Boots-2-Bushels: Boot Camp for Market Gardeners 2023

A Market Garden Program for Beginning Farmers

header image for Boots 2 Bushels information page - compilation image of work boots next to a basket of applesUsing the “5 F’s” of farming risk (Farming, Family, Finances, Fitness, Future) as a guide, participants will acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully grow produce for small-scale private or commercial fruit and vegetable production. All participants will receive classes and training on soil health, crop planning, fruit and vegetable production, integrated pest management, no-till production, harvest and storage, safe food handling, marketing/branding, farm business/economics, and tool and equipment maintenance and safety. Further instruction will be provided through monthly farm visits across Maine. Each farm visit will highlight techniques and methods learned during classroom instruction. Each participant will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a business mentor with the culmination of the 10-month program resulting in a business plan.

Registration for Boots-2-Bushels 2023 is now closed.

Thank you for all of your interest. The class is full for 2023. If you want to be on the distro list for the 2024 cohort, please fill out this interest form and we will contact you next fall. 

Boots-2-Bushels Interest Form (Google Form)

For more information, contact Program Coordinator Anne Martin at or 207.944.1533.

Course Objectives

  • Understand and implement best practices to promote long-term productivity and efficiency of soil health.
  • Understand and implement best practices for crop planning
  • Understand and implement best practices for various vegetable and fruit variety production including pest management and cultural practices that optimize high-quality harvests
  • Know how to develop marketing and branding strategies
  • Understand the need and use of a farm business plan
  • Learn the business skills required to run a successful farm business
  • Develop a business plan

Attendance Policy and Certificate of Completion

A minimum score of 70, combined practical and written exams, in addition to 100% attendance and participation is required to receive a Certificate of Completion. The B2B coordinator will work with students who require remediation for scores below 70. Participants will receive subsequent opportunities to remediate a written or practical exam. Online classes will be recorded, and on a case-by-case basis, participants may be allowed to make up missed classes by watching recorded classes and notifying the B2B coordinator.

The inability to participate in 100% of the farm field days can be made up by demonstrating proficiency (pictures, videos, discussion, in-person farm visits) in the topics presented at the farm field day to the B2B coordinator. This will be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

Failure to meet any of the above requirements will result in dismissal from the program, without a refund.

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588.

The University of Maine is an EEO/AA employer, and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 101 Boudreau Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).