GROUNDSWELL LAUNCHES 2011 NEW FARMER TRAINING PROGRAM, ITHACA

For immediate release: 2/4/11 Contact: Joanna Green, Groundswell Center Director, 607-277-0180, joannajgreen@gmail.com

Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming Offers Training Program for Aspiring Farmers and Market Gardeners

Ithaca, NY – Starting this spring, local agriculture education nonprofit Groundswell will offer a training program for aspiring farmers and market gardeners that combines training, mentoring, business planning support, and affordable access to land at EcoVillage in Ithaca. Beginning April 15 and running through November 15, the New Farmer Training Program provides 100 hours of classroom training, hands-on workshops, farm visits, and supervised work experience on successful local farms. Instruction will be provided by experienced farmer mentors, as well as subject matter experts from our partner institutions such as Cornell University, USDA, and Cornell Cooperative Extension. A Certificate in Sustainable Farming will be awarded to trainees upon completion of the program.

The New Farmer Training Project’s flexible curriculum is geared for both entry-level trainees and more experienced beginning farmers and interns who want to deepen their knowledge of sustainable production practices and the science behind those practices. Trainees can choose to concentrate their studies on the management of vegetables, fruits, livestock, or poultry, or pursue a diversified curriculum. Each trainee will have an individualized Learning Contract, and will be evaluated on the basis of that contract before being awarded a certificate of completion. The April-November curriculum focuses on sustainable production systems and exposes trainees to a variety of successful small farm management models. A separate certificate program will be offered in the winter with a focus on business planning, management and marketing. Groundswell is committed to the vision of a regionally self-reliant food system that provides good food and economic opportunities for everyone. The New Farmer Training Program seeks to engage trainees from diverse cultural, racial, and economic backgrounds to participate in a supportive, trainee-driven learning environment. Minority, new immigrant and limited-resource trainees are especially encouraged to apply. Tuition for the 2011 Sustainable Farming Certificate Program is just $600, and substantial scholarship support is offered. Most classes will be held evenings and weekends to accommodate folks with job, family or farm responsibilities. Applications for the New Farmer Training Program are now online. Visit www.groundswellcenter.org to learn more and apply today. The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is an initiative of the EcoVillage Center for Sustainability Education/Center for Transformative Action.  Support for Groundswell comes from individuals and businesses who believe in the importance of strong local food systems, and from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture-USDA, Grant #2010-49400-21799. For more information, visit www.groundswellcenter.org. GROUNDSWELL CENTER FOR LOCAL FOOD & FARMING P.O. Box 6679 Ithaca, NY  14851 607-277-0180

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