The Horn Farm Center believes in the power of education. By demonstrating and teaching holistic land management practices that provide food along with ecological and economic benefits, we are building a community of skilled land stewards.
Our Training Program History:
Since its founding, the Horn Farm Center has equipped over 100 farmers, gardeners, and land stewards with hands-on training through its signature land-based training programs. Between 2010 and 2016, the Horn Farm offered a Farm Incubator Program that provided prospective and beginner farmers with prime farmland, infrastructure, marketing resources, and business planning education. This evolved into a signature Farmer Training Program in 2016, equipping aspiring farmers, including farm incubator participants, with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of starting a small-scale, ecologically-grounded agribusiness.
As the Center’s scope evolved and the Farmer Training Program space took on a farm rental and CSA model, the Woodland Steward Training Program was added in 2018 to teach holistic land management and agroforestry: companions to the Horn Farm’s new regenerative focus. Today this program goes by the Land Steward Training Program, capturing the variety of ecosystems–woodlands, wetlands, ecotones, and human-managed spaces–that students encounter. With the introduction of the Ecological Gardener Training Program in 2022, community members can now explore more ways than ever to become well-rounded, activated, and confident healers of earth’s natural and tended spaces.
Land Steward Training Program
In 2021, we launched our signature Land Steward Training Program (LSTP), which is designed to train the next generation of land stewards.
This immersive four-month learning experience focuses on deep ecological literacy and practical skill-building to inspire versatile, compassionate, and activated caretakers of impaired natural landscapes. Some program participants are exploring a career in land stewardship, while many others are homeowners, volunteers, and community members looking to improve ecology and nature-connection in the spaces they call home. All participants walk away with foundational and practical knowledge suited for a lifetime of continued learning and earth care, enriching our community’s capacity for restoring faltering ecosystems, rebuilding lost habitat, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and reawakening our sense of belonging on the landscape.
Ecological Gardener Training Program
The Ecological Gardener Training Program (EGTP) was launched in 2022 in partnership with Elyse Jurgen of Waxwing EcoWorks. This program focuses on rebuilding biodiversity and other ecosystem services in human-managed and human-impacted spaces.
Over four months of learning that coincide with the Land Steward Training Program, participants dig deep into native plants, plant communities, and regional landscape patterns that inform the design, creation, and stewardship of biodiverse native habitat gardens supporting the well-being of people, wildlife, and the ecosystem services we depend on. Some program participants are exploring a career in ecological landscaping, while others are seeking to enhance pollinator and wildlife resilience through home-scale lawn conversion, rain garden installation in community spaces, and wildlands restoration. Beyond a practical basis for bringing ecological gardening to the spaces they live, work, and play, participants walk away with a deepened sense of place and connection to local landscapes.
Beekeeper Training Program
Taught by Mark Gingrich of Gingrich Apiaries, the Horn Farm’s Beekeeper Training Program explores beekeeping from its scientific underpinnings to implementing a hive at home.
The program is designed for two years of engagement. In the first year, participants learn the basics of honeybee biology and hive tending through classroom sessions in the winter followed by in-person hive inspections at the Horn Farm during the warm seasons. Year one culminates with each participant having the option to transfer a bee colony to their home property. Following the same trajectory as the first year, participants in the second year revisit program content in a new light: now managing their own hive at home. This continued engagement allows new beekeepers to ask emergent questions, troubleshoot, and remain connected to the class community.