• 31May

    The Finger Lakes (New York) Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (C.R.A.F.T.) brings together established and aspiring farmers to share support and information about maintaining a farm business.  This community meets monthly throughout the growing season at one of several CRAFT Mentor Farms to learn about each farm operation, ask lots of questions, share knowledge, and network with each other.

    The 2015 CRAFT season consists of a 2 hour farm tour, half an hour skill-building workshop, and half an hour potluck dinner.

    When: The third Monday of the Month from 5:00 to 8:00 pm

    Cost: Groundswell members: $25, Non-members: $40 (More information about Groundswell membership can be found here.)

    For more information, or to register, please visit the Groundswell CRAFT website.

    Finger Lakes CRAFT

    Next Tour: Monday, June 15th; For more information, or to register, please visit the Groundswell CRAFT website.

    Groundswell’s Good Afternoon at Good Life Farm! Saturday, August 15, 2015 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM

    Good Life Farm and Finger Lakes Cider House, Interlaken, NY

    Ticket Sales begin begin June 20.; $25 adults, $10 kids ages 6 to 16, 5 and under free!

    Enjoy fabulous food and family fun on the farm while benefiting Groundswell’s new farmer training programs!

    Do something different! Treat yourself to a fun and delicious afternoon on one of the most fascinating and innovative farms in the Finger Lakes – Good Life Farm in Interlaken, one of Groundswell’s Partner Farms. Tour the organic orchards and greenhouses, check out the grazing turkeys and watch draft horses at work.

    Explore the  brand new, state of the art cidery at Finger Lakes Cider House. Enjoy a flight of distinctive ciders crafted by local farm-based orchards, and try pairing them with an array of local farmstead cheeses, hand-crafted charcuterie, artisanal breads and spreads.

    And don’t miss the Farm-to-Table Raffle, your chance to snag some great local farm products, garden gadgets, kitchen tools and lots of other goodies while benefiting the Groundswell Center’s new farmer training programs.

  • 29May

    Taste the Best of the North Carolina Piedmont

    If you still might be flexible for what you are doing the weekend of  June 5, 6, & 7, 2015, consider http://farmtoforknc.com/ - a benefit to grown new farmers!

    Three events, one amazing weekend!  Choose any single event or attend all three for a special price.

    The annual Farm to Fork Picnic, which Bon Appétit magazine called the “country’s best all-you-can-eat-feast,” is expanding to a delicious weekend full of local food events June 5-7, 2015.  Benefiting beginner farmer programs at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and the W.C. Breeze Family Farm, Farm to Fork celebrates our region’s rich bounty of local foods and honors the skillful farmers and chefs who artfully produce and prepare them. This year’s Farm to Fork events will have a special focus on seafood, a critical but often overlooked component of our state’s local food system.

    Paul Greenberg, The New York Times best-selling author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food and American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood, will be the weekend’s distinguished guest.  Four Fish won the James Beard Award in 2011 and was the basis for a Time Magazine cover story.

    For more info and ticket purchase visit http://farmtoforknc.com/.

    Check out the following article for more info on the regions farm to fork community!


  • 26May

    Millions Still Available to Help Farmers Purchase Land
    With less than five months remaining in the current fiscal year, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) still has nearly one billion dollars available for farm loans to help family farmers across the country buy land.  With the average for FSA real estate loan size being $182,000, this remaining funding could translate to nearly 5,000 more farmers who could use an FSA loan to purchase farmland…

    Funding Available to Build Food Safety Training Infrastructure
    On Monday, the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released a request for applications (RFA) to establish Regional Centers for food safety training, education, outreach, and technical assistance.  This new program targets the entities most vulnerable to the new food safety requirements; namely, small and mid-sized farms, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, small processors, and small fruit and vegetable wholesalers…

    Upcoming Deadlines for Federal Farm and Food Programs
    NSAC has compiled a list of upcoming deadlines for federal food and farm grant applications and grant assistance workshops. If you farm or work with farmers, consult the list below and share it with those you know.  The next few months are critical to ensure timely and successful completion of applications…

    Organizations Defend Rural Development Funding in 2016 Appropriations
    On Thursday, May 14, the Campaign for a Renewed Rural Development (CRRD) delivered a letter urging the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees to support key rural development programs during the FY 2016 appropriations process…

    White House Pollinator Strategy Released
    On Tuesday, May 19, the White House Pollinator Health Task Force released the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.  The strategy report details the history of pollinator decline and lays out the goals for action by Federal departments and agencies in collaboration with public and private entities…

    Strategic Economic and Community Development Rule – Open for Comment!
    On Tuesday, May 19, the USDA published an interim rule on the Strategic Economic and Community Development program. This rule, which goes into effect on June 19, sets aside up to 10 percent of funds appropriated to a handful of Rural Development programs to focus some of the program funding on regional projects rather than a single community development plan…

    Programs in Action: Building Viable Speciality Industries with SARE
    The SARE program is a farmer driven research, education and extension grants program designed to help advance sustainable agriculture across the country.  With an increased national focus on finding ways to better support the next generation of farmers, we are highlighting two SARE success stories featuring female farmers whose research grants helped to launch new farm-based industries in their regions…

    New Research: Organic Systems Provide More Market and Ecosystem Value than Conventional Farms
    A newly-published study comparing organically-managed and conventional farmland in New Zealand found that organic fields consistently provide more value per acre in the production of beans, peas, barley and wheat.  The study calculated and compared the value of both “non-traded ecosystem services” and the market value of crops produced on matched pairs of ten organic and ten conventional farm fields…

  • 24May

    Upcoming Webinar: Incubator Land Management and Teaching Ecological Land Use
    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 1PM-2:30PM EST
    Presented by NIFTI and the Agriculture and Land Based Training Association (ALBA)

    This Webinar will feature:

    Nathan Harkleroad, Outreach and Education Program Manager at ALBA, who will share how ALBA defines sustainable land management, and how this informs farmer policies and plays out in farmer practices. Nathan will discuss the challenges and lessons learned while implementing a sustainable land management plan with 40 farmers on 150 acres. He will also cover how sustainable land use is incorporated into ALBA’s farmer education curriculum.

    Dr. Peter Walker, Dean of the Falk School of Sustainability at Chatham University, who will focus on how Chatham incorporates farm and woodland into the campus and educational agenda at Eden Hall, Chatham University’s brand new, 388 acre fully sustainable campus. His presentation will describe just what it means to be a sustainable campus, how Chatham is trying to integrate the farm into the teaching, research, innovation and entrepreneurial agenda, and what Chatham hopes to do in the future.

    Eero Ruuttila, Technical Assistance and Incubator Farm Manager at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, who will present on fertility management on the incubator site, including specific strategies that he has developed over his 35 year career as an organic farmer and organic food advocate. He will also discuss approaches and challenges related to planning for and teaching long-term soil/fertility management with multiple farmers that have finite time on the farm site.

  • 20May

    Do you know beginning farmers or ranchers struggling to find startup funds to start a food or agriculture business? $145,000 is up for grabs in the 2016 Farm Bureau Challenge, a business competition for rural entrepreneurs. Help beginning farmers and ranchers compete for startup funds, hone their business plans and promote their businesses nationally. The competition begins June 1, but you can review the application today at StrongRuralAmerica.com.

    For more information, visit the website or email Morgan Slaven at morgans@fb.org.

    Farm Bureau Challenge

  • 14May

    New Training in Regenerative Ag for Beginning Farmers at the Permaculture Skills Center in Sebastopol, California

    We all know the farming industry is changing. We designed our Farm School to cultivate a new generation of farmers and food entrepreneurs that succeeds in this climate. The inaugural session begins this August (2015).

    You can read all about the program on the website (http://www.permacultureskillscenter.org/#!farm-school/c1ete). To give you a quick overview: PSC’s Farm School combines the “nuts and bolts skills” of ecological farming with business training and a personalized mentorship. Farm School kicks off with an 8-week intensive course that will give students a major download in the skills needed to run a successful, earth- and people-friendly farm, from farm design, water management and soil ecology to business planning, budgeting and understanding the regulatory framework. At the end, students will be poised to launch farms or food-related businesses that respond to the market demands of their region’s food system. Our classroom incorporates the many productive farms, innovative farmers and rich local food scene of Sonoma and Marin Counties!

    To make it a little easier for you to support us in this, please find below several templates for Facebook posts and some pictures you may want to add. Of course, fee free to edit these or contact me with any questions.

    If you have suggestions on support for our students please contact Farm School Director Miriam Volat at Miriam@permacultureskillscenter.org. We are particularly interested in connecting our new Farmers with farm land, experienced mentors, potential markets, and farming partners.

    Farm School will help you…

    •       Identify your niche in a thriving local food system.
    •       Start or expand a profitable farm or food-related business.
    •       Design regenerative farm systems that increase the life-supporting capacity of your land and your revenue.
    •       Write a business plan for your socially responsible farm or food business that is embedded in your regional food economy.
    •       Leave with key hands-on skills to jumpstart a successful operation.
    •       Become a leader in your food system through a deeper understanding of agricultural policy and pathways for social influence.

    Aug 16 – 19: Ecological Farm Design
    Aug 23 – 26: Seeds and Planting your Farm in the Regional Economy
    Aug 30 – Sept 2: Soils and Fertility Cycling
    Sept 6 – 9: Crop Planning and Harvesting for Diverse Markets and Community Resilience
    Sept 20 – 23: Regenerative Water Systems for Food
    Sept 27 – 30: Land Access and Tools for Farming
    Oct 4 – 7: Animals, Agroforestry and Integrated Farming
    Oct 11 – 14: Energy, Weeds, and Growing Health

    A 6-month mentorship follows the intensive course. We’ll help pair you with a knowledgeable mentor based on your goals and desired area of focus in the food system. The mentorship will provide you with invaluable time-tested wisdom and feedback to help rapidly put your planning into successful practice. Mentorships run from October to March, 2015


  • 02May

    2015 Backyard Farmer Bootcamp in Brooklyn, NY >> Starts May 27, 2015

    The Backyard Farmer Training is a hands-on course for people interested in starting a very productive small plot farm in their yard or those interested in starting a backyard farming business. Learn to effectively manage precious resources (time, energy, sun, water, soil, plants, money) while growing lots of food for your community. Through this intensive 14-week program, you will gain the invaluable experience of nurturing crops and soil day to day and gain a sense for the physical and mental energy required to run a small farming operation that produces high quality vegetables & herbs. Program takes place at Foxtrot Farmyard in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn between the Cortelyou and Newkirk stops (Q,B line)

    Wednesdays (9am-1pm): May 27 – August 26, 2015

    Click here for more details & registration

    Backyard Farmer Training Flier

  • 21Apr

    Case Studies of Land Trusts Working With Next Generation of Farmers 

    From California FarmLink

    Conservation and Affordability of Working Lands: Nine Case Studies of Land Trusts Working With Next Generation Farmers

    Finding affordable land continues to be one of the biggest obstacles facing beginning farmers and ranchers. Land trusts, which have long protected farmland from development, are in a unique position to help new farmers access land. California FarmLink seeks to increase our collaboration with land trusts and other conservation groups that believe agricultural lands are best preserved by promoting secure tenure for the farmers and ranchers who steward them. Check out our new publication  that contains nine examples of how land trusts and other conservation groups are helping farmers and ranchers overcome barriers to accessing land.

    Learn more about finding land using land trusts with a new publication from the National Young Farmers Coalition: http://www.beginningfarmers.org/nyfc-publishes-new-finding-farmland-guide-land-trusts/

  • 14Apr

    Agriculture at FrostburgFrostburg Grows Farm and Training Center’s summer 2015 Sustainable Agriculture Farmer Training Program in Maryland, 2015

    The Frostburg Grows Sustainable Agriculture Farmer Training Program is a 2 week, intensive program for aspiring farmers, those looking to diversify their current operations, food system advocates, undergrads, recent grads, WOOFERS, second career farmers and anyone interested in strengthening the local food movement through small business and sustainable practices. . Our program employs whole-farm systems to educate those who want to farm how to plan, prioritize and maximize land and resource with the triple bottom line- people, profit, planet- as a guiding foundation.

    This course is designed as a two week intensive program offering a practical, hands-on experience in growing, animal husbandry, construction and business planning that  will enable participants to realistically and profitably start and operate a farm or agribusiness of their own. Seed to harvest, worms to cattle, hand tools to tractors and all types of farm models, aspects of operating your own business and sustainability in agriculture will be covered in this nose to tail curriculum. Participants will gain crucial knowledge in the laws, regulations and finances of farming as well as directory of resources for future use and a network of folks to exchange  ideas and resources with.

    Some of the topics covered in the program include: High tunnel construction, various growing systems, season extension,plan nutrition and fertilization, rain water collection and irrigation, automation of heating/irrigation, tractor safety and operation,  diversified vegetable farming, berries, mushrooms and niche products, buying vs. leasing land, sustainable leadership, among various other totaling to more than 90 hours of learning

    ·         You must be 18 years or older to attend the program.

    ·         Program Fee is $2,475.00 (including housing and most meals)

    ·         Each session is 2 weeks long.

    ·         There are four sessions in our 2015 program.

    Session 1:     May 31st- June 13th

    Session 2:     June21st- July 3rd

    Session 3:     July 12th – July 25th

    Session 4:     August 2nd- August 15th

    Further program information, costs, FAQ’s and a detailed agenda is available at FrostburgGrows.com. Applications are currently being accepted.

  • 10Apr

    Press release on behalf of Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition!

    The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition received a federal grant to address food security issues, generate economic enterprises, and build communities among beginning farmers.

    Bringing new, diverse, and younger farmers into the fold of food and fiber production is increasingly critical to sustain communities locally. From 1997 to 2012, the average age of a farmer in the United States increased from 54 years old to 58.3 years old.

    The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and offers place-based and culturally appropriate education, training, and networking opportunities for farmers and ranchers with less than 10 years of experience.  The coalition will receive $724,828 over the next three years. These funds will help sustain and expand the program that established the coalition in 2010.

    “These funds are an endorsement of the importance of these kinds of programs to address the challenges of food insecurity in our nation, and also the efficacy of participatory approaches to train new farmers and the educators that provide training and research support,” said Kim Niewolny, program director for the coalition, Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist, and assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education  in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    The program serves as a conduit, not only to educate beginning farmers, but also to connect agricultural organizations and educators with each other in order to coordinate high quality outreach, education, training, and resource support across the commonwealth.

    For more information, see:  http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2015/03/033015-cals-beginningfarmer.html

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