Soil, Plant, and Organic Methods Course


The 13th annual “Soil Course” is open for registration. This spring course is for farmers, gardeners, and others interested in the world of soil, plant health and function. This course covers foundational and current soil science, crop science, and soil maintenance principles with a focus on organic/regenerative/sustainable farming methodology.

If you require a discounted ticket please contact John at S2S contact

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For Who? This material will be accessible and stimulating for any kind of grower from any background (farming, gardening, landscaping, etc). Although the material may be challenging for the beginner it will be presented with an introductory focus.

What’s Covered?

Class One focuses on the physical and chemical nature of soil, origins of New England soils, and the nature of soil organic matter.

Class Two explores the metabolic function of plants and how soil-acquired mineral nutrition becomes reorganized into plant tissue.

Class Three begins to explain the complex world of soil microbiology and the ecological role they play on our farms, forests and meadows.

Class Four takes all the subjects we discussed in the first three classes and tries to illuminate management strategies for smart growing.

Where Abouts?  We will be offering class virtually and in person at Bell Street Chapel, 5 Bell Street Providence RI  .

What Days and Time? Course will be offered during the weekend of March 23th and 24th.  There are two classes per day (four classes total), each running about 1.5-2 hours.  Class will start at 1pm and end around 5-5:30pm (half hour break between classes).

What’s the Charge?  Current sliding scale is a requested  $75-$ 150.  Please pay what you can afford.  NOFA/RI scholarships are typically available.  Contact John to inquire about scholarships.   None are turned away

Instructor?  Classes are led by Big Train Farm owner/manager John Kenny.  John has over 20 years of experience as an organic farmer as well as an academic background in biology and chemistry.  John approaches this course with a farmer to farmer/gardner focus.  All though the course is science-heavy it will be presented in familiar context and analogy.  For more info on John and the methods of Big Train Farm use this link.

The class was fantastic! There are a million theories on best practices of soil care. Each method that John taught was presented with the caveat that each farmer should practice whatever method works for them. He shared what he practiced at his own farm as well as the practices of major figures in the industry. He presents ideas vs. preaching them. Besides the two day course diving very, VERY deep into the chemistry and biology of the soil, John also made it light-hearted and engaging throughout the two days. I left the course with lots of ideas to experiment with on my own land.”

I found the class to be really informative.  It contextualized much of what I know about soil science and integrated new perspectives as well.  It has certainly changed the way I farm and work in the garden.  My only personal complaint was that the course wasn’t long enough.  I know it’s already a dense weekend, but I could learn about this stuff for days.”