Eco Farming Certificate
Whether you’re looking to turn farming into a full-time profession or simply scale up your home garden, our eco-farming certificate is designed to meet your goals. During the year-long certificate, you’ll learn to start and efficiently operate your own farm, manage existing farms, or work for organizations promoting farm and food education and production.
"The Eco-Farm Certificate has helped me understand how everyone can contribute to biodiversity by growing nourishing edibles."
We designed our curriculum with local farmers to create the optimal combination of classroom activities and practical, hands-on learning opportunities in a supportive environment. Over the course of a year, we’ll focus on:
- Ecological production methods
- Techniques for high-altitude, diversified crop production and season extension
- Marketing and business management skills
- Small farms as a tool for positive social, economic and environmental change
By the end of the certificate, you’ll have the skills to confidently operate a sustainable, small-scale farm and pursue careers in agriculture and food systems.
Why Choose #EcoFarmFRC?
We believe in the power of food. We believe in local. That’s why our curriculum teaches students the skills needed to farm and garden for themselves and others—the privileged and less-than-privileged—in a supportive learning environment designed to build community. Because everyone deserves healthy food.
As one of the few rural community colleges in California, Feather River College is an ideal setting for growing a new generation of leaders of the food movement. Our students will re-envision a food system that values everyone from the farmer to the consumer, respects our planet, and nurtures the connections between people and their food.
Plumas County’s mild mountain climate offers the ideal setting to learn high-altitude growing practices suitable for market growers. Skilled local farmers and strong community support provide a real-world learning laboratory to explore the positive economic, social, and environmental benefits of farming.
"The Eco Farm Certificate program has helped me understand a practical way to start saving the world, deliciously."
About the Certificate
Through the seasons, our local farmers have gained plenty of insights into how to grow delicious, nutritious food at a small scale in a less-than-optimal climate. That’s why we worked closely with them to design our curriculum, which has a focus on learning skills for growing in tough climates. Given our mountain environment, season extension is key!
Courses will take place on the FRC campus and at Rugged Roots Farm—the field site for course work and labs. Rugged Roots Farm is a diversified, small farm located just across Spanish Creek from FRC. The farm features vegetables appropriate for our climate, berries, herbs, and culinary and decorative flowers. Collaboration with Rugged Roots, which is part of the non-profit Lost Sierra Foot Project, will provide practical experience in the operation and marketing of small local farm. A community of local farmers are committed to support you through the learning process as guest instructors, internship hosts, farm tour and activity hosts.
Upon completion of the certificate, students will:
- Demonstrate application of sustainable agriculture production techniques specific to high altitude crop production.
- Understand the complexities of managing a small farm, including product and market development, and appropriate technologies.
- Increase understanding of the food system and how small farms can be used as a tool for positive social, economic, and environmental change.
The following topics will be covered throughout the certificate:
- Soil & Fertility Management
- Vegetable Production
- Solanaceae (Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Potatoes)
- Cucurbits (cucumbers, summer squash, winter squash)
- Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, Asian Greens, etc)
- Roots (beets, carrots, radishes, rutabaga, turnips)
- Salad Crops (head lettuces, mixes, arugula, salanova)
- Sweet Corn and Green Beans
- Season Extension Techniques (hoophouses, high and low tunnels, greenhouses, row covers, mulches, shade cloth, etc.)
- Cover Cropping
- Tree Fruit & Berries
- Food Preservation (canning, fermenting, drying, pickling - even tinctures & salves!)
- Flower Production
- Crop Planning & Scheduling
- Organic Certification
- Harvest & Post Harvest Handling and Food Safety
- Transplant Production
- Passive Solar Greenhouse Management and Production
- Direct and Wholesale Marketing
- Business & Farm Planning
- Tool & Equipment Usage and Maintenance
- Plant Biology for Farmers
- Organic Weed, Pest, and Disease Management
The Ecological Farming Certificate will prepare students for a variety of job opportunities, including:
- Garden or Farm Manager
- School Garden Educator
- Produce Department Manager/Buyer
- Farmer’s Market Manager
- Produce Sales and Marketing
- Food Handling, Packaging, and Shipping
- Compost Production and Sales
- Organic/Sustainable Retail and Support Services (fertilizers, seeds, equipment)
- Sustainable Landscape Design
- Market Gardener or Farmer (Urban or Rural)
- Organic and Sustainable Certification Services, Organic Inspector
- Sustainable Agriculture Consultant
- Extension Agent or Farm Advisor
- Pest Control Advisor
- Distribution Chain Manager
- Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications
- Nursery Sales/Garden Center
Jessie is a lead instructor and works on program development for the Eco Farm Certificate. She instructs the high altitude crop production (late season), introduction to food systems, and pest management courses.
Jessie has a background in regenerative agriculture, community food initiatives, and teaching in the food system with a concentration in experiential learning. She’s taught undergraduate students in a program called Rethinking Food Security: Agriculture, People, and Politic in Tanzania, India, India, Italy, Ecuador, and Malawi. She is currently Co-Director of the local non-profit Lost Sierra Food Project, which focuses on food access and ecological farm education.
In 2016 Jessie received an M.S. in Food Systems at the University of Vermont, where her research focused on a community food access project with farmworkers in the state. Jessie is skilled at growing food within a limited growing season after eight seasons in the Northeast. She coordinated and taught at a permaculture project where she worked with a team to keep beehives, learn about medicinal plants, establish an educational garden, put up a hoop house, and build an outdoor classroom, kitchen, and pizza oven. Jessie has also worked on farm-to-school education initiatives, where she built school gardens, ran after-school programs, and taught summer classes.
What do students say about Jessie? She is "a walking encyclopedia of eco-sustainable farming wisdom, especially at high altitude!" "Jessie is a dynamic, energetic, kind, knowledgeable, engaging, personal, fun, helpful, caring, involved instructor." Jessie represents "all the best qualities we're looking for in our garden...diversity, adaptability, resilience, beauty."
Leslie is a new instructor for FRC's Eco Farm program and works on program outreach and development. She teaches the high altitude crop production (early season), season extension, and fruit & berry production courses.
Leslie has lived in Quincy since 2015 and has spent the last 10 years working with school garden programs and various organic farms. After finishing her undergraduate degree in Development Studies at UC Berkeley, Leslie went on to join the local food movement in West Oakland working towards food justice and food security. From there, she worked on an NGO permaculture farm in Swaziland and the Herb Pharm in southern Oregon before coming back to California to work in education. Eventually, she found Plumas County and developed the outdoor education and garden program at Plumas Charter School. In 2019, she received a M.N.R. from the University of Idaho in Environmental Education and Science Communication. Leslie is Co-Director of a local non-profit, Lost Sierra Food Project, which focuses on food access and ecological farm education.
Since 2014, Ann has been the co-owner of Follow Your Heart Farm. She and her partner established a small market vegetable farm, fruit orchard, chicken egg, and a pasture raised pork business here in Quincy. Starting with 3 acres of undeveloped pasture, she installed over 500 feet of irrigation, constructed a season extending high tunnel, converted a storage shed into a chicken coop, added a small goat barn, and built numerous fences, both conventional and electric, to keep animals in and predators out.
Ann is a graduate of Santa Rosa Junior College and Empire College School of Business, both located in Santa Rosa, CA. She has an A.S. in Mathematics, a 2-year certificate of Civil Engineering, along with a Specialized A.S. in Paralegal Studies. Before moving to Quincy, she worked as a Land Surveyor and real property paralegal. Today she a farmer, a participating member of the Plumas Sierra Food Council, a part-time employee at Quincy’s local food co-op, and a founding member of the Plumas Grown Farmers Guild.
Bridget Tracy has a split position, teaching earth science as well and environmental studies courses. She started on the faculty at Feather River College in 2012, after finishing her graduate degree, working with the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at UC Davis. Bridget has worked for many years teaching summer courses for UC Berkeley about Sierra Nevada ecology and forest management in Plumas County, which has given her lots of experience working with local resources and resource professionals. She has also worked for the National Park Service, the Marin Municipal Water District, and various research labs at UC Berkeley. She is delighted to be living and working in the Northern Sierra.
Rick is an instructor in the Business Program at Feather River College. Prior to becoming a full-time instructor at FRC, he taught as an associate faculty member in the business and agricultural business departments. Rick holds a BS degree in Business Administration from CSU, Chico and an MS degree in Finance from Golden Gate University. Rick has a wide-ranging background in both business and agriculture.
He has worked for large multi-national corporations, small regional companies, and has started several business ventures from the ground up. Rick is a third-generation cattle rancher who has operated his own grass-finished beef business and is Past President of the Plumas/Sierra Cattlemen’s Association.
Rick is involved in the local community as President of the Quincy Rotary club, board member of the Central Plumas Recreation and Parks District, American Valley 4H Beef leader, member of the Plumas/Sierra Cattlemen’s Association and Plumas/Sierra Farm Bureau, and advisory board member of the Feather River College Rodeo team.
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