The Farmer Campus Story
Who we are
Farmer Campus is a woman-run small business with grassroots. In addition to building and offering targeted, multimedia courses on our Online Learning Platform, Farmer Campus hosts workshops, conducts research & citizen science through partnerships with Universities, publishes stories and academic papers, creates videos and podcasts, engages in Wildfire and Covid-19 Disaster Relief, builds powerful collaborations across sectors, and has been leading the charge to help farmers and ranchers in the West prepare for fires through our innovative, farmer-centered program “Farming through Wildfire Season.” We also actively collaborate, incubate and consult with like-minded organizations and farms, and encourage you to be in touch with us!
Natalia Pinzón and Katie Brimm are Farmer Campus’s co-founders and two-woman team. Together we draw from an incredible network of farmers, professors, extension agents, nonprofits and professionals that steward,advise and contribute to our work. We honor Farmer Campus’s collectivist roots by also functioning like a community kitchen, inviting like-minded organizations and farms across the world to host their own materials and help build an expansive social learning community dedicated to food system transformation.
The Beginning: With roots in agroecology, farmer-to-farmer and food sovereignty movements, Farmer Campus has been shaped by many hands and hearts over the last decade.
The first spark was lit in 2011 by a vision of Leah Atwood to expand access to agroecology learning tools and connect farmers around the world to share ideas and knowledge through online exchange, regardless of their ability to travel. In 2013 Natalia Pinzón’s affinity for technology and passion for international agroecology later grew the project into a customized online learning platform, home to agroecology curriculum. In 2016, Katie Brimm joined the team to update, adapt and offer the curriculum to the public, build relationships with farmers and partners, and bring the full vision of the network into fruition. They saw a world where a small farmer in Kenya could connect with an urban grower in Oakland, allowing for a powerful solidarity network to form, as well as cultivate the co-creation of farmer knowledge while informing international social movements. Together they began developing and facilitating different online certificate programs for agriculturalists.
Farmer Campus is Born: In 2020, Katie and Natalia formed Farmer Campus, drawing on the initial program, with an expanded vision of a virtual university designed for busy farmers and ranchers, complete with courses in resilience, the ability to connect with peers, find mentors, advance their knowledge, and participate in research to influence the world of sustainable agriculture. As some of the busiest but most knowledgeable people, often resource and time strapped, what better way to connect farmers to each other and allow them to stay on farm while deepening their knowledge?
Founding Members: Leah went on to co-found Agroecology Commons, a bay area nonprofit. They became our founding members and host their own online curriculum with Farmer Campus.
Targeted and Timely: Today, Farmer Campus offers the next generation of learning for agriculturalists. We are honored to partner with like-minded organizations, offering courses in organic seed production with OSA, Small Business Accelerators with CA Farmlink, and Wildfire Resilience with the Community Alliance for Family Farms, and Bay Area Farmer Training with Agroecology Commons.
Our work is still evolving, meant to be nimble enough to respond to the current needs of farmers and ranchers such as Climate Resilience, Disaster Financial Recovery and Wildfire Preparedness, as well as the evolving vision of the current team as we are committed to adapting our work to the changing world.
Created by Brazilian designer Bernardo Bittencourt, our logo symbolizes Farmer Campus’s essence. The “F” is made up of agricultural hand-tools to represent the practical nature of our education style, and the “C” references the Bay Laurel laurus nobilis tree, which symbolizes wisdom, excellence in one’s field and the pursuit of higher learning, and happens to be the root for the word baccalaureate. The origin of the variability of the different weights of the letters in the text stems from an American tradition born in the 1800s of using wood type with each letter conveying its own meaning, and here representing the hands-on approach of an agrarian lifestyle.
The photos featured on this site come from a variety of photographers, but we wanted to thank noyekim (@noyekim) for many of the header images, which feature the beautiful Full Bloom Flower Farm in Occidental, California.