The Fauquier Education Farm is a learning resource for students, farmers, gardeners and anyone wanting to learn more about how food is grown.
We offer a broad range of activities to showcase how to plant, maintain and harvest fresh wholesome vegetables while also being good stewards of the land. These activities include:
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program
New Farmer Incubator Program
The best way to learn is to get your hands dirty!
Workdays offer hands-on learning for the community at large. With only one paid employee, the Fauquier Education Farm could not survive without lots of volunteer help. We want all of our volunteers, from school kids to seniors, to develop an understanding of how each crop is produced. The Farm Director’s function, assisted by the Fauquier Master Gardener volunteers, is to teach as we work. Go to our, How to Help, page to sign up to receive weekly emails detailing when we are working that week. Our work hours change throughout the season due to weather and different seasonal crop needs.
An important aspect of being an Education Farm is to conduct a wide variety of demonstration projects to showcase a range of agricultural best practices. These projects include field trials to see which crops work best in our area, cultural practices such as planting in plastic covered beds or into no till cover crops, farmscaping to encourage beneficial insects, or many other agricultural ideas that are put to the test and grown under real world conditions.
We partner with Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District, and state and federal agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide timely, valuable information to the farming community through these demonstrations.
Whether a variety trial or a conservation project our demonstration projects would be of no value unless we share the information. For every project we have a Workshop where we invite anyone interested in learning about what we are doing, and why, to come to the farm and see for themselves. We are committed to holding ten of these workshops each year on a wide variety of agricultural and conservation topics. These are on-farm meetings that are well advertised and are always free and open to the public.
Fauquier Education Farm 2019 Workshop Series
The Fauquier Education Farm Workshop Series is a learning resource for farmers and home gardeners of all experience levels. You can pick and choose any workshops that may interest you with no expectation that you need to attend them all. These workshops are free and open to everyone. These will be held rain or shine and children are always welcome. The 2019 workshop schedule will be posted in Jan. of 2019.
Contact Jim Hankins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540 336 4338
NEW FARMER INCUBATOR PROGRAM
The Fauquier Education Farm Incubator Program is intended to offer real-world experience with small scale farming to individuals who are ready to start commercial vegetable or cut flower production but do not own land and equipment. In addition to land access these new farmers would have access to technical and training support from the Education Farm Director and limited equipment use. The goal is to enable these new farmers to establish experience and credibility that they can use in seeking other land leasing or purchase options. A further goal is to help these individuals make more fully informed decisions about their commercial farming plans.
This program is not intended for individuals seeking a home garden for themselves. Instead it is for individuals with a commercial farming intent. Any profits that will be generated through this incubator project will belong to the new farmer.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program
The Fauquier Education Farm also plays a unique role in support of the Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. These are two multi-week courses for folks who are new to, or dreaming of launching, a farming business.
The first is called the Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program, which we have been teaching since 2011. It is a Whole Farm Planning course using the curriculum developed by the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program. The Fauquier Education Farm has partnered with several Agricultural Extension Agents from surrounding counties to present this course and help guide new farmers on their path to becoming professionals.
The second course is, An Introduction to Getting Your Hands Dirty. In this course we take a careful look at what goes into field grown crop production. Our students should expect to learn a basic level understanding of the concepts and tools necessary to grow crops. It includes two labs at the Education Farm and a farm tour.