northern diversity in agriculture program
This program in funded in part by the Agriculture Canada AgriDiversity Program and is designed to reduce barriers for people underrepresented in Canadian agriculture. It’s goal is to provide support for women, Indigenous people and youth and there are scholarships available to support you!
Gain hands-on experience working alongside our staff to build your skills. This is a flexible training program available all year with a focus on market garden development or animal husbandry.
A wide variety of training courses from 1 – to 3 days aimed to provide the knowledge, tools and experience you need to build your confidence and become a successful northern farmer.
Introduce youth in your community to the potential of agricultural careers! We will support you to provide youth garden experiences and build your organizational / personal capacity.
We are happy to provide specialized consultation services to support your project. We can create unique custom courses for your group based on any of our training course topics. Please contact us for details on pricing and availability.
Hosting at NFTI
Our beautiful farm campus is available at all times of the year for hosting staff retreats, workshops and group tours. We have a large yurt classroom for meetings, yurt accommodations, kitchen and dining, walking trails, access to the river, local food and knowledgable staff. Please see the ‘Farm Campus’ page for more information.
Training Courses Descriptions
Market Garden Internship Program
Grow food, make money! This 400-hour work training program for Indigenous people; flexible dates and hours to fit the students’ needs, with additional training in their community.
Spring Semester (May/June) – Designing and Building Productive Gardens
Summer Semester (July/August) – Garden Maintenance & Marketing
Fall Semester (August/September) – Harvesting, Food Preservation and Value-adding
Winter Semester (November-February) – Market Garden Business Planning & Winter Activities
Northern Farmer Introductory Courses
Build your confidence to become a successful farmer through this flexible series taught by expert northerners with experiential courses in regenerative agriculture. These courses have flexible dates and can be customized for your group. Please see the Program Schedule above for current scheduled dates.
Building Healthy Soil
- Creating potting soil and outdoor garden soil using natural local materials, biochar, compost and more
- Using and understanding soil tests and analysis
- Soil fertility: worm composting, backyard/greenhouse composting, large-scale community compost systems, dynamic accumulators, fish fertilizer, creating activated biochar
- Protecting soil: soil science, cultivation techniques, supporting microbial diversity and building soil carbon
Spring Greenhouses (April/May)
- Designing and building productive northern greenhouses and spring garden supports (irrigation, ventilation, etc)
- Planning greenhouse crops, seed selection, seeding techniques
- Care for seedlings
- Management of northern greenhouses for optimal production
Northern Garden Design
- Planning your crops for market, northern food production, youth exploration and learning
- Design techniques: square-foot gardening, urban farming, SPIN farming, biointensive garden design, companion planting and more
- Building outdoor garden spaces
- Irrigation system design
Food Forests – Permaculture
- Learn about food forests in northern climates (perennial plants, wild rice, mushrooms, bee keeping, wild food for animal husbandry and more)
- Selecting plants for permaculture design & techniques for planting that mimic nature
- Designing a northern orchard
- Beneficial insects & learning from garden pests
- Wild food harvesting
Marketing and Small Business Development
- Gardening for profit and markets
- Various harvesting methods, handling produce, packing/portioning
- Mid-season relay planting and greenhouse operations
- Business development including acquiring business license, financial planning, applying for funding and branding
- Market planning (sales strategies, what to plant, how much, how it will be sold, planning for winter sales and cooked meals)
- Running a local food café in your community
Garden Harvest & Preservation
- Harvesting crops for optimum nutrition and storagability
- Designing and building food storage systems
- Preservation techniques including: dehydrating, freezing, live storage, canning, jamming, picklying, lactofermentation
- Food safety techniques and kitchen designs
Summer Student Training (available in July & August)
Are you an employer or summer employee who will be working with gardens, youth or food-related activities this season? This training is for hands-on career related learning and can be customized for your position. One-Day to Three-Day + Options available with on-farm accommodations and local food included.
Topics the training can include:
- Designing and building productive northern gardens, making good use of resources
- Using garden tools including rototillers, hand tools and specialized garden equipment, garden irrigation
- Soil science, soil building / fertility and monitoring soil health
- Composting, community waste management
- Working with children in a garden and building youth gardens and gardens for elders / persons with disabilities
- Harvesting and handling garden produce
- Value-adding, marketing, sales, business development opportunities
- Healthy cooking, food preservation, canning, freezing, dehydrating, root cellar storage
- Building skills for fencing, small garden construction and more!
Introduction to Farming
- Intro to keeping poultry (chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys) and rabbits in the North
- All about sheep, goats, pigs, cattle/yak and others; breeds, uses, housing, feed and management
- Introduction to Holistic Management and healing the land with animals
- Land planning, holistic planned grazing and ecological monitoring basics
- Abattoirs and local meat businesses, small scale farm equipment
Fall Greenhouses: Extending the Season (August/September)
- Late summer / fall greenhouse management
- Protecting your crops and extending the season
- Value-adding and marketing
From-the-Land Cooking Classes
Learn about cooking and value-adding with our local food! We cook with all locally harvested or grown food with simple, healthy recipes that can be made in bulk and stored or developed into cafe/business opportunities.
- Meal planning for pop-up cafes
- Delicious soups from local veggies
- Making jam, pickles, soup mixes
- Canning fish
- Family-friendly recipes like pizzas, fruit rollups, popsicles and veggie chips
Waste Reduction for Communities & Farmers
- Experience NFTI’s robust paper, cardboard, and food waste recycling programs
- Hands-on learning around composting in the backyard, on the farm and in the community
- Introduction to soil science and soil for gardening
- Introduction to Compost Facility Operator Training for municipal workers looking to build centralized composting systems in their community
- Design a waste reduction strategy for your community or farm
Northern Animal Husbandry
- Animal care; nutrition and housing needs, animal health and record keeping, newborn care, trimming hooves, shearing wool, castration, etc.
- Hatching and raising chicks from an incubator, breeding selection
- Animal feed and bedding from the North
- Fencing, portable animal pen construction
- Protecting the herd from predators
- Silvopasture and agroforestry techniques
- Butchery and meat processing
NFTI is an accredited Savory Hub with an Accredited Professional who can teach you / your group:
- Ecological monitoring
- Holistic decision making
- Holistic planned grazing
- Holistic financial planning
- Holistic land management
Available By-Demand: Custom course design for your organization.
Youth Garden Explorers Facilitator Training
Do you work with children in the summer and want training and supplies to develop a gardening club with tools and lesson plans? These custom courses are designed to give you the skills to introduce youth to agriculture. Contact us for details.
If you would like to learn more about course availability or book an event for your group, please visit our Facebook page or contact us! Contact us