Wild Willow Farm & Education Center
Wild Willow Farm & Education Center is a six-acre working farm located in the southwest corner of the United States, less than three miles from the Pacific Ocean and two-thirds mile north of the Mexican Border. The farm is nestled along the banks of the scenic Tijuana River, and borders the river's stunningly beautiful estuary nature preserve. We're a 15-minute drive from downtown San Diego, with easy and quick access from most of urban south San Diego County.
Having opened our fields on the Summer Solstice of 2010, Wild Willow Farm is now in its fourth year of developing a farm and growing food while educating local citizenry about sustainable farming, permaculture and how to live sustainably in our region. The farm continues to evolve rapidly both on and off the ground.
Introduction to Farming
Revised format: now quicker and more affordable.
CLASSES at University of San Diego (Linda Vista)
FIELD LABS at Wild Willow Farm
Cost: $400 + $25 registration fee (includes required textbook)
Wild Willow Farm's Farming 101: Introduction to Farming course offers students an introduction to techniques and strategies for small farming or agricultural advocacy, or to simply grow more of their own food.
2015 Farming 101 Course Dates
SPRING Mar 28 to May 2 SESSION NOW BOOKING
SUMMER July 8 to Aug 8
SUMMER-FALL Aug 22 to Sep 26
FALL Oct 3 to Nov 7
The course consists of lectures and field labs where students learn what it takes to begin and operate a small organic farm business. This course is a prerequisite to becoming a Tier 1 Farming Student.
Farming 101 Class Schedule
Saturday, March 28 9am-noon (includes farm lunch)
Topic: Welcome, History of WWF, Farm Tour, Staff & Student Introductions; Introductory lecture: In the Spirit of Organics.
Film Symphony of the Soil after lunch (optional).
Wednesday Class: It Starts with the Soil
Saturday Lab: Making & using compost, mulching, sheet composting, cover cropping.
Wednesday Class: Growing Fertile Soil
Saturday Lab: Farm tools -- proper use and care; Evaluating soil texture and moisture; Bed preparation; Mechanical and manual tillage; Compost tea and extract.
Wednesday Class: Seasonal Planting Techniques
Saturday Lab: Direct Sowing and Transplanting; Starting seeds; Planting practice.
Wednesday Class: How Water Moves through the Soil
Saturday Lab: Irrigation practice and watering your farm under the southern sun.
Wednesday Class: Pests, Pathogens & Attracting Beneficial Insects
Saturday Lab: Identifying pests, pathogens and beneficials, harvesting practice, cooking.
Ongoing Farm School Programs
Continue your farming education in our year-round School for Sustainable Farming program, with weekly classes, hands-on mentoring and additional enrollment benefits.
Now enrolling for Full and Half Shares
Pickups in Imperial Beach, Chula Vista,
Mission Hills and Talmadge
You are invited to become a Wild Willow Farm Shareholder -- our version of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Each weekly or bi-weekly Share includes a seasonal selection of farm-fresh vegetables with occasional fruits, cut flowers, and herbs -- the equivalent of about one grocery bag full of just-harvested produce. Contents of your Share will vary based on seasons and production cycles, but we aim for consistent volume.
every week for 12 weeks = $240
every other week for 12 weeks = $120
Both Full and Half Shares are $20/each/week, and are the same size. You may join any time shares are available.
New Drop sites sought!
You can apply to become a FarmShare drop site with five or more weekly subscriptions (locations south of Interstate 8 and west of Interstate 15 preferred). To find out more, contact Dorothea at
Open Volunteering at Wild Willow Farm
every Saturday, 11am to 4pm (rain cancels)
No experience necessary. No reservations required.
Volunteer for all or a portion of the hours listed.
Come to the farm and participate in your food system as we grow Wild Willow Farm. Often the best way to learn is by doing, and you'll get a taste of the myriad things a farmer does while preparing and growing San Diego seasonal plantings of vegetables, greens, medicinal and culinary herbs and cover crops.
On-farm chores vary widely week to week and depend entirely on what's happening at the farm that day. Usual activities include composting (hands-on learning every week), watering, bed prep, weeding, mulching, animal care, planting and tending a huge range of plants and more.
No reservations are required. We've got the gloves, tools and tasks, just come prepared for sunshine and dirt (sun hat, appropriate clothing, sturdy closed-toe shoes) and please bring a lunch. We have plenty of drinking water, but having your own water bottle makes it easier for you.
Children: You may bring kids of any age you feel suitable to be around a farm, including contact with dirt, bugs, thistles and burrs, farm animals, tools, and nature. Rest assured we do not use any harmful chemicals on the soil or food we grow. Children must remain under your direct supervision or awareness at all times; we'll do our best to find appropriate activities for your family. Please no unacompanied children unless by prior arrangement, such as for school service hours. Wild Willow Farm does not offer childcare services and the farm is not a playground.
We welcome people of all ages and abilities, but please leave your pets at home.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Volunteering, Yoga, Native Plant Tour, Farm Tour,
Potluck, Live Music, Wood-fired Pizza, Bonfire and more.
at Wild Willow Farm
click here for a map (we recommend you use our map)
(donations in support of our programs are appreciated)
Check out photos from the May 2014 potluck,
taken by our friend Gregory Berg!
Schedule for the Day
11am to 4pm: Volunteer on the farm
Learn while doing.
1pm to 4pm: CLASS: No-till Farming and Gardening
Learn to build soil fertility organically! This class covers the basics of soil science, soil analysis, and cover crops (both perennial and annual). We'll go through the steps needed to get your farm or garden to no-till.
4pm: Farm YogaLed by Niina Lobbestael in the Field Classroom (donations requested; meet in the barn).
5pm: Farm Tour
Led by Wild Willow staff and students. See what we do, and learn why and how we do it.
Know your farmer, know your farm, know your food.
5pm: Native Plant Wildlife Tour
Interpretive walk through the beautiful the TJ River Park to learn about native habitat and wildlife
led by experts Lisa Ordóñez or Lindsay Willrick.
6:00pm: POTLUCK and live bluegrass by The Big Decisions
with farm-made, organic sourdough wood-fired pizza (donations requested).
Please bring something yummy to share!
Dusk: -- BRING DRUMS
Our farm is all about community, so what better way to say that than by hosting a monthly community gathering? On third Saturdays each month from March through November, we host volunteer opportunities, tours, a grand potluck meal, and bonfire.
Something yummy to share (extra points for something homemade using organic, locally grown ingredients). Please label your dish and ingredients (share your recipes!).
Your own plate, cup and eating utensils help us keep this a zero-waste event.
Please pack out your recylables and trash.
Jacket and warm clothing. It gets surprisingly cold here at night.
We welcome everyone, but please leave your pets at home.
Children: You may bring kids of any age you feel suitable to be around a farm, including contact with dirt, bugs, thistles and burrs, farm animals, tools, and nature. Children must remain under your direct supervision or awareness at all times. Please no unacompanied children. Wild Willow Farm does not offer childcare services and the farm is not a playground.
About our potlucks: volunteering, free mini-workshops, farm tour, potluck, bonfire, drumming. Farming is all about food. And food is best when shared with community. At our potlucks Wild Willow gives thanks to our amazing community of students, volunteers, educators, fans and eaters of every stripe. Familiar faces and new smiles are always welcome to these joyous gatherings that include educational workshops, volunteer activities, farm tour, potluck dinner, and drum circle around our cob firepit. See photos from our May 2014 potluck taken by Gregory Berg.
Scheduled 2015 Open House/Potlucks (weather permitting)
March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, August 15, September 19, October 17.