Aspiring Farmers

We Grow Farmers

There’s a little dirt inside all of us. Dig yours out in the California Farm Academy.

Whether you’re purchasing your first shovel or looking to expand a thriving enterprise, the California Farm Academy can help you plow ahead smarter and faster.

People holding plants

The Explorer Course

The Explorer Course is designed to orient the farm-curious to the realities of cultivation, animal husbandry, and entrepreneurship. The 7-day crash course will help you decide whether starting an agricultural business is realistic for you and how to take practical next steps. Down-and-dirty farming experience and a field trip are included. Participants who decide to take the plunge can graduate into the Beginning Farmer Training Program and launch their farming journey.

Center for Land-Based Learning images in West Sacramento, CA locations April 27, 2021.

Photo by Fred Greaves 

The Beginning Farmer Training Program

The Beginning Farmer Training Program is a 7-month, part-time program that provides aspiring farmers a foundation from which to launch and cultivate their ag-based businesses. Adult participants are immersed in a broad curriculum that combines classroom lectures, hands-in field experience, and farm visits that touch topics like crop planning, farm management, finances, and botany. The program culminates with the creation of business plans and the opportunity to enter the Farm Business Incubator, which is the California Farm Academy’s third phase.

The California Farm Academy Farm Business Incubator supports beginning farmers by providing access to land, infrastructure, and ongoing training. Our farmers initiate their farm enterprises, experiment with production techniques, and develop markets. They refine their business plans with support from mentors on staff and in the community. Plots of land from one-quarter acre or more, as well as greenhouse and cooler space on some sites, can be leased on an annual basis. Participants exit the program with confidence, experience, knowledge, and a higher chance of success. Low cost land leases are available in Winters, Davis, and West Sacramento.


Reach your peak faster in partnership with the California Farm Academy Apprenticeship Program. By training aspiring farm managers and working directly with enterprises looking to hire, CLBL addresses California’s workforce shortage with a closed-loop model that’s good for people and profit.

The Apprenticeship Program is a formal apprenticeship registered with the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards that combines paid, on-the-job training with job-related instruction. Our trainers shepherd high-capacity farmworkers up their career ladder by providing practical experience, valuable skills, mentorship, and an industry-recognized credential. The program lasts approximately two years, and upon completion of the program, the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards graduates apprentices to a Journeyman level in the occupation of a Beginning Farm and Ranch Manager.

A headshot of Khristine Pintor