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NC State Extension

Small Farm Boot Camp: Production Training Program

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Small Farm Boot Camp Logo

Small Farm Boot Camp is a North Carolina Cooperative Extension Program developed by the Growing Farm Capacity Workgroup within the Local Food Program Team. Its goal is to provide a structured curriculum coupled with activities such as farm visits, live demonstrations, and in-person instruction to small-scale and beginning farmers.

Small Farm Boot Camp participants

Small Farm Boot Camp participants visit Millstone Creek Orchards in Randolph County to learn about fruit production.

Supporting small-scale and new and beginning farmers is essential to supporting our local food system in North Carolina. According to the 2022 Ag Census, there were nearly 23,000 new and beginning farmers in North Carolina alone. We have also seen growth in the value of direct to consumer sales and food sold directly to retail markets, institutions, and food hubs for locally or regionally branded products.

Extension Agents developed the idea for a program focusing on farm production and handling, developing direct to consumer, wholesale, and retail market channels, and value-added and processing for small-scale and new and beginning farmers based on the need they saw in their own communities and discussed with agents across the state. From these conversations, specific topics of need were identified and confirmed with agents and specialists. Agents and specialists collaborated to develop the modules that make up the Small Farm Bootcamp curriculum.

The goal of Small Farm Boot Camp is to provide resources to small-scale farmers and producers who are beginning a business. The curriculum also supports Extension Agents who can teach the training modules by providing resources and a packaged curriculum to use. The curriculum is focused primarily on production and was designed to supplement the NC Farm School. It currently includes three curriculum tracks/focuses with 13 modules total, which are outlined in the visual below:
Graphic showing Small Farm Boot Camp curriculum tracks

Each module is designed to be completed in 2 to 4 hours of instruction, not including farm tours, field trips, or extra optional activities. Depending on the curriculum track you decide to follow and how often you are able to host sessions, the entire SFBC program can take around 6 to 9 weeks to complete. 

   Get Engaged With Small Farm Boot Camp

Extension Agents

Are you interested in hosting SFBC in your county? We offer agent training through NCSU Reporter so that you can learn more about SFBC and how to successfully conduct your own program! After the training is complete, you will have access to all the curriculum materials and resources. 

To access the training, please visit this link that will take you to where the SFBC Training is located within our Agent Resources page  (Unity ID required).


 If you are interested in participating in a SFBC program, please reach out to your local County Extension Office. They may already be planning to host a program in your area. If not, please express your interest in having a SFBC program in your area.