Farm Foundations Training and Incubator

Three women carrying broadforks towards a barn

Farm Foundations Training

APPLY TODAY for the 2024 cohort with the priority deadline being November 15, 2023.

Designed to give participants a full season farm internship experience without a full-time commitment, this free training will combine classroom learning with hands on skill building. Farm Foundations will give participants an introduction to ecosystem theory and agro-ecology, soil and plant science, as well as farm planning and management. Each week participants will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through physical farm work and observation. A share of the farm's harvest will be provided to each program participant throughout the course of the season. 


Farm Foundations Incubator

Our Farm Foundations program has expanded to include an incubator space for new growers. We have leased 4.5 acres from WSU Extension at their Goss Research Farm on Highway 162 outside Sumner. We are currently accepting applications for the 2023 growing season. If you are a farmer interested in growing at the incubator please click here to complete the application. For questions or more information about the program please reach out to Erica Hernandez at

Farm Foundations Training FAQs

What is the time commitment and schedule?

Farm Foundations is a five hour per week program that starts in late February and runs through October. The program starts with that time being split between evening classes and time in the field. In the summer we spend all our five hours in the field and then shift back to a split schedule for fall classes in October. Fields days will be determined based on the applicant pool’s availability. Typically there are two weekdays and a Saturday option to choose from. The final schedule will be sent out with acceptance emails.

How much does the program cost?

Farm Foundations is a free program. There is no charge to participate. We also provide you notebooks and other classroom supplies, as well as boots, gloves, and rain gear while working on the farm. Cohort members are required to transport themselves to and from the farm.

Where does the program take place?

Farm Foundations is held at The Farm at Franklin Pierce in the Summit Waller area. You can read more about the site and find the address further down this page. In the 2020 season we will be expanding to hold some field days at Mother Earth Farm, operated by the Emergency Food Network.

What if I know I can’t commit to the full season?

Let us know what your scheduling challenges might be when you apply. We prioritize acceptance for people able to commit to the entire program, however we do look at extenuating circumstances and are willing to work with you if needed.

What are the physical requirements for participation?

Farm work is hard work! We will regularly be kneeling, bending up and down, and carrying or pulling heavy bins of vegetables. If you have physical limitations, let us know that in your application. We can typically assign work around people’s capabilities and it isn’t a disqualifying factor for the program. With that said, there are some things we cannot change, such as the layout and accessibility of the farm itself. There is uneven terrain and no paved walking paths on the farm, so if mobility is a big concern please reach out to talk about whether the program would be a good fit. 

Is there an age limit?

There is no upper age limit for Farm Foundations. The program is geared towards adults, though high school students are also welcome to apply. In the 2019 cohort our youngest member was 21 and our oldest member was 72.

Can I bring my kids with me?

You can. We don’t have specific activities for kids to do while we are working in the field so you will be responsible for keeping them engaged with the work to whatever level you would like them to participate. You will also be responsible for making sure that they are listening to and following the safety instructions for being at the farm. We have had multiple participants successfully bring their kids with them on a weekly basis from age 2 to 7. It is ultimately up to you to figure out what will work best for your situation.

Can I bring food home with me?

Yes! Typically starting in April we will have a weekly share of food for cohort members to take home. Additionally we encourage participants to take more when available to share with friends and family.

The Farm at Franklin Pierce

Situated on an eight acre site owned by the Franklin Pierce School District, the Farm consists of a two acre vegetable farm, an orchard, and community garden space - all managed in partnership between Harvest Pierce County and Franklin Pierce schools. The Farm has become a teaching and learning space that not only engages hundreds of students and community members in education related to sustainable agriculture, but also provides food for the school cafeteria, district families, and food banks around the county. The Farm at Franklin Pierce Schools is one of the main farming sites for our Farm Foundations Program. 

Mother Earth Farm

Emergency Food Network's Mother Earth Farm distributes more than 120,000 pounds of fresh organic produce from 8 acres in the Puyallup Valley. All the food grown there is donated directly to food banks. Mother Earth Farm is another primary farm site where our Farm Foundations program goes to learn and grow throughout the season.