Adaptation, the theme at Small Farm School 2021

farm school

Small Farm School participants got their hands dirty while estimating soil moisture by feel during the irrigation class.

The 10th annual Small Farm School 2021, was a blend of in-person outdoor workshops, online business webinars, and online InFARMation talks.

Farmers ready to return to in-person learning were welcomed back to Clackamas Community College in Oregon City last September. Masks, outdoor workshops, and reduced capacity provided a safe atmosphere for small-scale farmers eager to learn and network. Over 130 people participated to gain knowledge and skills in areas of Tree Fruit Production, Soil Health, Irrigation, Wildfire Preparedness, Livestock Production, Stress Management, Compost, and more.

Fifteen workshops were led by speakers from OSU Extension, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, farmers, and ranchers. Zach Menchini, of Campfire Farm in Mulino, helped organize the livestock track with sessions on Wildfire Preparedness, Scaling up your Livestock Business, and ODA Livestock Rules and Regulations. The student farm allowed participants to engage in hands-on workshops for Soil, Irrigation, Compost, Cover Crop, and Creating Beneficial Habitat for Insects. Participants appreciated being able to actively engage, get their hands dirty, and learn new skills to bring back to their farms.

Small Farm School continued virtually in November with three business sessions. Participants from the 2020 online Small Farm School Online indicated they appreciated the ability to join classes from their homes or even from their phones while in the field. Eighty registrants learned from speakers about: Taxes When Starting a Farm Business, Writing a Farm Business Plan, and Deep Dive into Farmland Leasing. These 60 minutes minute workshops were followed by a 30-minute Q&A.

Scholarships were available for students, Veteran farmers, participants of beginning farmer training programs, and Black, Indigenous, and other farmers of color. Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, 44 scholarships were given. Small Farm School is a collaborative effort between OSU Clackamas County Extension, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, Clackamas Community College, Friends of Family Farmers and Rogue Farm Corps.