructure. Next year, with your help, we will launch a short version of our regular program for aspiring farmers. Ten students will live and work on the farm, gaining experience with organic crop and livestock production on the farm and through field trips to successful farms in the area. And in 2016 ten students – aspiring farmers – will spend a full nine months living, working and learning with us, plenty of time to participate in planning, planting and marketing their crop.
Among the most pressing items that funds will go to are:
- Wall tents for student housing $20,000
- Outdoor kitchen and dining area $15,000
- Classroom/tool shed/packing shed $20,000
- Deer fencing for 5 acre field, $5,000
- Tools, books and manuals for students $5,000
- Irrigation systems for field and orchard $6,000
- Propagation house and shade structure $15,000
- Used pickup truck to get our produce to market $5,000
- Housing and feeding practicum students and AmeriCorps volunteers: $2,400
- Equipping our office and library: $3,000
Our program is in its first year, and we’re focused on infrastructure development for the farm. We are designing and building the facilities to teach, host students and workshops, and grow a diverse farm featuring fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs, poultry and other livestock.
With your help we’re shaping the future of food. And take a look at the many ways we have of saying “Thank you!”