California State Grange Center for Agricultural Arts
The Grange Farm School offers programs for diverse populations including farmers, home gardeners, and youth. In the first years of operation, Grange Farm School will offer our residential Practicum Student Program, and short-term workshops.
The core program, to be launched in 2015, will consist of three 3-month terms that will prepare the whole farmer, including curriculum on agricultural production skills, industrial arts, marketing and business skills essential to a profitable farm.
Practicum Student Program
The Grange Farm School hosted its Practicum Students in 2014. These field study students participated in the development of the Grange Farm at historic Ridgewood Ranch, while learning about sustainable, holistic, and integrated farming techniques. Practicum Students earn college credits for internships through Mendocino College, and have the option to live on site.
Students operate a 2 acre plot with row crops for market, tend both layer and broiler chickens, build fences and infrastructure, install irrigation systems, and more. Other significant tasks will include building the infrastructure for the school, including student facilities such as housing, an outdoor kitchen, a student bath-house with greywater system, a tractor shed, and a processing room.
The work completed by students will provide an in depth and experiential knowledge of the challenges that go into creating a new farm from scratch. Students in the first years of this program will have the unique opportunity to see the groundwork being laid while collaborating with staff on infrastructure development.
Expectations: Practicum students are expected to work an average of 25 hours per week on projects supporting the farm. Concurrent enrollment in Work Experience Education program with Mendocino College or a similar program is required. The Farm will cover registration costs at Mendocino College. Tuition is $2,000 per 3-month term, and many scholarships are available. Students have the option to live on-site for $1,000 per 3-month term. Housing includes a shared kitchen, bath, library, and commons. Students are provided with individual sleeping space in wall tents on platforms surrounding the house. Food will include basic staples and farm goods for three meals per day. Cooking and cleaning chores will be shared.
Term 1: March-May
Term 2: June-August
Term 3: September-November
Curriculum: Focused lesson time will be offered to students to complement field based learning. Curriculum for lessons will cover diverse topics such as:
Farm and garden design Plant propagation
Tool use and safety Plant nutrition
Raising chickens Crop rotation
Composting Cover crops
Pest management Soil science
Irrigation Farm Finances/marketing
Alternative Energy Sources
Projects will vary by season: Spring students will focus on planning and planting, Summer students will focus on irrigation and planting, Fall students will build the hoop house and preserve the bounty of harvest. This list is only a small sampling of upcoming projects.
Capstone Projects: After one 3-month term of foundational learning, students have the option to apply for a second or third term and to develop their individual Capstone Project. These projects allow students to focus on areas of individual interest and guide their own learning. We provide a space for a wide range of independent projects, and we are excited to hear proposals from students who are curious self-starters. Examples of potential projects include:
- Plan and construct vermicomposting system
- Build a solar powered dehydrator
- Design and plant a cut flower garden
- Build bicycle powered processing equipment such as root washer or chicken plucker