The North Farm On-Farm Short Courses

Date: August 28, 2016
Time: 1 - 6 p.m.
Location: The North Farm, N5431 Rock River Road, Chatham, MI
Contact: Abbey Palmer,, 906-439-5114

The North Farm is hosting a series of Extension short courses starting in April on topics designed for market gardeners, small farms, and skill-seekers interested in gardening and farming. These short courses are an in-depth exploration of farming fundamentals and best practices taught by multiple instructors. Come to The North Farm for 5-hour learning sessions with an emphasis on hands-on activities so you can practice what you learn in class.  Each short course includes the cost of materials for a project that is part of the instruction (1 set of materials per registration). Activities include using low hoop benders, building a strap hoe, saving seeds, and learning to test soil respiration.

All short courses start at 1 p.m. EST and are located at The North Farm, N5431 Rock River Road, Chatham, MI - 1 mile north of the Village of Chatham on the Rock River Road

Season Extension

Sunday, April 17, 1 - 6 p.m.

Growing food for more of the year increases food security and can bolster your farm’s earnings. This course will be valuable for individuals in the planning stages of hoop house construction.

Hands-on: Bend hoops for a 4’X12’ bed


  • Which hoop house is right for your operation?
  • Siting considerations
  • Hoop house planting schedules
  • Crops for year-round production

Small Farm Systems

Sunday, June 26, 1 - 6 p.m.

A farm is greater than the sum of its parts. This course looks at several farm systems and how they intersect. Get tips and tricks for building a lean, efficient farm.  

Hands-on: Build a strap hoe


  • Transplant care and schedules
  • Irrigation
  • Fencing
  • Low-cost and farm built tools
  • Time management
  • Recordkeeping

Whole Farm Health

Sunday, Aug. 28, 1 - 6 p.m.

Viewing the farm as an organism makes us consider all the living beings that affect everyday life on the farm. From creating a nourishing environment for soil microbes to ways to control pests organically, this short course examines best practices for soil, water, and insect management.

Hands-on: Take a soil sample (or bring one from home) and test respiration


  • Cover cropping
  • Soil testing
  • Integrated pest management
  • Environmental verifications
  • Pollinators

Seed Saving

Sunday, Oct. 9, 1 - 6 p.m.

Saving seeds gives individuals the ability to select UP-hardy plant varieties and carry them on for future generations. Consider the percentage of your budget that goes to open pollinated seeds each year – replacing even a portion of that with seed saved from the farm saves money and creates a story you can tell your buyers.

Hands-on: Save seeds from a selection of open-pollinated plants using wet and dry process


  • Basic plant genetics
  • Planning a seed-saving garden
  • Harvesting and storing seeds
  • Wet process/dry process
  • Seed saving as a commercial enterprise


$30 for each course or $100 for all 4

FARM RATE AVAILABLE for multiple attendees from one farm

$45 for each course or $150 for all courses

More info at

**Each workshop also qualifies for education hours for MSU Extension Master Gardeners!** 


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