• 28Dec

         Beginning Farmer Technical Assistance Project Coordinator in Boston Massachusetts

    Organization Description: The Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, has provided training, evaluation and management activities worldwide since 1988. ISED believes that high quality technical assistance, program evaluation, and measurement improve long-term social and economic outcomes for vulnerable people and their communities.  Refugee farming and gardening is ISED’s prominent domestic emphasis at the current time.

    Job Summary:  The project is funded by USDA to set up a three-year collaboration with 24+ refugee-focused farming incubator projects (RFIPs) nationwide, to review beginning farmer curricula and programs for refugees, identify the gaps and develop, pilot test, and distribute specialized curricula and course workshop modules, and develop and test multiple instructional tools and manuals for instructors and technical assistance providers.  The Coordinator will work closely with the Project Director, interns, and partners to implement the program.  Major activities include coordination with partners; strengthening instructional and curriculum development skills among RFIPs; developing and pilot testing curricula and instructional methods; tracking and evaluating development and implementation efforts; and coordinating dissemination with USDA and project partners. Read more »

  • 26Dec

    The North Farm at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center is an incubator farm that specializes in diversified organic vegetable production and season extension in northern climates. The North Farm is located in Chatham, MI in the central UP, and close to markets in Marquette, Munising and beyond. There is a growing demand for fresh produce in the Upper Peninsula, and the North Farm will assist Apprentice Farmers in developing their markets. This program is open to individual farmers, as well as farming couples/partnerships.

    The North Farm Apprentice Farmer Program is designed to reduce the barriers of access (such as land acquisition, business management experience, and growing skills) for beginning farmers who are interested in starting their own farm business. Three apprentice farmers will be selected to begin the two-year program in the spring of 2015. While technical assistance is available, the apprenticeship is not a training program. This opportunity is ideal for a farmer who has a significant amount of farming experience and is ready to take the next steps towards launching their own farm business in a northern climate.

    Apprentice Farmers Will Receive:

    • Access to organically managed land – 1/4 acre plot for the first year, 1/2 acre for the second year.

    • Access to shared infrastructure – storage space, walk-in cooler, root cellar, hoophouse space, washing/packing shed

    • Access to equipment and tools

    • Mentorship from the North Farm staff and other stakeholders

    • Opportunities to network with other area growers and food enthusiasts

    • Opportunities to participate in competency-based workshops and trainings

    • Optional housing at the North Farm

    • Assistance in developing a transition plan off the North Farm after the two-year program

    Cost of Participation

    • $700 per growing season for land and resources.

    • Optional on-farm housing provided at $175 per month.

    • Optional custom tractor work as needed is also available for a small fee.

    For more information, please visit http://www.msunorthfarm.org/apprentice-farmer-program.html.

  • 23Dec
    CONGRESSIONAL NEWS
    It’s a Wrap—This Congress is Over—Final Bills and Letters
    Both the House and Senate have now finished, bringing this Congress to a close. A new Congress — the 114th — begins in January. Take a look at the government spending and tax subsidy bills, as well as three congressional letters to USDA Secretary
    Tom Vilsack, in this this summary of some important end of
    session activity…Logo

     

     

    SPECIAL REPORT
    Farm Microloans Big in 2014
    USDA’s Farm Service Agency has been a long-standing resource
    to new farmers. Last year, FSA launched a new streamlined farm loan program to specifically target the credit needs of smaller
    farms – including those just starting out and those selling to local and regional markets. This microloan program officially launched in January of 2013, and has made over 8,400 loans in every state throughout the country, freeing up approximately $161 million in financing to new, minority, and small farmers…Logo
  • 22Dec

    Boot Camp for Farmers Workshop: Financial Planning, Business Literacy & Food Safety - Friday, January 9, 12pm-4pm, Allen Market Place, FREE

    In this workshop, financial and food safety experts will share successful ways Michigan farmers are opening doors to new markets, like food hubs, through improved financial readiness and food safety practices. Registration for this workshop is free of charge & lunch is provided. RSVP by Monday, January 5, 2015: exchange@allenneighborhoodcenter.org, 517-999-3923

    Growing Your Internet Presence - Friday, January 16, 1-3pm, Allen Market Place, FREE

    Websites and social media have the potential to have a huge marketing impact for your business. Learn options for website creation and get design tips for creating an effective website, as well as advice on how to best use social media to your advantage. Workshop led by Sam Rose of Holocene Systems LLC, and Veronica Gracia-Wing of Piper & Gold Public Relations. To RSVP, contact Egypt: 517-999-3923 or exchange@allenneighborhoodcenter.org

    Intro to Beekeeping

    Saturday, January 24, 12:30-2pm, Hunter Park GardenHouse, $5-10 donation

    This workshop will teach the basics of backyard beekeeping, equipment needed, and safety. Workshop led by beekeepers Jeremy Sprague and Matt Wojack. To RSVP contact Zach: gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org, 517-999-3910

    Effective Crop Planning: How to Plan for Your Target Markets - Friday, January 30, 1-3pm, Allen Market Place, FREE

    Crop planning is a vital component of farm success. Learn to grow your bottom line through effective planning and efficient use of space. We’ll discuss how to identify crop needs and create seeding, transplanting, and harvest schedules to meet the needs of your markets and ensure you have a steady supply of high-quality product. Workshop led by Dan Fillius of MSU Student Organic Farm. To RSVP, contact Egypt: 517-999-3923 or exchange@allenneighborhoodcenter.org

    Basic Construction Skills for Gardening - Saturday, January 31, 12:30-2pm, Hunter Park GardenHouse, $5-10 donation

    Learn helpful skills that will guide you in an assortment of home & garden projects. Please bring a cordless drill & bits if you have one. Workshop led by Rita O’Brien of Hunter Park GardenHouse.

    Urban Gardener Certification Program - Program begins February 28. Sign up soon!

    Looking for a fun introduction to gardening? This program, intended for beginner-intermediate gardeners, features 11 sessions of instruction in basic yard and greenhouse gardening skills. Participants will have hands-on instruction as we plant and care for a garden together over the length of the program. Registrants attend Saturday workshops with special guest lecturers, and additional Tuesday evening labs offering hands-on practice with GardenHouse staff.

    Program fee is reduced with work-share options: 1. Urban Gardener- pay $100 and do not complete any work-share hours; 2. Urban Gardener with 20 hours- pay $75 and complete 20 work-share hours; 3. Urban Gardener with 40 hours- pay $50 and complete 40 work-share hours.

    For more details about the program (including full schedule & topics), please view the application/ agreement form available online. Or contact Zach: 517-999-3910; gardeningeducator@allenneighborhoodcenter.org​

    Farmers & Food Businesses: Apply for Free or Low-Cost Services & Consultations - Apply Soon! Read more »

  • 12Dec

    Only three days left to apply!

    In addition to a savings match of up to $2,400, Farm Asset Builder participants will work with Learning Center staff to create an updated business plan and a customized menu of financial management classes and workshops tailored to their particular business needs. Reimbursement up to $200 is provided for these educational opportunities, which can include individual mentoring, Quickbooks and other bookkeeping training, farm financials workshops, and more.

    For more information,  click here or send an e-mail to farmassetbuilder@learngrowconnect.org

    Meet a FAB 2014 Participant: Radical Root Farm 

    Radical Root Organic FarmLocated on about eight beautiful acres across from a forest preserve and adjacent to a bike trail in Libertyville, IL, Radical Root Farm is owned and operated by Alison Parker and Alex Needham, 2013 Beginning Farmers of the Year and 2014 Farm Asset Builder participants.

    Alison and Alex joined the FAB program because they want to make their farm a viable and sustainable business that can pay them a livable wage. Like many beginning farmers, when they started their own business they knew a great deal about production but not as much as they could have about managing a business. Incentivized by the savings match, they have worked with a specialist and taken classes aimed at putting their record keeping and accounting on a more solid footing. This work has enabled them to clarify their plans to meet their financial goals. “It made me feel like we’re on the right track to being a better business,” says Alison.

    To Apply:

    1. Please take the  Eligibility Quiz to see if you qualify. If you qualify, we invite you to apply for the program!
    2.  Click here for the application form. Do not wait; the application deadline is December 15.
    3. As applications are received, qualified candidates will be contacted for an interview process, which can be completed online, by phone, or in person.
  • 12Dec

    The application for the 2015 NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Mentorship Program is now live! 

    The NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Mentoring Program is a 12-month program that aims to help fill the education gap between apprentice and independent farmer. By pairing mentees with experienced growers who are not their employers, the program enables aspiring farmers to gain farming experiences, skills, and perspectives that they otherwise wouldn’t get in their day-to-day work.  If accepted, the program begins on February 1st and lasts for 1 year. 

    THE DEADLINE for the 2015 mentorship program is January 20, 2015. 

    Support
    NOFA/Mass will offer mentees:

    • Mentorship: As a NOFA/Mass mentee you will have the opportunity to work with an experienced farmer who will serve as a mentor. NOFA/Mass will pay that person for his or her role in your education. Mentor-mentee arrangements will vary from one relationship to another and are up to both participants to negotiate and maintain on a case-by-case basis. If you are selected as a mentee, NOFA/Mass will work with you to connect with a farmer who would be a good fit for you, given your interests, experience level and location, among other factors.
    • An educational stipend: As a NOFA/Mass mentee you will be able to use $100 worth of educational vouchers to attend any NOFA/Mass workshop or conference during the 12-month program.


    Expectations
    NOFA/Mass expects all mentees who go through the mentorship program to:

    • Articulate to NOFA/Mass what you are interested in learning through a relationship with a farming mentor.
    • Check in at least monthly with the mentor, by email, phone, or in person, and visit the mentor’s farm at least once during the 12-month program.
    • Complete 4 quarterly evaluations, using a template provided by NOFA/Mass
    • Be a member of NOFA/Mass in good standing. To become a NOFA/Mass member go here: http://www.nofamass.org/membership


    Questions?: Email Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator, Suzy Konecky at suzy@nofamass.org

     
     
     
  • 03Dec

    Small Farms Program

    Vegetables are a popular enterprise choice for new farmers or for established farmers looking to diversify. The Cornell Small Farms Program is offering an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of starting a vegetable production operation in the Northeast, from seeding and transplants to site selection and the financial aspects of growing veggies, in an online course starting January 7th.

    BF 120: Vegetable Farming, Part 1 is a 6-week online course that will help you determine whether you want to grow vegetables and give you the skills and knowledge to do so. The course consists of weekly real-time webinars followed by homework, readings, and discussions on your own time in an online setting.

    **New this year: students who successfully complete the course requirements are eligible to be considered for a 0% interest crowdfunded loan of up to $10,000 through Kiva Zip.**

    The course runs Wed Jan 7 – Feb. 11, 2015–skipping Wed. Jan. 21–with webinars Wed. evenings from 7-8:30 pm EST. The cost is $200, but multiple people from the same farm may participate without paying extra. See the course description page for more on the course learning objectives, instructors, and outline.

    BF 120: Vegetable Farming Part 1 is part of the line-up of 12 online courses offered this Fall, Winter and Spring by the Cornell Small Farms Program. Learn which courses would be best for you, read about our team of experienced instructors, see answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and view the calendar of course offerings for 2014-2015.

  • 02Dec

    Enterprise Budgets for Beginning Farmers: Taking the Guesswork out of Growing Profits!

    January 15, 2015 Noon-4:30 PM – Virginia State University’s Randolph Farm Pavilion

    www.agriculture.vsu.edu/randolph-farm/directions.php

     This hands-on and resource friendly workshop is designed to help beginning farmers reduce financial risks to farm start-up by working with Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition resource professionals who have enterprise budget experience. Learn how to become “financially organized” for your new farm using enterprise budgets! A light lunch will be provided starting at noon.

    If you plan to attend, please RSVP with Debbie Carroll at dprice@vt.edu or 540-231-6941, by January 9, 2015.

    Virginia Beginning Farmer Program

  • 02Dec

    License PlateNew Entry Sustainable Farming Project is launching a new special license plate to benefit Massachusetts food and farmers, and you can sign up now to reserve one of your own! They now have over 1,000 vehicles signed up, which puts them over two thirds of the way to their goal! Proceeds (tax-deductible for you, by the way) will support New EntryMass Farmers Markets, and the Beginning Farmer Network of Massachusetts - but it will only happen if they collect 1,500 vehicle registrations. To reserve your plate or to learn more about what’s involved, visit: www.mafoodplate.org.  Also, Like them on Facebook to get regular updates on their progress!

  • 29Nov

    Do you know anyone interested in working to support new farmers? Penn State Extension has an opening for a Start Farming Program Coordinator.

    Major responsibilities will include planning, implementing, conducting and evaluating a broad range of educational program for adults who are starting a farm. This includes maintaining and expanding existing “Start Farming” programs, coordination of programs and projects, and building community collaborations and partnerships.  The two projects this position will focus on include coordinating an on farm demonstration and outreach initiative for tree fruit, vegetables and berries and a new farmer project for Latino farmers.

    For more information visit http://extension.psu.edu/business/start-farming/opportunities/opportunities-for-farm-employment-or-experience/position-available-start-farming-program-coordinator

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