Farming Futures – By Whitney Sharp

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By Whitney Sharp

29717335461_bf7ed9de13_z 29717339291_6ca06f4c8d_zDigging in the dirt, harvesting crops, and raising livestock might not seem like your typical university program, but at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) students are doing just that—learning how to farm with the school’s Tsawwassen Farm School program.

Offered in collaboration with the university’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems and the Tsawwassen First Nation, the 10 month program follows a full farming season—from planting to harvesting—and equips learners with a wheelhouse of skills for success in various farming and agriculture endeavours. Students develop skills in farm business planning, tools and machinery, pest management, plant science, indigenous food systems, and more. In addition to core classes, Farm School students also complete a minimum 350 hour practicum under the direction and supervision of Farm School staff or community mentors. Following completion of the program, grads have access to incubator plots on the farm where then can put down the roots for their own farming and agriculture businesses.

The 20 acre organic farm, located on traditional Tsawwassen First Nation land, includes a traditional medicine garden, a mixed fruit orchard, a market garden, and space for farm animals including pigs and chickens. Members of the public can enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of students labour through a weekly produce box program, offered from June to November. Proceeds from the sales are returned to the program to support future farmers.

To learn more about the Tsawwassen Farm School program at KPU visit kpu.ca/tfnfarm