Beginning Farmers

Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship

2015 Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship (BUFA)

BUFA is a season-long traning for new and aspiring farmers conducted in and around Portland, Oregon by OSU Extension Service and community partners.  BUFA provides three options for participation to train urban and small-scale farmers and community land stewards in vegetable and fruit production and farm business management.

  1. Option 1.  Market farming track (500+ hours training)-$3,000
  2. Option 2.  Community farming track (200+ hours training)-$1,500
  3. Option 3.  Classes and field trip track (100+ hours training)-$1,000.

Are you interested in learning more about BUFA?  Please complete our interest form.

BUFA open house

Saturday, November 1, from 10am to 12pm at the Learning Gardens Laboratory (6801 SE 60th Ave Portland, OR 97206).  Meet instructors, graduates, and other perpective students and see the farm!  If you are interested in BUFA, we want to meet you.  Come on out!

picture of quinoa

Apply for BUFA

Apply for BUFARegistration opens October 1, 2014 and is open until class begins in April for students able to pay the tuition for our 3 options above.  There are a limited number of slots available for each track.  Register now!

Limited scholarships are availalbe for BUFA based on economic need and future plans in farming.

Scholarship application deadline December 1, 2014. 

The scholarship application is a two-step process including:

  1. Apply for BUFA
  2. Complete scholarship application

Learn more about BUFA

BUFA is a seven-month (season-long) program that offers garden and urban-scale farming education to the next generation of farmers, non-profit garden managers, leaders in the local food justice movement, and entrepreneurs interested in food production-based small business.  The program teaches students basic skills in vegetable and fruit prodction and offers experiences that will introduce you to the field of small scale agriculture.  We help you to develop connections and relationships with the organizations, farmers, food justice workers, businesses, etc. that make up our local food system.  We want to help you explore local small-scale agriculture as potential career path to help transform our local food system.

How does BUFA work?

Through formal classes, hands-on training, field trips, direct marketing sales (Farmers Market and Community Supported Agriculture) and online learning resources, BUFA provides a fun and interactive educational experience.  Our focus on the fundamentals of small-scale farming makes this the perfect training for the novice gardener/farmers interested in community-scale food production.  BUFA also includes online access to OSU Small Farms Program's  Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Seminar Series.  While participating in BUFA, students get to connect with many local farmers and hear them talk about the ups and downs of their food production enterprise.  Students will also get to visit many local farms and garden/agriculture based businesses to see how they really work.  This networking, along with the practical growing experience, provides students with a strong foundaoution for work and/or volunteerting in the fields of food production, food justice work, and urban-scale agriculture.

BUFA learning options

There are three options available for participation in BUFA to meet your educational needs and fit into your lifestyle including the following:

Market Farming track- $3,000

Folks looking to jump-start their career in agricultural food production and/or marketing.  This intensive, hands-on track will focus on diverse crop production, small-scale farm management, community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmer's market sales.  Scholarships available.  Cohort limited to 12 qualified participants.

Community Farming track- $1,500

Folks interested in our classroom and field trip learning opportunities, but also desire a hands-on, in the field learning experience focused on urban, community-based food production.  Students will learn how to use small spaces to maximize food production.  Scholarships available.

Classroom and Field trip track- $1,000

Folks who want to learn more about vegetable production and whole farm management through classes and field trips only.  This is a good option for people with limited time who want to dip their toes into the field of small scale agriculture.  Scholarships available.

Course topics based on university research include:

  • Soil management including fertilizers, compost, mulch, and cover crops
  • Intensive vegetable production using hand and small power tools
  • Berry and fruit tree production and edible landscaping
  • Ecological landscape management including native and ornamental plants
  • Organic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with special emphasis on weed control
  • Farm/landscape infrastructure including irrigation, materials choices, and installation
  • Farm business planning and marketing
  • Community resources and next steps.

BUFA learning objectives

  • Create management plan for urban farms and community landscapes with detailed analysis of benefits and drawbacks of various garden management practices
  • Design and install urban-scale farm and landscape infrastructure
  • Practice important gardening skills and use tools safely and effectively
  • Apply principles of healthy soil for healthy plants to gardens and landscape management
  • Understand methods and products for organic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) including weed management options
  • Analyze social aspects of urban farming, community gardening
  • Perform marketing analysis and create a farm business plan
  • Communicate learning with peers and the larger community.

Planning and Record Keeping for a Better Growing Season


Planning and Record Keeping for a Better Growing Season

Looking to be more organized in 2014? Aiming to have an effective crop plan that sets the course for a successful season? Hoping to keep better farm records this year that could help you understand ways to make your farm more productive and more profitable?

Come to our all-day workshop to learn about how to use AgSquared’s online software toolkit to easily gather the information you need to better manage your farm and make both day-to-day and strategic farming decisions.

This event is $10/person. Lunch will be provided.

Date and Time: Thursday, March 27th, 10:00AM to 4:00PM

Location: Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, OR

** Click here to Register **


Drew Katz, AgSquared’s Director of User Support and Farmer Engagement, will train you in how to get started with AgSquared. In this class you will learn how to set up your AgSquared account, create a crop plan, manage your day to day schedule with AgSquared, and review your records for better decision making. You will also get to hear from an Oregon farmer currently using AgSquared on the farm. You do not need to have already created an AgSquared account to join this training - you will have the opportunity to create a free AgSquared account during the workshop.

Beginning Farms Programs

The Greenhorns’ Guide for Beginning Farmers - Greenhorns

Start 2 Farm - National Agricultural Library, USDA

Beginning Farmers - Cornell Small Farms Program

Beginning Farmer Center - Iowa State University

Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine - University of Maine

Missouri Beginning Farmers - University of Missouri

Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Loans - USDA FSA

Beginning Farmers Guide - Farm Aid

Resources for Beginning Farmers - Land Stewardship Project

What can I do with my Small Farm?

What Can I Do With My Small Farm? Selecting an Enterprise for Small Acreages - Often, when people buy a small farm they simply want someone to tell them what they can "do" with it. As strange as it might seem, this isn't an easy questions to answer. Before making decisions, you should consider these major factors that interact with and influence each othe.

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Planning Book: Think It! Write It! -Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management is a workshop series that enhances the success of new farmers by helping participants think through biological, physical, financial, and family aspects of farm business. The workshops include classroom and field sessions, and topics follow a natural sequence, from planning through production to long-term management. As participants progress through the Growing Farms series, their ideas about farming and ranching as a lifestyle and business become more focused.

Small Farms Funding Resources - This guide contains information about issues to consider before starting a farming operation with links to full-text guides on how to start a farm business, and develop business and marketing plans. It also contains information about funding sources for beginning farmers, training, technical assistance contacts, organizations with resources and programs for beginning and experienced farmers, and more.

Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses - Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses brings the business planning process alive to help today's alternative and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs transform farm-grown inspiration into profitable enterprises.Sample worksheets lend a practical perspective and illustrate how real farm families set goals, researched processing alternatives, determined potential markets, and evaluated financing options. Blank worksheets help the reader develop a detailed, lender-ready business plan or map out strategies to take advantage of new opportunities.

List of Alternative Crops & Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification--Alternative Farming Systems Information Center - This list of alternatives was compiled using AFSIC reference request files, the subject files in our office, as well as previously compiled lists, most notably "Innovative Farming Idea List," (1987) compiled by Nancy Grudens Schuck, Farming Alternatives Project, Cornell University and "Ideas for Alternative Agricultural Enterprises," (1996) put together by the Missouri Alternatives Center. This list is not comprehensive, but presents some of the more accessible innovations available to farmers.

North Willamette Valley Livestock Farm Tours

Small Farms Summer Livestock Series

Join us for any of four stand-alone workshops on beef, sheep, poultry processing and hogs. All workshops take place on-farm and focus on strategies to help small farms manage production and marketing risk to create viable and successful small farm livestock enterprises.

Raising Beef on Grass

Ralph Meyer Farm, Oregon City

Tuesday, June 19, 2012,                1pm-6pm

$30 per person or $45 for two per participants from the same farm


This on-farm workshop addresses management, production and marketing of grass-fed beef. Topics will include rotational grazing, pasture management, quality feed production, herd health, forage quality for finishing beef, and niche marketing. A class binder and refreshments are included in the cost of the program. Instructors: Ralph Meyer (), Nita Wilton (Graf Century Farm), and Gene Pirelli (OSU Extension Livestock and Forage Specialist). Presented in partnership with USDA RMA.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or




Raising and Marketing Healthy Sheep

SuDan Farm, Canby

Thursday, June 28 2012 2pm-7pm

$30 per person or $45 for two per participants from the same farm


Join Dan and Susie Wilson of SuDan Farms, Gene Pirelli of OSU Extension Service and Robert Dyk of USDA-APHIS in this day-long workshop focused on small-scale sheep production. Topics will include pasture management and rotational grazing, sheep nutritional requirements, Scrapie eradication in Oregon, small scale infrastructure, wool production and marketing for meat and fiber. Dinner and a class binder are included in the cost of the program. Presented in partnership with USDA RMA and Oregon Sheep Growers Association.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or


Processing Poultry – HB 2872 and the 1000 bird exemption

Deo Volente Farm, Mulino

Monday, July 16th, 2pm-7pm,

$60 per person or $90 for partners from the same farm sharing animals


This hands-on workshop addresses the new laws and regulations for farm direct slaughter and sales under Oregon HB 2872 (the 1000 bird exemption). The A to Z's of poultry processing, sanitation, pathogen management, and regulatory compliance will be covered as each participant processes a bird to take home. Pasture management and niche marketing will also be addressed. Dinner and a class binder are provided. Please bring work clothes, work gloves, and rubber boots.  Instructors: Sara, Scott and Andrew (Deo Volente Farm), Pete Sturman (OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center) and Lauren Gwin (OSU Small Farms Program and Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network).

Presented in partnership with USDA RMA.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or


Integrating Pigs into a Diverse Small Farm Operation

Growing Seeds Farm, Corbett

Wednesday, August 22, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

$30 per person or $45 for two per participants from the same farm


Join Jessica and Fred Eppley-Henning of Growing Seeds Farm, Pete Sturman, Nick Andrews and Gene Pirelli with OSU extension to learn about raising healthy pigs on a diverse farm. Specific topics are coming soon.

Presented in partnership with USDA RMA.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Heidi Noordijk at (503) 678-1264 ext. 141 or






Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship

See video

The Beginning Urban Farmer Apprenticeship (BUFA) program is a partnership between Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service and Multnomah County designed to provide in-depth and comprehensive training in sustainable, small-scale, urban farming methods.

Through formal classes, hands-on training, field-trips, online learning, farmers' market sales and supervised apprenticeships, BUFA instruction will prepare students to produce market fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, cut flowers, and other value-added products using organic methods. Participants will also learn the knowledge and skills needed to design, install, and manage farm and community landscape infrastructure in urban and peri-urban settings.