Agriculture Education

 

The Fauquier Education Farm is a learning resource for students, farmers, gardeners and anyone wanting to learn more about how food is grown.

We offer a broad range of activities to showcase how to plant, maintain and harvest fresh wholesome vegetables while also being good stewards of the land. These activities include:

  • Volunteer Workdays
  • Demonstrations
  • Workshop Series
  • Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program

Volunteer Workdays

The best way to learn is to get your hands dirty!

Workdays offer hands-on learning for the community at large. With only one paid employee, the Fauquier Education Farm could not survive without lots of volunteer help. We want all of our volunteers, from school kids to seniors, to develop an understanding of how each crop is produced.  The Farm Director’s function, assisted by the Fauquier Master Gardener volunteers, is to teach as we work. Go to our, How to Help, page to sign up to receive weekly emails detailing when we are working that week. Our work hours change throughout the season due to weather and different seasonal crop needs.

Demonstrations

An important aspect of being an Education Farm is to conduct a wide variety of demonstration projects to showcase a range of agricultural best practices. These projects include field trials to see which crops work best in our area, cultural practices such as planting in plastic covered beds or into no till cover crops, farmscaping to encourage beneficial insects, or many other agricultural ideas that are put to the test and grown under real world conditions.

We partner with Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District, and state and federal agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide timely, valuable information to the farming community through these demonstrations.

Workshop Series

Whether a variety trial or a conservation project our demonstration projects would be of no value unless we share the information.  For every project we have a Workshop where we invite anyone interested in learning about what we are doing, and why, to come to the farm and see for themselves. We are committed to holding ten of these workshops each year on a wide variety of agricultural and conservation topics. These are on-farm meetings that are well advertised and are always free and open to the public.

                                   Fauquier Education Farm 2017 Workshop Series

 The Fauquier Education Farm Workshop Series is a learning resource for farmers and home gardeners of all experience levels. You can pick and choose any workshops that may interest you with no expectation that you need to attend them all. The first workshop on Jan. 29th will be held at The Warrenton Visitor Center, the rest of the workshops are held at the Fauquier Education Farm. These workshops are free and open to everyone and do not require registration. These will be held rain or shine and children are always welcome.

Jan. 29th, 2:30 to 4:30…It’s Time to Start Planning… Join us as we go through a full calendar year in the garden, with tips on what should be planted when and how to maximize your gardening success. We will also roll out all the upcoming workshops and learning opportunities at the Education Farm and let you know how you can become an important part of it all. We’ll also have free catalogues from our favorite vendors for you to take home.

 Held at…Warrenton Visitor Center, 33 N. Calhoun St. Warrenton, Va. 20186

The presentation from the workshop can be accessed at 2017-its-time-to-start-planning.

The following workshops will at be held at

Fauquier Education Farm, 8428 Meetze Rd. Warrenton, Va from 6 to 8 PM

May 25th…Cover Crops, Grow Your Own Nutrients. Join us as we partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to discuss using cover crops to protect and improve your garden soils. We will have several different blends of cover crops, both fall and spring planted, for you to see in the field. We will also discuss using No-Till methods of establishing cash crops in these cover crops.

June 1st… Row Covers and Low Tunnels. There are very few things you can do in the field that can help some crops more than using row covers and low tunnels. They provide insect and frost protection but also do a great deal to improve plant health and vigor. We’ll be using row covers on a much wider variety of vegetables than ever before so come see how we’re doing it.

June 7th…The Colorful World of Cauliflower. We will explore to world beyond white in this important and easy to grow cool season crop. Cauliflower now comes in a range of colors from vivid purple to golden orange. We’ll have them growing in the field, along with the standard Snow Crown, so we can talk about the do’s and don’ts of planting a rainbow in your garden.

June 29th… 3D Deer Fencing. It’s heartbreaking to plant a crop only to lose it to these 4-legged pests. We will show you a simple and cost effective means of putting up electric fencing to help protect your garden and ensure that you get to eat out of it before the deer destroy it all.

July12th… Tomato Variety Trial. Come see our field trial of 12 different tomato varieties. We’ll have our favorites and try out several new varieties in our quest for the perfect BLT. We will also compare production techniques, like No-Till, plastic mulches, and we’ll talk about how to use a Florida weave.

July 20th… Cantaloupe, Muskmelons and Honeydew. We’ll be growing at least 12 varieties. We will talk about weed and pest control, as well as all the other do’s and don’ts of raising rich sweetness in your garden. Of course, with all those varieties in the field there must be some taste testing included too!

July 26th…Uncracking the Secrets of Eggplant. We will have several different varieties of this often difficult to raise vegetable, and we’ll show you how to make it seem easy. The variety and colors make this a really rewarding crop in your garden, and a hot item at farmer’s markets too.

Aug. 10th… The Good Guys. Much of the conversation about insects in the garden centers around how to kill them, but there is another way. This workshop will introduce you to some of the insect predators in the garden and how to encourage them to work on your side.

Sept 14th…Sweet Potato Variety Trial. We have 5 different varieties of this really nutritious vegetable. We’ll showcase how we use plastic mulches to help control weeds around the often quite large plants, and we’ll dig some of each variety to see how each is producing in this side by side trial.

 

 

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program

The Fauquier Education Farm also plays a unique role in support of the Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. These are two multi-week courses for folks who are new to, or dreaming of launching, a farming business.

The first is called the Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program, which we have been teaching since 2011. It is a Whole Farm Planning course using the curriculum developed by the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program. The Fauquier Education Farm has partnered with several Agricultural Extension Agents from surrounding counties to present this course and help guide new farmers on their path to becoming professionals.

The second course is, An Introduction to Getting Your Hands Dirty. In this course we take a careful look at what goes into field grown crop production. Our students should expect to learn a basic level understanding of the concepts and tools necessary to grow crops. It includes two labs at the Education Farm and a farm tour.

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