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So You Want to Be a Farmer?

Body+Soul, June 2007

A web-exclusive resource list of programs to help you become an organic farmer.

The Farm School's Practical Farm Training Program
This is by far the most all-encompassing educational experience. It runs from October 1 to September 30. 978-249-9944, farmschool.org, $10,000, including instructional program and full room and board.

World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (or WWOOF)
WWOOF is an international organization that pairs up willing volunteers 18 and older with organic farmers across the world in need of an extra set of hands. In the United States alone there are some 500 farms that have opened their barn doors to people looking to get a taste of the ecological-friendly farm life. Stays can last anywhere from a few days to a few months and a day of hard work is exchanged for room (in some cases tents) and board. wwoofusa.org, $20 membership fee.

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture
The hardest aspect of the six-month program at the University of California Santa Cruz, which begins each April, may be getting in. Some 120 people apply for a coveted 35 to 40 spaces. But once accepted, you'll learn invaluable skills both in the classroom and out in the fields. zzyx.ucsc.edu/casfs, $3,750, including tent accommodations.

The Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts
Located in Rice, Washington, this school will appeal to foodies looking for a farm-to-table connection. Weeklong late-summer retreats teach students and culinary professionals how to milk goats, make cheese, and harvest produce. Each day ends with a lavish dinner prepared by the students and a chef using only ingredients from the on-site garden and nearby farms. 509-738-2011, quillisascutcheese.com, $695 including meals and bunkhouse accommodations.