Available courses

The local food movement has been growing beyond farmers markets and farm stands. Today, you can find farm-fresh food in restaurants, small grocery stores, and institutions. As consumers becoming more interested in purchasing local food and supporting their local farms, an opportunity is growing for small farmers to sell into new and larger markets.

The first lesson, explains what intermediated markets are and their potential for small farmers. Throughout the tutorial, be sure to check the “Resources” tab in the upper left corner, where we’ve uploaded a variety of resources and worksheets to accompany this tutorial.

This tutorial serves as an introduction to food safety topics for produce growers, with information on FSMA rules, GAP certification, and writing a farm food safety plan. Food safety considerations are critical for the long-term success of your farming operation and this tutorial will equip you with the tools and resources to begin to implement food safety practices on your own farm. The lessons in this tutorial include an introduction to produce safety on the farm, rules for produce safety under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the GAP certification and audit process, and developing your own farm food safety plan. Whether you are wanting to become GAP certified, learn more about how the FSMA Produce Safety Rule affects your farm, or just become better-educated on food safety topics, this tutorial will help you become better-informed to reduce the food safety risks on your farm and ensure the long-term success of your operation.

Have you heard that changing the way you manage your grazing animals can change the condition of your land and finances for the better? Interested in finding out more about how managing your livestock can improve your soil health, your pasture condition and your bottom line? This tutorial features sessions taught by National Center for Appropriate Technology specialists who are also livestock producers. They share years of experience managing their own pastures to inspire you to start wherever you are and build or refine your own managed grazing systems. Detailed presentations and real-world examples will get you on the road to managed grazing.

Each of the lessons include a quiz; run times given allow time to hear all the slides and take the quiz, but not explore any of the resources embedded in the lesson.  Each lesson includes a rich collection, hand-picked by the author, of videos, articles, and lists of helpful books, websites, and organizations.  These resources are featured at the top of each page for easy access.  Each lesson includes examples of producers who are using managed grazing on their own farms.

Note that these lessons build on each other, although you can take the lessons in any order you choose.  However, within each lesson, you must listen to all the slides.  The program will not allow students to skip ahead.  You may repeat slides by using the button on the page. To receive a certificate, you must pass each quiz in the course.

This tutorial focuses on giving you tools to implement ecologically-based pest management strategies. The five lessons in this tutorial provide information on what ecological pest management is, how to get started, how to implement preventive strategies, biological controls, and how to use NCAT and ATTRA resources. There are also resources to help you develop your own ecological pest management strategy for your farm.

Soil health is critical to the sustainability and profitability of all farms and ranches.  This tutorial will give producers the tools they need to assess their soil health, understand the principles behind soil health management, and learn practices they can use to return soils to a healthy state.  There are five principles to sustainable soil management that will be discussed throughout these lessons: keeping the soil covered, maintaining living roots, including a diversity of plants, limiting soil disturbance, and including livestock where possible.  If farmers are able to model their operations on the soil-forming processes seen in the natural environment, their soils can be regenerated and remain rich, productive, and resilient for generations.  This tutorial will give farmers the tools needed to understand how to invest in their soils wisely. 

Scaling up for regional markets often refers to an increase in the amount of land in production, herd size, enterprises, or markets. Scaling up can also refer to improving current production systems in order to increase sales. In either case, there are many risks and challenges associated in scaling up, especially as a farmer prepares to gain access in to the wholesale market. This tutorial provides lessons and information for farmers who have success in smaller and more direct marketing channels and who are interested in expanding their operations to meet a growing demand for local food.

This series of lessons is designed for farmers that would like to increase the energy efficiency of their farm and processes.  It features tutorials on farm building efficiency, outdoor lighting, irrigation efficiency, solar, small-scale wind, and biodiesel.