Farmer Training & Transition Support

Courses & Workshops

The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) has provided farmer to farmer training through workshops, field days, kitchen table meetings, and courses for 30 years. EFAO lists its offerings on the EFAO Events page.

Canadian Organic Growers has chapters throughout Ontario. COG offers webinars, workshops and is the host of Eastern Ontario’s organic conference, Eco Farm Day. COG National publishes organic handbooks, guides, and a monthly magazine. For the latest COG events and course listings, please visit COG Events.

Everdale offers a full-season Sustainable Farming Certificate program. It is primarily a hands-on field-based experience. It includes a series of one-day field trips and seminars on organic farming as well as a rich variety of other training opportunities. Check out their website for more details.

Transition Support Programs

Growing Eastern Ontario Organically

The Canadian Organic Growers (COG) are running a three-year organic transition support program called Growing Eastern Ontario Organically program (GEO-O). GEO-O supports farmers with:

  • One-on-one business and agronomic consulting
  • Mentorship with an experienced organic farmer
  • On-site experiential learning
  • Certification paperwork
  • Help with grant applications for improvements to your farm business
  • and more!

Learn more and apply here.

Seed Change Fund: Organic Conversion Support Program

In September 2019, The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) announced the launch of the new Organic Conversion Support Program to assist organic producers financially for the transition to organic crop production. This program reimburses producers for a portion of their paid certification costs.

This program is for crop producers looking to transition or for those who already produce organic crops and are looking to expand. Follow the links below for more information.

Internships/ Apprenticeships

CRAFT Southwest Ontario is an informal, member-driven organization made up of more than a dozen southern Ontario organic farms. CRAFT southwest Ontario is your gateway to a farming internship experience that will equip you with the tools and insights to make a real difference in the sustainable agriculture.

Want to travel and work on an organic farm at the same time? World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) networks help place volunteers on organic farms. There are currently farms registered in over 99 countries world-wide. Click here for the WWOOF Canada site.

Stewards Of Irreplaceable Land (SOIL) links Canadian farmers willing to take on and train apprentices with folks wanting to work and learn on an organic farm using sustainable practices. They aim to create apprenticeships which transfer lasting knowledge to both farmers and apprentices. Learn more about their offerings here.

UBC Farm Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture is an eight-month experiential learning program designed for aspiring farmers, urban gardeners, environmental educators, and students with an interest in applying their learning about sustainable agriculture and food systems.

University and College Programs

The University of Guelph offers a certificate in organic agriculture open to all students enrolled in an undergraduate program. Course topics include soils, animal and plant production, and society and sustainability.

Gaia College, located in Duncan, BC, offers online and classroom courses that deal with a number of organic topics, including landcare, horticulture, plant knowledge, and more.

Trent University offers BA and BSc degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, with opportunities for hands-on experience through the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education.

Fleming College offers a Sustainable Agriculture Co-op program designed for new farmers looking for intensive, hands-on instruction in sustainable or natural farming.

McGill University offers an ecological agriculture specialization in their department of Agricultural and Environmental Studies, which can include courses on regulations, agriculture and international development, small-scale farming, community gardening, and more. Université Laval also offers a minor in organic agriculture.

Ryerson University’s Centre for Studies in Food Security offers a certificate in Food Security, with topics ranging from understanding urban agriculture to Indigenous food systems in Canada.

Additional Resources

Check out COG’s National Lending Library, which contains 1,300 books, DVDs, periodicals, and more on topics relating to organic agriculture.

The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) offers an up-to-date products list, which contains all the inputs verified for organic production and processing in Canada, and is updated every two weeks.