Information for International Applicants
Thank you for your interest in the Learn to Farm Program at the Farm School. Before applying, please review the following information to ensure that this program is a good fit for what you are looking for and that you meet the criteria for admission.
Course Location and Content:
The Farm School is located in rural Massachusetts, a state in the Northeastern United States. We are about an hour and a half by car from Boston, with very limited access to public transportation. We have four distinct seasons, and our growing season runs from April – November. We have very cold winters with temperatures that sometimes don’t rise above freezing for months at a time and significant snow accumulation, often a couple feet high. The program runs year-round with outside work every day in all weather conditions.
The main focus of the program is small scale organic farming: including growing mixed vegetable crops for direct marketing to urban consumers, raising sheep, cows and pigs on pasture and forestry work including felling trees. Our scale is 12 acres of vegetable crops. Our farming activities are very diverse and our teaching pedagogy is practical learn-by-doing. All students participate in all aspects of the program, both academic and physical work. Over the year, about a third of the program is academic and two thirds is outside farm work, with the balance of the outside work leaning towards the fields in May-September.
The program teaches farming practices particular to our conditions of soil, climate, markets and resource availability. Specifically, we are teaching methods appropriate for farming in reasonably fertile soils, in temperate seasonal climates, with access to sophisticated consumer markets that demand high quality organic produce. We farm in a way that pays tribute to the agricultural heritage of our region of the United States, raising the crops that grow well here using techniques that work here. We are not a rural development or appropriate technology program, nor do we focus on comparative techniques. We are not highly mechanized and our farming practices tend towards traditional and organic methods, rather than “modern.”
Fluency in English is essential to participating in the program. Classes are rigorous, with significant assigned readings and students must be able to effectively and efficiently communicate and understand instructions in the field for everyone’s safety.
Unlike many universities and colleges, the Farm School is located in a rural and relatively isolated region without access to many services or conveniences. It is essential that you have enough money to support yourself, complete the course, and purchase health insurance (either at home or here) for the duration of your stay, as well as cover transportation costs to and from the United States. If you are accepted into the program, it is expected that you will live in the Farmhouse Dorm. Room and Board will be included with your tuition and materials fee of $18,500.
It is possible to apply for scholarships and tuition assistance. Please see our Tuition and Financial Support Structure information.
International Application Deadlines (including Canada and Mexico):
Deadline for Application: February 15
Deadline for Application for Financial Support: February 15
Please submit your application for financial support at the same time as your program application.
We hope this information has been helpful in explaining the focus of our program. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.