Gregory Hald makes sure everything is just right as students with the Ecological Farming Certification program at Feather River College work in one of their various fields. Photo by Jessie Mazar

FRC’s spring Eco Farming program offers new courses, register now

Do you have a green thumb or would you like to cultivate one?

Signups are open again for spring 2020 courses in the pioneering local Eco Farming Certificate program that connects people to real food and successful gardening practices that work here in Plumas County.

All ages and skill levels are welcome.

Building the food movement

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Feather River College launched the popular certification series last year in its Environmental Studies Department. The program was built, according to the college, because a motivated group of educators, farmers and local food enthusiasts believe FRC is an ideal setting for growing a new generation of leaders of the food movement.

  “FRC’s Eco Farm Certificate can help you ramp up your gardening skills and extend Plumas County’s tough growing season. If one of your goals for 2020 is to eat healthier foods, this is a great way to do it!” said Professor Darla DeRuiter of Environmental Studies and Outdoor Recreation Leadership who also directs the eco farming program.

Students can start the program during any semester, spring, summer or fall. Some courses even begin mid-semester.

With five required courses and six elective choices, FRC’s eco farming certificate training takes students deep into the science and practicality of sustainable food cultivation and harvesting in this mountain environment. Special emphasis is placed on maximizing the growing season.

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International expertise

Skilled farmer and lead instructor Jessie Mazar runs the program. She has taught high-altitude agriculture in the Andes in Equador and in Malawi, located in southeastern Africa, north of Mozambique.

Mazar is an expert in cooperative, sustainable farming and she has extensive experience in the U.S. as well, especially with the northeastern growing conditions.

Students in the program have worked with a wide range of herbs and plants suited to Plumas County’s agricultural landscape and microclimates. Beans, spinach, kale, onions, carrots, tomatoes and much more were on the planting list.

“Last year’s students raved about Jessie’s knowledge and teaching style,” said DeRuiter. “Not only is she a great farmer, she facilitates learning far beyond what most people expect.”

Growing food and a business

The program also includes education about the business and logistical needs of raising food and running an ecologically sound farming operation. Rick Leonhardt teaches the two business classes. Riley York offers the introduction to mechanized agriculture and Ann Bullard teaches the course on small farm tools and infrastructure.

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Student Leslie Wehrman began the program last year and praised both the local food movement and FRC’s certification instruction.

“I truly feel this past year has been a personal game-changer as far as what I have learned about growing foods, herbs and plants at altitude in the High Sierra,” Wehrman said. “It’s such an exciting topic and currently so very relevant to the many who are seeking better ways to live and be in the world!”

Feather River College Eco Farming Certificate

Register now for Spring 2020 Courses

– ENVR 130: Introduction to Sustainable Food Systems

– ENRV 134: Season extension structures

– ENVR 220: Introduction to soil science

– BUS 116: Human relations in business

For more information, contact:

Instructor Jessie Mazar

[email protected]

Program Director Darla DeRuiter

[email protected]

283-0202, Ext. 262