Serving Cook County

A Program for Aspiring Urban Farmers


The Master Urban Farmer Training Program (MUFTP) is designed to provide new urban farmers the introductory knowledge and skills to start an urban farm. At the end of the program it is expected that participants will be able to write a viable business plan and have the information necessary to move forward with their urban farming goals.

Learning objectives

  • Develop the basic knowledge of the applied science behind urban farming systems.
  • Awareness of practices and procedures that participants could utilize in their own operations
  • Understand the financial and marketing tools needed to manage a profitable farm. This includes developing the beginnings of a business plan.

Who should attend this program?

  • Entrepreneurs who want to start an intensive urban produce farm operation.
  • Community members in underserved/food insecure communities who want to develop their food production skill set in order to increase food security and/or establish a community food system project in their neighborhood.
  • Master Gardeners interested in intensifying their food production skill set.
  • Educators who want to bring food production knowledge back to their organization.
  • New growers interested in more intensive training programs, but not sure if they want to commit the time or the money.
  • Anyone who is interested in Urban Farming!

Potential topic areas

  • Introduction to Master Urban Farmer Program and Urban Agriculture in Cook County
  • Site Selection Issues
  • Intro to Soils, Testing, Analysis, and Corrections
  • Composting
  • Vegetable Production Systems, Planning, and Scheduling
  • Transplant Production
  • Season Extension
  • Insects, Diseases, Weed Management
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Tools, Equipment, and Irrigation
  • How to Choose a Farm Enterprise
  • Business Planning, Financial Statements, and Marketing for your Urban Agriculture Project
  • Food Safety , GAP’s, and Post-Harvest Handling
  • Keeping it Legal
  • Fruit Production
  • Grant Programs and other farm programs/resources

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Applications for 2020 Co-hort open now through June 15.

Please apply for the 2020 MUFTP at

This 2020 version of the MUFTP will be presented via live online sessions, self-guided assignments, lectures, pre-recorded webinars, Q&A, virtual site visits, and office hours. These online sessions will take place from 6 - 8 pm, Tuesday and Thursday, from July 7th - August 20th, 2020.  There will be no sessions for the weeks of August 23rd and August 30th. We will resume instruction on September 8th, 2020 with primarily in-person training and workshops.  It is our hope that by September 8th, we will be able to offer in-person, hands-on training again at our South Cook County Urban Demonstration and Research Farm, located In Matteson, IL. We will make every effort to implement these in-person sessions, but please understand if we are unable to do so due to the State of Illinois, IDPH, and University guidelines in place at that time.  

Class size will be limited due to potential social distancing standards and state law we may have to adhere to once in-person sessions resume.  We anticipate a very popular response to this program. Thus, please complete the application providing as much information as possible to assist us in the selection process. More training opportunities will occur in the future. 

The on-site Training location for September 8th - October 1st, 2020, is 

Prairie State College Matteson Area Center

4821 Southwick Drive

Matteson, IL 60443

If you have questions about this program, please contact