Farm Beginnings® How to Apply

Q: What can I expect during the application process?

A: Applications will be reviewed by the OGS Farmer Programs team and accepted on the basis of applicant experience, farmer and farm readiness, and their stage in “The Farming Journey.” Each applicant will be asked to do an informal “interview” in-person or by phone to discuss the program and for us to get to know them better to see if Farm Beginnings is a match. We will be accepting applications for our 2017-2018 class until September 1, 2017. There is a $100 Early Bird discount if you get your application in before August 1, 2017. Apply online now.

Q: What is the total time commitment for the program?

2017-2018 Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training is 210+ Hours including:

**Location of Winter Sessions: Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm at 180 Mag Sluder Rd. Alexander, NC 28701 (just 15 minutes from Asheville, NC) View map here.

Read the Winter Course Descriptions here.
See full season 2017-2018 Curriculum & Schedule.

Q: What's the program schedule?

LOCATION: All winter sessions are held at the Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm on Mag Sluder Road in Alexander, NC. Read Winter Course Descriptions here.

Organic Growers School’s Farm Beginnings Farmer Training Program, 2017-2018 Schedule

Color Key

Q: Who should apply?

A: People considering full-time farming, farming part-time while continuing other employment, changing careers to start farming, developing an existing agricultural hobby into a more serious business activity, or those re-evaluating an existing farm business. Students do not need to currently own land, but 1 season minimum experience of doing farming or garden work in the last five years is required.

Not you? Don’t fret! We have programs applicable to all stages of farming education. Complete the Growing the Next Generation of Farmers Worksheet to determine the best place for you to plug into our training programs.

Q: What are the requirements for admission?

A: Requirements for admission include:

  • Dedication to a full-time or part-time farming career.
  • A commitment to participate in a minimum of 12-20 hours of training per month for the entirety of the year
  • Willingness to be a learner, to make this investment and commitment, make time to read, think, plan, dream, and integrate. Your engagement is crucial.
  • Transportation to attend classes near Asheville and at other nearby farm locations.
  • 1 season minimum experience doing farm/garden work in the last five years.

Not you? Don’t fret! We have programs applicable to all stages of farming education. Complete the Growing the Next Generation Worksheet or visit The Farming Journey page to determine the best place for you to plug into our training programs.

Q: What is the course fee and are there payment options?

A: The course fee of $3,000 applies to a farm unit (1-2 individuals who are business partners, family members or life partners). EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT if you apply by August 1. The program allows two partners who apply and are accepted together to benefit from the dual enrollment. If you are applying with a farm partner they must also fill out the entire application. Space is limited to 10 applicants and a partner (business partner, family member, life partner). This keeps participation to a maximum of 20 people, optimizing interaction between students, instructors, and guest speakers.

If you are unable to pay the full course fee, do not be deterred! Scholarships and payment plans are available and we encourage you to apply. Learn more on our Tuition & Scholarships page.

If accepted in Farm Beginnings, the course fee is due either in full or as a down payment by October 1st to secure your spot in the course. Payments can be made online via credit card or via check. Checks must be RECEIVED by October 1st.  We will provide further instructions for making payment following acceptance in the program.

Q: How do I apply?

You can apply using the online application link below or print the following documents.

.PDF Format:

.DOCX Format:

If printing, send completed application via mail to: Farm Beginnings c/o Organic Growers School, PO Box 17804 Asheville, NC 28816
Q: What should my completed application contain?

Application Check List (only complete applications will be reviewed):

  • Farm Beginnings Primary Application
    • 2 references (1 personal, 1 professional)
  • Farm Beginnings Partner Application (optional)
    • 2 references (1 personal, 1 professional) for partner if applying
  • Scholarship Application (optional)
    • Copies of 2015 and 2016 tax returns, if applying for a scholarship
  • Growing the Next Generation Worksheet (included in online application) (.DOCX and .PDF versions)

Be sure to review all application requirements before submitting:

  • Application must be received by September 1, 2017. Please account for mailing time.
  • Early Bird Discount: $100 course fee discount for applications received by August 1, 2017.
  • Please review the checklist below to be sure all required parts are submitted at once. Only completed applications will be reviewed.
  • You will be notified regarding course acceptance or denial via email once we have reviewed all applications by September 15, 2017.
  • We may contact you by phone for any follow-up questions regarding your application.
  • Scholarship awards will be sent via email by September 15.
  • Correspondence initially will be sent to “primary applicant” only.
If printing, send completed application via mail to: Farm Beginnings c/o Organic Growers School, PO Box 17804 Asheville, NC 28816

We will be accepting applications for our 2017-2018 class until September 1, 2017. There is a $100 Early Bird discount if you get your application in before August 1, 2017. Apply online using the link below or print an application using the documents in the “How do I apply?” toggle to apply by mail.

Sign up to receive Farm Beginnings updates:

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If you have any questions about this program, please contact Nicole, Farmer Programs Coordinator, at nicole@organicgrowersschool.org.

OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and funding in part by the Community Foundation of WNC,  CLIF Bar Family Foundation, Organic Valley, Simply 1%, Carolina Farm Credit, French Broad Food Co-op, and by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of USDA-NIFA, Grant #2016-70017-25341. Read more about Farmer Programs' Funding Partners here.