Curriculum & Schedule

Our curriculum is based off of the University of California Santa Cruz’s Farm & Garden Apprenticeship program with additional training and content specific to our growing region.

The farmers will be trained and have hands on experience on the full-spectrum of sustainable farming from seed to market. This training includes experience with sustainable vegetable, fruit, grain, and livestock production.


Curriculum topics include:

  • Soils — Soil physical properties, soil/plant interactions, soil fertility management, soil testing, composting, and cover cropping.
  • Growing Methods — Organic certification standards, crop planning, asexual/sexual plant propagation, greenhouse techniques, bed preparation, transplanting and sowing, crop care, cultivation, seed saving, and irrigation.
  • Botany and Crop Culture — Botanical characteristics and cultural requirements of specific vegetable crops, herbs, flowers, fruits, and trees, and how they may be combined in a farm or garden. Pollinator habit protection and enhancement.
  • Animal Husbandry- Sustainable livestock management of a variety of animals including cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry. Basic beekeeping.
  • Environmental Stewardship — Brief survey of modern agricultural production’s effects on environmental quality, and farm/forest/flood stewardship. Salmon stream care and Salmon Safe certification needs.
  • Pest and Disease Management — Management of weeds, vertebrate and invertebrate pests, and plant pathogens in organic systems.
  • Marketing and Business Acumen — Harvest and post-harvest handling, marketing strategies and outlets, direct marketing through Farmers Market-style produce stands, a Farm Stand, Farm to Table Meals, Adult and Kids Classes and Camps.
  • Social Issues in Agriculture — Historical and contemporary overviews of the dynamic and fluid manner in which the modern food system has been shaped by and contributes to various social, political and economic structures.


They will also learn to develop a business and strategic plan, basic accounting and record-keeping, time management, consumer interaction to generate sales, land acquisition, culinary preparations of farm products, regulations, food systems, public policy, and labor. Some topics will be taught by local experts either on-site or via local field trips. Operating and repairing typical farm vehicles, equipment, structures, and tools are part of the training, as well as implement purchase, cleaning, and storage.

The 7-month program runs April through November. Following the first phase of the program our new farmers will spend December and January developing and refining a business plan for their own small-scale farm (1/2 to 1 acre), as they continue working on the farm. If approved, they will receive the opportunity to farm through the end of 2019 at Carnation Farms, with the use of land, farm equipment, and shared housing provided rent-free. During that year, they will train new 2019 apprentices and will receive guidance and support from Carnation Farms staff.


Sample Schedule from a Week of Our Program:

Typical time allocation

  • 30% of 40-hour week will be classroom education = 12 hours/week
  • 70% of 40-hour week will be in field experience/work = 28 hours/week
  • Harvest days: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Field Trips

(if applicable)
Carnation Farms
• Farm team staff meeting
• Mentor-FIT team meeting1
• Brief check-in with each FIT individually
• Work on site
• Work on site
• Harvest for Carnation Farmers Market
• Class 9-noon• Practical skills class 10-12pm
• Work on site
• Work on site
• Harvest for Issaquah Farmers Market
• Rotation at Issaquah Farmers Market
• Rotation at CF Farm Day or other event
Carnation Farms
• Work on site
• If applicable, comp time for previous week’s evening-Saturday rotations
• Farmers Market.
• Rotation at Carnation Farmers Market, 5/2-10/30, 3 to 7 pm
• Class 2-5 pm• Work on site
• Rotation at North Bend Farmers Market, 6/7 – 9/6 , 4 to 8pm
• Rotation at Farm Store (when up and running)
• Work on site
• Issaquah Farmers Market, 5/5-9/29, 9 am to 2 pm
*Schedule may change depending on season
1Mentor-FIT(Farmer in Training) team meeting: recap from last week, review week ahead for both field and classroom, set goals, identify learning opportunities, assign duties, prioritize tasks, note deadlines, and discuss calendar/schedule issues.