Beginning women farmers are defined as those having less than 10 years farming experience.“Empowering Beginning Women Farmers in the Northeast through Whole Farm Planning” is funded by Holistic Management International through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. Across the Northeast, over 150 women have graduated from the training giving them information and perspectives on how to succeed in farming.
This program instructs participants on using a holistic approach to decision making on their farms. Participants from across NY State meet for 10 sessions on topics such as goal setting, financial, business, and marketing plans, land and infrastructure planning, soil fertility, and planned grazing. The final four sessions are located on farms to allow for hands-on learning.According to participant Linda Haley Ross of Madison County, "The NE Beginning Women Farmer program allowed me to learn hands-on, in-classroom, and through peer discussion the real challenges I would be facing as a farmer today, while providing me the tools to address them. In addition, I leave with a lifelong support system and perpetually growing network of resources to guarantee my success."
Participants are provided with mentors and are connected with a network of other beginning women farmers throughout the Northeast for additional support. Participants from previous classes continue to meet after graduation to stay connected, enjoy the camaraderie created by the training and expand their learning.
Applications for the third year of this program are due on Sept. 30, 2011 and are available at www.cnyrcd.org or by contacting Lauren Lines, New York State Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. The sessions will begin in November and run through June, and will be located in Central New York for the upcoming year. On the web: http://www.cnyrcd.org/