Market Growers School


Loving of the Land Concert

Date: April 11, 2015, 7:30pm
Location: UW-Madison Music Hall

more events


CIAS Mini-Grants Support Graduate Student Research in Sustainable Agriculture

CIAS supports innovative graduate student research addressing the challenges faced by small- and medium-sized farms and food businesses. Awarded annually, our competitive mini-grants aid students as they initiate their research in sustainable agriculture and food systems.

CIAS Eco-Fruit Program Receives Wisconsin Idea Award

Since 2000, the CIAS Eco-Fruit program has been helping growers reduce or eliminate risk from pesticides by using IPM. Participating growers have reduced their pesticide risk by 46 percent and increased their reliance on IPM strategies by 54 percent.


Service Learning in South Africa

CIAS Director Mike Bell and ten UW-Madison students are spending part of their winter break in South Africa. Bell is leading the students in a service learning course on the agroecology of health.

more blog

Wisconsin School For Beginning Market Growers

You bring your gardening background and interest and hopes for your own market garden or small vegetable farm. We expose you to what you need to know and plan for as you set seeds and grow.

January 9-11, 2015. Download the 2015 flyer and registration information here.
Register online

The intensive three-day course demonstrates what it takes to set up and run a successful market garden or small farm.

What do we offer?

  • A unique program that combines knowledge from experienced growers and UW faculty
  • Opportunities to understand basic concepts in market gardening and what it takes to organize this type of business
  • A holistic approach to growing and marketing
  • Extended time with three experienced growers, each offering unique perspectives, invaluable tips and practical know-how
  • A chance to network and learn from fellow gardeners, farmers and entrepreneurs
  • In addition to the three-day course, Special Topic Seminars and Workshops focus on specific issues facing new and experienced growers.

This course aims to give students a realistic picture of what it takes to run a successful small-scale produce operation—including capital, management, labor and other resources. Topics include soil fertility, crop production, plant health and pest management, cover crops, equipment needs and labor considerations at different scales of operation, and marketing and economics. Three grower instructors primarily teach the course, with featured presentations and hands-on labs by UW faculty and other specialists. Grower-instructors’ farms vary in scale, cropping mix, marketing strategies and growing methods.

Special topic seminars and workshops

These sessions for new or experienced growers provide opportunities for concentrated attention on key aspects of market farming. Topics are based on the needs of interests of people like you…so let us know what kinds of workshops you’d like to see offered.

What do we mean by “market garden”?

We use a fairly broad definition of market garden. The course attracts a wide variety of folks, from people wanting to start a small market garden in their backyard, to people with one to two acres who see this as a part-time job, to people looking to grow 10, 20, or more acres of vegetables for various retail and wholesale markets. The grower-instructors, who range in farm scale and marketing strategy, help meet the variety of interests and needs brought by students.

What past students say:

  • “Terrific course, very helpful and motivating. I felt the first day easily paid for the tuition.”
  • “The grower-instructors were all fantastic; the diversity in their farm sizes and modes of farming and marketing was excellent.”
  • “The most useful aspect of the course was all the real-life experiences of the grower-instructors and how farming has affected their lives.”
  • “The course notebook has proven to be a very useful resource. I’ve used it again and again.”


The three-day course is usually held January or February, because it is taught by experienced growers with farms to manage. Special Topic Seminars and Workshops may be held throughout the winter.

For more information and application materials contact:

John Hendrickson
Phone: (608) 265-3704
Fax: (608) 265-3020

Register online