Better Farm’s Sustainability Education Program is a hands-on immersive, certification course in sustainability initiatives.
About the program
Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program is a weekend-long certification course rooted in an experiential, immersive farm experience. Students will participate in daily farming operations, as well as targeted units "Grow," "Build," "Survive," "Play" and "Steward."
College students may additionally receive course credit for completion of Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program (pursuant to clearance from your school).
Individuals are immersed from day one in the local culture while working alongside other residents at Better Farm and in the Redwood community. Also staying at Better Farm are staff members, artists visiting through the betterArts Residency Program, and overnight lodgers. Individuals should be prepared to take on solo work as well as group efforts; ranging from mundane tasks to unusual, exciting projects.
Teachers are experienced individuals and career professionals; from off-grid specialists who have lived for years with solar panels they installed themselves at home to seasoned farmers and builders with decades of contracting experience.
Lodging: Lodging is provided at a small additional fee. Options range from private bedrooms to shared bunk-house accommodations. If you have a specific need or preference, please send a note to email@example.com.
Amenities: Reading materials, WiFi, linens, towels, parking, laundry access, bicycles, on-site library, sauna, and of course recommendations to local attractions and must-attend events if you'd like to check out everything the Thousand Islands has to offer!
Meals: Students will be served dinner Friday, all meals Saturday, breakfast and lunch Sunday. All meals are vegan except for farm-fresh eggs at breakfast (optional) and honey available for tea and coffee. Farm-to-table, organic ingredients are utilized wherever possible.
What to expect: If you join us for a day pass on Saturday, be here by 9. Everyone else should arrive Friday and be ready to get totally immersed in farm culture.
You'll hear birds, chickens and owls chirping, catch the Milky Way (if it's a clear night), eat yummy food, and be guided every step of the way.
Don't worry about your experience level. It doesn't matter if you grew up on a farm or have never left the city. We're here to shepherd you through the whole thing top to bottom. That means everyone from educators looking for fun classroom projects and students to suburban soccer moms and YOLO/FOMO enthusiasts will find something special at Better Farm.
Ultimately, that's our mission: to provide you with a "better" experience that unveils your potential to provide, survive, play and improve the world around you.
Do it. For every reason there is.
7 p.m. Welcome Dinner
9 p.m. Bonfire, fireside chat with guest speakers
Instead of a traditional working farm with acres upon acres of one or a few different crops, Better Farm has several gardens demonstrating different styles of gardening and farming. These gardens illustrate the need for a diversity of crops instead of the monoculture farms you're used to. Better Farm equips students with a variety of solutions to real-world agricultural issues, including small spaces, temperamental soils, pests, and climate change. The aquaponics, hydroponics, layered gardens, fruit orchard, and forests on the property are extremely varied so students coming from all over the world will learn practical tools that can be applied back home, no matter the setting. You will get hands-on experience in each one.
Learn basic tool safety and use, alternative building methods, woodworking, construction, upcycling, and assembling concepts for closed-loop systems like rainwater catchment, sauna, barn or cabin construction, greenhouse maintenance, or tiny home creation.
Living in tandem with the earth means working the land and caring for livestock in ways that make sense. For this unit, you'll learn how to properly plant trees for everything from edible forests to habitat restoration, start and maintain a beehive, care for chickens, tend to alpacas, horses, pigs and other animals, build bathouses or insect motels, and manage the land in a responsible way. In the late summer, that might mean chopping wood, locating standing dead trees, and caring for equine health. In the spring, you'll learn about invasive plant species and witness alpaca shearing. In the summer, you'll maintain healthy tree growth, visit with newborn animals, and repair livestock fencing.
Whether tightrope walking, juggling, running, catching a game of horseshoes or bocce, kayaking or jumping in a lake, we'll take time you might otherwise spend catching up on Netflix or surfing the 'net and replace it with recess. Adapted to all skill levels, body types and backgrounds, just be ready to have fun.
Living off the land is tantamount to understanding the bounty in your own backyard. For this unit, you'll forage for edible wild plants, make firestarter kits, learn to recognize spots for shelters, and read the land. Whether you want to be an urban survivalist or ready for the zombie apocalypse, we have you covered.
Program Length – 2 Nights, 3 Days
Program Term – Sept. 8-10 2017, Feb. 8-10 2018, May 20-22 2018, July 15-17 2018
Registration Deadline – Rolling
Cost – $300 with lodging, $200 without, $100 for Saturday day pass only.
- Small-Scale Organic Farming
- Greenhouses/4-Season Farming
- Alternative Building and Energy
- Animal Husbandry
- Rainwater Collection
- Greywater Filtration
- Aquaponics, Hydroponics
- Community Outreach
- Water Quality Studies
- Outdoor Survival
- Radio Broadcasting
- Horseback Riding
- Drive-In Movies
- Boating and Sailing
- Firemen's Field Days
- Pirate's Week
- Blues in the Bay
Because of the personalized nature of our small program and limited space, all registration fees are non-refundable. If space allows, we may be able to give credit for future use of the program. Check in at firstname.lastname@example.org.