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School for Beginning Market Growers will be offered in January

If you”re wondering what it takes to set up and operate a fresh produce business or want to learn more about growing and marketing organic vegetables, you belong at the 2007 Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers.

The school will be held January 19-21 on the UW-Madison campus. Registration for the three-day program costs $250.

“This workshop was so inspiring and helpful for me as a beginning grower,” said a 2006 workshop participant. “I especially appreciated the information on tools, working efficiently, and the practical information on budgets and economics.”

Three experienced organic growers will teach the workshop: Michael Racette of Barron County, Tricia Bross of Columbia County, and Scott Williams of Dane County will discuss farmers” markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) and selling to restaurants. Other speakers will cover additional topics.

The school emphasizes organic production methods and direct marketing. Fertility management, greenhouse use, season extension, pest and disease management, equipment needs and sales are also covered.

The course is a unique opportunity to learn from experienced growers and UW-Madison staff. It”s also a good place to network with others interested in making a business out of growing and selling fresh produce. Many students appreciate the show-and-tell table which features various small tools and gadgets.

“The greatest thing about this workshop is that it is based in reality…actual growers from working farms with true experience,” noted a past participant. “Their honesty and generosity with detailed information was invaluable.”

In addition to the School for Beginning Market Growers, a separate Cut Flower Growers School, is being offered on the UW-Madison campus February 3 and 4, at a cost of $175.

The School for Beginning Market Growers is sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and is open to the public. Enrollment is limited to 30, so those interested are encouraged to sign up soon.

For more information about the School or the cut flower growers” workshop, contact John Hendrickson at (608) 265-3704 or jhendric@wisc.edu, or visit the CIAS web site: www.cias.wisc.edu.