The Farmer Education Course (‘PEPA’) is for individuals and families that want to start or develop an organic farm or gain valuable job skills to increase their career opportunities in agriculture.
(PEPA stands for Programa Educativo para Pequeños Agricultores in Spanish)
PEPA provides experiential entrepreneurship and job training in small farm management and organic vegetable production. The curriculum utilizes classroom instruction, hands-on field based training, farmer mentoring, and field trips to give participants the necessary tools and experience to improve their career options. In addition, students group farm and manage a 1-acre practice plot over several growing cycles.
The entire course lasts for 10 months (NOV – SEP) and covers 6 modules:
The classes are conducted bilingually in English and Spanish.
ALBA and Hartnell’s Agriculture and Business Technology Institute (ABTI) partner in providing PEPA. Currently, students who attend PEPA at ALBA can earn up to 9.5 units through Hartnell that count towards college degree and certificate programs, including Small Farm Operation and Management.
The hours are designed to accommodate individuals that may already have full-time work or school commitments. Generally, the class meets one evening (6-9pm) per week for a lecture and one weekend afternoon (1-5:30pm) for “field day” activities.
Application packets are generally mailed out in the late summer to start PEPA later that fall. Participants wishing to complete the whole course are ranked and selected for interviews. However, Hartnell students are free to sign up for individual modules without going through the interview process.
Fees for the course are based on a sliding scale according to an applicant’s annual income and number of dependents. Fees are paid at the beginning of each individual module. The ALBA fees for students who take the course for units through Hartnell are waived (with the exception of a $25 per module materials fee), but additional college fees may apply.
For more information on PEPA, please contact Nathan Harkleroad, ALBA’s Agriculture Education Program Manager, at email@example.com or 831-758-1469 ext. 11.