Want to Start a Farm? This Workshop Will Teach You How

Starting a farm sounds really good -- in theory. Fresh produce, fresh eggs, lots of furry friends running around? Not to mention the beauty of green open spaces and plant life. On the other hand, the practical knowledge required -- you know, things like how to acquire land, buy equipment, and irrigate in the desert -- well, that stuff doesn't sound so great.

See also: - Maya's Farm in Phoenix Now Hosting Classes Taught by Local Farmers - An Urban Orchard in Phoenix: Grow Everything from Blood Oranges to Bonanza Dwarf Peaches to Mexican Limes

Thankfully, there actually are people who can help with those details. Namely, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. They're hosting the third annual Turning Dreams into Reality: Starting a Farm in Arizona workshop to teach willing candidates how to start up their very own farming operation.

The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County will offer a two-day workshop for those interested in starting a farm in Arizona. The workshop is being offered through the Maricopa County Beginning & Smalls Farms program, one of various programs offered by the extension, which is an outreach arm of The University of Arizona and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The workshop will go over the realities of owning and starting a farming operation including:

  • Accessing land and capital
  • Obtaining credit and writing solid business plans
  • Insurance: what you need and where to get it
  • Equipment needs for the small farmer
  • Marketing: CSA, farmers markets, restaurants, grocery stores
  • The overlooked but crucial role of food safety from farm to market
  • What method of irrigation should you use?
  • The value and challenges of having a diversified farm
  • How to organically certify your farm

In addition to learning and interacting with local farmers, participants will have the opportunity to visit both a farm and a farmers market as a part of the learning experience.

The class will take place from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 and Wednesday, May 22, at the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension. The workshop costs $105 if payment is sent through the mail or $113 if it's paid online. The workshop will be capped at 65 participants.

For more information visit the Cooperative Extension website.

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