The following is a list New Farmer websites with useful information and resources. Some are geographically focused (though most are not), and even the local sites have a lot of good general information. They are not listed in any particular order, so I encourage viewers to survey the list in its entirety. Also Check out free publications for beginning farmers.
– The Greenhorns is a fantastic resource for beginning farmers. This project started as a film, but has expanded into much, much more. Check out their blog, newsletter, mailing list, and all the other great resources they have.
– New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI) is a land-based, non-profit organization founded in 1978. And they have an extensive collection of fantastic resources for aspiring and beginning farmers. Their comprehensive website includes “an extensive resource collection; produce publications; develops and offers innovative, farmer-guided programs; and advocates for policies that encourage sustainable small-scale agriculture.” It’s Growing New Farmers section helps connect new and potential farmers with programs and services, and provides resources for service providers who wish to facilitate their development. These pages are a must for anyone thinking about beginning farming.
– The Northeast Beginning Farmer Project From Cornell University Cooperative Extension, offers online courses, interactive farm planning tools, a new farmer discussion forum, and lots of useful information and links.
– The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Project is a collaborative effort represented by beginning farmer stakeholders across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The project is housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and funded through BFRDP.
– The Beginning Farmer Center at Iowa State University provides a number of helpful resources for the next generation of farmers.
– The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture administers the Virtual Grange, a fantastic online community and hub for beginning farmers that provides all sorts of information from production resources to jobs, news and much, much more.
– The Penn State University Agricultural Marketing Website has a Beginning Farmers Page with plenty of useful information. The page offers case studies, publications on Farm Decision Making; Marketing Opportunities For Small Farmers; Managing Risks; Farm Succession Strategies; Farmer Cooperatives; Alternative Production Processes, and more.
– The Center For Rural Affairs offers a number of Programs and Resources Specifically for Beginning Farmers.
– Cultivate the Soil: Resources for Beginning and Small Scale Farmers and Ranchers in Washington State is a 2008 Publication by Megan McPhaden from the Washington State Housing/Finance Commission Beginning Farmer/Rancher Loan Program which provides comprehensive information on financing and loan programs, business planning, marketing, finding land, insurance and risk management, energy efficiency, education, organic farming, and minority-specific programs.
– The Land Stewardship Project offers all sorts of resources for beginning farmers. In addition to their Farm Beginnings training program, they are a great source of information for farm policy and activism, promoting sustainability, developing farmer resources, and much more.
– New Farm (from the Rodale Institute) provides tons of useful educational, production,and policy information on organic farming and organic transition. They also feature stories about individual farmers that are often quite instructive and interesting.
– The Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) is a great resource for beginning and aspiring farmers. ALBA ‘generates opportunities for farm workers, limited-resource, and aspiring farmers’. Their mission is ‘to advance economic viability, social equity and ecological land management’. ‘ALBA aims to contribute to a more just and sustainable food system through the development of: 1) human resources that will be tomorrow’s farmers and sustainable agriculture leaders; 2) growing marketing alternatives for small-scale, limited-resource farmers; and 3) the enhancement of biological diversity and protection of natural resources – all necessary components of such a food system’. Their ‘overall goal is to create greater economic opportunities for small farms while promoting ecological land management and healthy local foods. Objectives accomplished in pursuit of this goal include training in organic farm production, marketing, record-keeping, labor law, pest management and numerous other topics related to operating a small farm business’.
– The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project has the following mission: ‘to improve our local and regional food systems by training the next generation of farmers to produce food that is sustainable, nutritious, and culturally-appropriate and making this food accessible to individuals regardless of age, mobility, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. In doing this work, we provide critical training, career development, and economic opportunity to new farmers.’
– The New Farmer Development Project identifies, educates, and supports immigrants with agricultural experience by helping them become local farmers and establish small farms in the New York, New Jersey, and Northern Pennsylvania.
– The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) is a great regional resource. Based in Asheville, NC, they are dedicated to ‘expanding local food markets that will preserve our agricultural heritage, give everyone access to fresh, healthy food, and keep our farmers farming’. Among the many things they offer are Farm to Business, Farm to School, and Farm to Hospital resources; Conferences and Educational Programs; Farmer Grants; Family Farm Tours; Research; Publicationa; and many useful Links. A great recource for farmers and others in the area. Also in this region, check out the Organic Growers School.
– Stewards of the Land is a project exploring the lives of ‘six small-scale farmers who are profiled using sound, images, and writing. And their work is contextualized through a series of articles examining sustainable agriculture in the area, the state of North Carolina, and the country as a whole’.
– FamilyFarmed.org is based in the Chicago area. Their ‘Mission is to expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food and goods, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of our communities’. They offer Market Development programs, an annual Expo, and other useful information.
– The Ecological Farming Association is a non-profit educational organization in California which hosts training programs, educational conferences, and on-farm events. The Website has lots of great information. They also have an excellent Blog.
– Farmers For the Future is a community of young farmers with lots of resources, interesting articles, and tips for Beginning Farmers.
– Vermont’s New Farmer Project has lots of tools and information for beginning farmers in Vermont and beyond.
– The University of Arkansas has put together a series of modules to help beginning farmers find information on topics including business planning, poultry production, goat and sheep production, basic agroforestry, farm safety and sustainable agriculture. All these materials are available free of cost at: https://attra.ncat.org/uofa/ and also in Spanish at: https://attra.ncat.org/espanol/uofa/.
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