The Daily Dirt

Lynn Pugh’s Legendary Organic Farming and Gardening Course

IMG_0025Whether you’re interested in becoming a full-time organic farmer or you just want to produce delicious, healthy food in your backyard, Lynn Pugh’s legendary Organic Farming and Gardening course will teach you the basics so you can start growing sustainably.

Cane Creek Farm is the classroom, and you’ll engage in plenty of hands-on activities while you learn about everything from crop planning to soil biology. It”s okay if you’re a total newbie!

And if you’re an experienced gardener, you’ll learn a lot too; Lynn teaches from the state’s first-ever organic curriculum, which she developed, and you’ll get a copy of this remarkable resource. You’ll also get to tour area farms and learn from other experienced farmers.

For students who want more, there’s even an option for a practicum at the end of the class.

This fall the Organic Farming & Gardening course will be held on the following dates:  August 29, September 12, 26, October 10, 24, November 7, 21. Register at

When folks take your class, what are they most surprised to learn?

Some people are very surprised to learn that the soil is alive with billions of organisms, all doing their own thing, needing food, water and air, as all organisms do.

One said that it affected the way she walked on the ground, knowing all the life that was beneath her feet.

What surprises you about how much your students know or don’t know about organic systems?

Since organic systems are biological systems, the foundation of the course is basic science that many have forgotten or never integrated into their thinking. This is the first time they have seen the relevance and connection of the scientific principles, and it is a revelation to some.

What tools or training do you think farmers need today to be successful?

Potential farmers or gardeners need to understand that growing is a process of working with nature, however nature presents itself in their situation. There is no formula or cookie cutter system. Farming is local. Much depends on the land, plants, location, markets, resources and energy of the farmer.

The other big area of education is in the business of farming.  Those who want to farm are often not prepared to run a business and do not put the required energy and time into that aspect. Most of us do not find business work to be nearly as enjoyable as growing.

Of all the myriad of relationships, systems, and ecology present in an organic farm, which do you think is the most amazing and why?

The most amazing thing about our farm is the thread of community and love that hold it all together.  As I share my love of growing with others, they share their ideas, work, resources and questions with me.

Their ideas and questions inspire me to stretch and try new things on the farm such as growing mushrooms, trying a new CSA drop site, building a hugel, or growing a new variety. We work with the land we have and try to treat it with respect, building good soil, encouraging beneficials, and protecting the water shed. The land supports us and we, in turn, try to improve and protect the quality of the land we are farming.

What would you folks should know about your class if they are considering signing up?

This is the ninth year we have offered this class, based on the curriculum developed by Georgia Organics.  Most have found it to be a rewarding experience and at least a third have gone on to establish a farm.

The unique thing about the class is the on-farm experience that students receive each Saturday as they participate in real farm jobs and see real farm equipment and supplies. The morning is spent in a classroom setting and the afternoons out on the farm.  Vegetarian lunches from the farm are communal, allowing time for relationships to be built between participants. Scheduling the class every other Saturday for 7 weeks allows participants to see a crop from seeding to harvest.

The class is offered each spring and fall, with the next class starting in late August.  Registration can be through the farm website, with a credit card, or by a mailed check. The cost is $450.

A certificate is awarded to those who complete all the classes.

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