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New Urban Farm School Permaculture Certification

The hands-on farm school launched its first year with 100 instructors and sites in Asheville, North Carolina.

| February 6, 2013

  • new lamb
    Hands-on field trips and workshops will augment the onsite programs.
    Photo from Fotolia/ChantalS

  • new lamb

This article is posted with permission from Asheville Institute.

The Urban Farm School is a comprehensive, 815 hour, 28-week program that runs from May 6 to November 13, 2013. The School will train people of all ages and experience levels who aim to work on urban food projects, such as: neighborhood CSA’s, community gardens, green schoolyards, farm-to-restaurant plots, edible parks, church food yards, and food programs within organizations. Students will help manage a neighborhood CSA + gain a Permaculture certification + work with 25 practitioners and sites in the city of Asheville + 25 rural farmers + 50 community food leaders, including businesses owners, nonprofit directors, and city officials related to urban farming.

The curriculum will be taught through hands-on projects, workshops, classes, field trips, meet-the-experts and more. A full range of topics include: seasonal cycles, soil fertility, composting, biodynamics, aquaponics, herbal medicine-making, beekeeping, fermentation, food preservation, forest gardens, orcharding, seed-saving, mapping, designing and budgeting of small-scale operations, community outreach, client relations, and more. The school runs Mondays through Wednesdays, 9am – 5pm, plus four independent project hours per week. Students will also participate in one of the Institute’s weeklong learning immersions: Bee City USA, Local Food Culture, or Natural Building. Multimedia storytelling, documentation and internet outreach will be a weekly activity facilitated by a team of Asheville’s media talent. Students will learn how to tell their own stories about what they are doing and why it is important to them, their communities, and in today’s world. A database of potential employers, community mentors and educational resources will be shared with students so that they can build ongoing relationships year-round.

The goal of the Urban Farm School is for students to learn how to 1) manage a CSA, 2) maximize yields in minimal spaces, 3) diversify farm production, 4) further the meaning of community-led food security, and 5) connect the dots between farming, policy, potential partners, clients, community collaborators and stakeholders so that urban farming projects and people can establish deep roots on a community scale. This food-centric school brings together farm and food-growing students with the vision, practitioners, projects, networks and skills to effectively farm in the city. 

The school’s main ‘campus’ is at the Ashevillage Institute, a one-acre living learning laboratory in downtown Asheville. Hands-on field trips and workshops will be hosted at the other sites around Asheville and the area on a weekly basis. In its first year, the school will accept 10 students. Applications are being accepted now. The total program cost is either $4,600 before April 15th, or $4,900 based on a $1,300 deposit + eight monthly installments of $450 each.

For inquiries about the Urban Farm School contact:, 828.279.1955. For further information on Ashevillage Institute visit:

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