Ground School Application Is Open

Ground School, Gathering Ground’s summer program focused on sustainability and agriculture, opens up applications for local students 


For five years, Gathering Ground has hosted a summer internship program drawing students from across the country to Washington Island for a summer experience in hands-on learning in agriculture, seminars in food systems and food justice, and community building. In 2022, Ground School hosted seven students from as far away as University of Atlantic in Maine and University of Utah. 


“This year, we are taking a slightly different approach,” says Ground School Director and Farm Manager Russell Rolffs, “We are focusing on reaching community members and local students who want to learn practical gardening, farming skills while thinking about how humans and the natural world can work together.” 


The 2023 schedule will be designed so that people who hold other jobs on the Island and Door County can have an opportunity to learn about the sustainability and agricultural projects that are happening right here in their community. 


The main horticultural lessons will be on Thursdays throughout the summer and will be open to community members as stand-alone workshops. At the workshops, community members and Ground School students will get practical knowledge in orcharding, gardening, vineyarding, integrated pest management and more. 


The Thursday Workshops will start May 25 at 10 am with a drip-irrigation workshop at Gathering Ground. Participants will learn how to install and use a drip irrigation system for your home garden through putting in a system in Gathering Ground’s new community garden. Participants who register for the workshop prior to March 1, can go home with their own professional quality irrigation system sold at cost for $150. A full list of dates and topics for the workshops will be released in March. 


Students who join the Ground School cohort this summer will also have the opportunity to work at local farms; take field trips; discuss current ideas in sustainable agriculture and food systems; cook meals together with locally-sourced food. People interested in applying for Ground School can find the application at or email for more information.


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