The Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers, a three-day workshop for anyone planning to start a fresh market vegetable farm, will be offered January 9-11, 2015 on the UW-Madison campus. The program, now in its 17th year, serves new and beginning farmers seeking to grow and market fresh produce.
“Our focus is to provide information and inspiration to help new growers make smart business decisions about production, marketing, pricing, capitalization and labor. We accomplish this by having a team of experienced growers do the majority of the teaching,” says school coordinator John Hendrickson, an outreach specialist with the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.
The program emphasizes organic production methods and direct marketing. Participants will learn about fertility management, greenhouse use, season extension, pest management and equipment needs, and get real-world perspectives on the financial and quality-of-life realities of running a small-scale farm.
“Our instructors provide a wealth of practical knowledge and insight into what it takes to operate a farm business,” observes Hendrickson. “While we do spend a good bit of time on production details, perhaps more critical to success is planning, marketing and business management. This is where the experience of our grower-instructors can help people avoid costly mistakes.”
The Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers is sponsored by the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. Registration for the program costs $325. Enrollment is limited, so early sign-ups are advised.