Upstart University Courses
We’ve organized courses numbers in order of difficulty, and logical progression for your business. Any courses without a course number are appropriate to take anytime as needed or desired. Enjoy!
START HERE: Upstart University Orientation
In the Orientation course, learn how to use the various features of Upstart University, including lessons, quizzes, certificates, and student programs. We recommend completing this course before any other so you are familiar with our course delivery system and process.
1000: Goals and Action Planning
To get started, let's assess your farm goals, analyze your current position, and organize an official timeline to keep things moving forward.
1020: The Four Markets
Upstart Farmers primarily serve four markets: Farmers' Markets, CSAs, Restaurants, and Grocery Stores. In this course, learn the benefits and challenges of each.
*NEW* 1021: Social Media Marketing for Farmers
In this course, we’re going to help ease those fears and clue you into the most effective secrets for using strategic social media marketing to promote your farm, conduct market research, and advertise your farm on a small budget.
1030: Choosing Your Production Method
In this course, you will learn what each plant production method is, how it works, and the important decision making factors for each based on their construction
1031: Aquaponic DWC: Farm Design & Economics
In this course, you'll gain a better understanding of aquaponic farm economics and learn how to design your own aquaponics farm, with a focus on DWC.
1032: Techniques: Bato Buckets & Vine Crop Production
Bato buckets are popular hydroponic system for growing vining crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. Whether they’re your stand-alone growing method, or a supplementary system, they make a great addition to any farm. Learn about Bato buckets in this course.
1033: Understanding ZipGrow (Free & Open to the Public)
ZipGrow is the primary vertical production method, so understanding how the technology works and is applies is important for anyone wanting to engage in modern, high-density farming.
1040: Intro to Business Planning
When you're looking to start an Upstart Farm, a business plan is essential. It doesn't matter if you've got a backyard farm or tens of thousands of square feet in a warehouse - a business plan will guide and define your efforts.
1050: Funding Your Farm
Getting the funds together for your first farm can be a daunting task. Truth is, there's plenty of funding options out there for Upstart Farmers - you just have to know which option you want to pursue and what information you'll need.
1060: Farm Compliance & Food Safety
Need to know farm compliance and food safety? We're going to deliver a bunch of information to save you the time of looking it up on the internet and wading through pages of legalese to find the info you want.
1090: Humidity Management: Tools & Tech for Indoor Growers
This course is going to first help you understand the issue of humidity by explaining what humidity is and how it affects your plants. This will provide you with the basis you need to make informed humidity management decisions based on your environment. Then, we’ll dive into the solutions - humidity management tools and technology that will help you save on energy and avoid crop loss.
1091: HVAC Design for Indoor Growers
This course will introduce important HVAC design concepts and systems used for managing the climate of an indoor growing operation including system types, sizing, and more.
2000: Seeds & Seedlings
In this course, learn everything from seed anatomy, sourcing, and storage, to optimal growth practices, storage, and transplantation for seedlings.
2010: Insect Pest Management
Understanding how to properly manage insect pest problems on your farm will help you be successful and profitable. In this course, learn insect ecology, management and applications.
2020: Plant Pathology for Upstart Farmers
This course will explain how pathogens function in an ecology, what pathogens are and what makes one different from another, what they do in your farm, control methods, and some common pathogens and their controls.
2030: Intro to Hydroponics
Ready to learn how to grow hydroponically? Here's an intro to hydroponics with Dr. Nate Storey. We strongly recommend that every Upstart U student complete this course before moving on to any higher level course work.
2040: Hydroponic Nutrients & Fertilizers
Properly understanding how nutrients and fertilizers work in a hydroponic system, as well as how to mix and manage them, is vital to your farm's success. This course provides a variety of visual explanations and demonstrations of hydroponic nutrients and fertilizers to help you master this important concept.
2050: Foundations of Aquaponics
This course provides all of the initial information necessary to begin to dive into the art and science of aquaponics on a deeper level. This course is a great starting point for anyone, regardless of their education or experience level.
4000: Lighting for Upstart Farmers
Light and lighting is hugely important for planning your vertical farm. Learn the fundamentals of lighting for Upstart Farmers in this course.
Webinar: How to Advocate for Organic Hydroponics
In this course, we\'ll discuss the organic industry and markets, and the debate of hydroponics organics. We\'ll look at the answers that policy makers have created to the containerized organic agriculture question and how that affects real farmers.
Webinar: Greenhouses for Small Farmers
In this course, we give you solutions to some of your most urgent questions about greenhouses on topics like placement, economic analysis, geographic considerations, cost savings, and more!
Webinar: Hydroponic Substrate Selection
Hydroponic medium & substrate selection is one of the most important grower decisions! We teamed up with Hort Americas to dive deep into specific considerations on substrate selection in order to help you make an informed decision about your growing medium.
Webinar: Crowdfunding Campaign Success
This webinar course dives deep into the most important elements for having a successful campaign including things like how to authentically earn community support, what gifts to give, how to master your social and email promotions, and even how to turn your campaign success into long-term sales.
Webinar: LED Lighting for Indoor Farmers
Whether you’re growing indoors or just providing supplemental lighting for the plants in your greenhouse, LED lighting should be on your radar. This webinar-based mini-course will teach you the basics of LED lighting.
Aquaponic System Design - Mini Course
This Aquaponic System Design Course exists to give people the theoretical, scientific and practical basis for designing, starting and managing aquaponic systems of all sizes.
Intro to Aquaponics – Mini Course
This course focuses on how things work in aquaponic systems, why they work that way, and what this means for your decision to go with hydroponics or aquaponics.
Law for Upstart Farmers – Part 1: Intro to Organics – Mini Course
In this course, we\'ll focus on the relevant laws surrounding organic production in the United States, including labeling, pros and cons, practices and issues facing organic producers, and more.
Law for Upstart Farmers – Part 2: Basic Legal Research Skills – Mini Course
This course will outline a strategy for conducting your own legal research, discuss the resources you\'ll need and how to access them, and how to apply them.
Law for Upstart Farmers – Part 3: Intro Food Labeling & Weighing – Mini Course
Proper labeling and weighing of produce is a regulatory area that every Upstart Farmer will encounter. Learn the proper techniques & methods in this course.
Green Walls for Restaurants – Mini Course
In this mini course, guest lecturer Teryl Chapel of City Planet Farms, gives insight into how to contract green walls for restaurants.