• 19Apr

    Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success Free Course for Farmers

    Online Course Materials and Notes Available for Educators to Use Free

    The Farmers Market Federation of NY and the NY Farm Viability Institute are cosponsoring an online course in Marketing aimed at farmers called Marketing for Profit: Tools for Success.  This program is funded by USDA SARE’s NE Professional Development Program and hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome County.

    There is no charge for the course which can be taken by farmers at their convenience asynchronously and is accessible any time, day or night.  Participants do not have to follow a specific schedule which makes it easier for farmers to participate since they can move through the course at their own pace.  The course materials are also available at no charge for use by extension educators or other educators who wish to use the materials to teach this as an in-person class.

    The curriculum includes the following five components, or modules: Self-Assessment, Market Assessment, Customer Assessment, Communications Assessment, and Business Assessment.  Within each module there are three sessions which include a video of each live presentation, Q & A documents, glossary of terms, links to additional resources, an online discussion forum, homework assignments, and a quiz.  By completing all five modules, farmers will be able to learn essential marketing skills to analyze their personal and business capacity, determine optimal marketing channels, build their customer base, and increase their sales and profits.  After completing the course, participants will have all the knowledge needed to create their complete farm business and marketing plan.

    Successful completion of all sessions within each of the 5 components including the assignments and quizzes will earn the participant a Certificate of Achievement.  In addition, farmers who complete the course in its entirety will be eligible for borrower training credits through the USDA Farm Services Agency.

    To register for this free online curriculum to help farmers increase their marketing skills and grow their business, go to: http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/work-shop-programs/online-marketing-for-profit-course.html

    For more information on the curriculum, on teaching the course to groups of farmers, or on using the course to qualify for borrower training credits, please contact the Farmers Market Federation office at 315-637-4690.

  • 16Apr

    An invitation for all specialty crop, CSA and diversified farmers in southern Michigan:

    The Washtenaw Food Hub, with support from Morse Marketing Connections and MDARD, would like to invite you to a FREE half-day marketing workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan to learn about potential ways to grow your business.

    Financial and food safety experts, value-added entrepreneurs and chefs as well as institutional buyers will share successful ways specialty crop farmers are opening doors to new markets through improved financial readiness and food safety practices. ** Please see the attached flyer with a description and schedule for the program.

    Who: Specialty crop farmers

    What: Free workshop including lunch and tour of the Washtenaw Food Hub – “Connecting Specialty Crop Farmers with New Markets and Food Hubs: Financial and Food Safety Options for Scaling Up”

    When: Monday, May 5, 2014 from 11:15am-4:00pm

    Where: Washtenaw Food Hub, 4175 Whitmore Lake Rd., Ann Arbor, MI. More info: http://washtenawfoodhub.com

    Registration for this workshop is free of charge but space is limited.

    Please RSVP before April 28, 2014 at: http://bit.ly/1hBTuVc

    Note: Participants coming from more than 30 miles may request a travel scholarship for funds to reimburse mileage.  Contact Chad Gerencer:  chad@morseconnections.com or 231-740-4056 for more information.

  • 04Apr

    Farmers Wanted for 2014 Growing Season on Massachusetts Incubator Farm

    Open View Farm in Conway, Massachusetts (http://www.openviewfarm.org/) has for the past 5 years served as an incubator farm for new or young farmers ready to apply their farming knowledge and eager to experiment, learn and grow. We are a supportive community who believe strongly in the local food movement and have land to share. We tend sheep, chickens, a llama, a donkey, cats and a dog (http://www.openviewfarm.org/our-animal-companions/), and especially, family and friends (http://www.openviewfarm.org/people-on-the-farm/)!

    The Farm has great soil and southern exposure. We’ve been able to grow all kinds of vegetables here: celery, peas, lettuces, kale, arugula, spinach, pak choi, hardneck garlic, heirloom tomatoes, eggplants, specialty peppers, okra, green beans, tomatillos, parsnips, beets, carrots, squash, cabbages, herbs, and much more. We also have delicious perennials–asparagus, apples, raspberries, blueberries, and sorrel. There are tools, fencing, cold frames and lots of the necessary materials organized and available for use. We will prepare and deliver tilled fields.

    See the gardens here: http://www.openviewfarm.org/our-gardens/. Be sure to look through the photos!

    Past farmers have focused their attention in different ways, including soil development and testing, growing for market, growing for family, friends and educational purposes, as well as considering the viability of a CSA. These endeavors are the farmer’s to determine and we offer support, encouragement and sometimes extra hands for help. In the past we have happily hosted planting and harvesting days finished off with a meal provided by our family.

    We are seeking a farmer or farmers for the 2014 growing season. If you are interested, please contact Aimee at either aimeegelnaw@gmail.com or (413) 475-2244. We would love to meet you to see if we all make a good fit!

  • 17Mar

    March 2014 Workshops for farmers at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in Wisconsin

    March 21st. Grant Writing 8.30-noon
    Need money for farm equipment, hoop houses, irrigation, or conduct research on your farm or start a community garden? Margaret Krome, MFAI Policy Director will help you ensign sound projects, find sustainable programs to consider and learn how to write a fundable grant proposal. Register at http://bit.ly/mfaiwfw

    March 28th. Soil 101 9.00-noon
    Heathy soil healthy farm and garden! Learn how organic matter and tillage impact the soil with our Research Director Jim Stute $40. Register here: http://bit.ly/mfaiwfw

    March 29th. Fundamentals of Seed Saving 1.00-4.00pm
    Save seeds! So important but we all need to know how. Come and learn from the experts from Seed Saving Exchange. $40 Register here:http://bit.ly/mfaiwfw

    Call if you have questions 262 642 3303 x100 or write Sandy Andrews: sandrews@michaelfields.org.

  • 19Feb

    Webinars on Cooperative Models for Farmers Now Available from the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC)

    NYFC teamed up with the Democracy at Work Institute back in November and January to host two webinars introducing young farmers to cooperative farm models. Tune in to hear successful cooperative stories from Fifth Season Cooperative Growers, Little City Growers Cooperative, Our Table Cooperative Farm, Valley Green Feast, Tourne-Sol Cooperative Farm and Diggers Mirth Farm.

    Click below to stream the videos online!

    An Introduction to Worker Cooperatives for Farmers and Start-Ups

    How Young Farmers Are Using Cooperatives to Build Successful Farms

  • 01Jan

    Wherever You’re Farming, Learning about Farming, or Dreaming about Farming, Wishing You a Healthy and Fruitful 2014!



    These maps are produced by Benjamin Hennig, an academic geographer at the University of Oxford. The maps are featured in a blog post by Hennig on the global spaces of food production, here.



  • 23Dec

    The 2014 Conservation Stewardship Program Deadline is January 17, 2014

    See Below for how ATTRA Can Help You Meet the Deadline

    Excerpt: Farmers who want to sign up for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Stewardship Program in fiscal year 2014 have only a short time to get their applications in.

    And ATTRA specialists can help them. …

    Applications for CSP are taken throughout the year, but applications from famers who don’t meet the January 17 deadline won’t be considered until early 2015.

    The Conservation Stewardship Program is a working lands conservation program administered by NRCS and available on a nationwide basis. CSP offers technical and financial assistance to farmers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship on eligible lands. Assistance is geared toward both the active management of existing conservation systems and the implementation of new conservation activities on land in agricultural production.

    The ATTRA website now has links both to a guide to applying for CSP generated by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and helpful details from the NRCS. To find those links, go on line at https://attra.ncat.org/csp/. 

    Also, farmers who need assistance with their applications can call the ATTRA sustainable agriculture helpline at 800-346-9140 or go to the Ask an Ag Expert feature on the ATTRA website to email questions. The ATTRA website is www.attra.ncat.org.

  • 20Dec

    Farming Events This Winter

    Hundreds of Learning and Networking Opportunities Available to Farmers

    The winter months are often jam-packed with conferences, workshops, events, gatherings, learning opportunities, etc., for farmers. This winter is no different. Here’s a small sampling of upcoming opportunities for learning and networking off the farm. Be sure to visit ATTRA’s events calendar for an up-to-date listing, with details, links, and more.

    Connecting Sustainable Farmers to Emerging Health Care Markets – A Hospital-Focused Presentation

    December 19, 2013 – Online

    Farm Food Safety Training with GAPs

    January 6-7, 2014 – Canandaigua, New York

    Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Tradeshow

    January 7-8, 2014 – Lexington, Kentucky

    Four-Week Grow Biointensive Sustainable Farmer Training and Crop Production Course

    January 7-31, 2014 – Willits, California

    Indiana Vegetable Growers Symposium

    January 7, 2014 – Schererville, Indiana

    Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism and Organic Conference

    January 8-12, 2014 – Springfield, Illinois

    And many, many more! There are well over 50 events in January alone listed on ATTRA’s events page. Be sure to scroll through and see if any of these events are near you, or if any of the online conferences are of interest.

  • 25Sep

    The “Feeding the World” Trope

    What do farmers think? What do consumers think?

    National Public Radio’s The Salt ran a story online this week, which also appeared on the widely listened to Morning Edition entitled “American Farmers Say They Feed The World, But Do They?”

    I was irked by the title, because of course, not all farmers make this claim. Nevertheless, the fallacious hook drew me right in. Unfortunately, the author continued to use the term “farmer” monolithically throughout, though it was clear he was referring to farmers who advocate a high-tech, industrial style agriculture (which is still problematic – it’s not necessarily true all such advocates claim to be feeding the world).

    The loose use of “farmer” aside, the issue of whether farmers in the U.S. are actually “feeding the world” or not, is indeed taken up in an interesting way. The debate is framed perhaps too narrowly as that between advocates of industrial agriculture and those who claim industrial agriculture is damaging the environment; the author concludes that both sides are right and wrong. Consumer opinion is also considered; apparently only 13 percent of consumers think U.S. farmers have the responsibility to “feed the world” (this according to a study conducted by the Center for Food Integrity). Though, that’s the only consumer-related statistic we’re offered.

    Interested in the details? Read the entire article here. What do you think? Have you heard friends or colleagues use the language “feed the world”? Do you have an opinion on the debate?

  • 04Jul

    Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Proposed Rules (and Exemptions) For Farmers, an Easy to Understand Guide; And How to Comment on the Rules*

    The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the federal food safety law that applies to farms growing fruits and vegetables that may be eaten raw. FSMA is intended to reduce the risk of microbial contamination of fresh produce. It will be administered by the federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The law was passed two years ago, but proposed regulations were released in January 2013 for public comment (due by September 16, 2013). The Following is an “easy to understand” guide to the proposed rules, regulations, and exemptions. It is presented here to help farmers understand what impact these rules could have on their farm business and share their comments with FDA (learn how to comment on the proposed rules). This guide presents a basic overview of the lengthy and complicated proposed FSMA rules presented by FDA and should not be considered a legal document or a substitute for official FDA rules.

    There are Two Parts to FSMA: 1) The Produce Safety Rule applies to “farms” or those who grow, harvest, pack or hold covered produce. The rules apply to produce generally eaten raw, i.e. greens, melons, tomatoes, apples, etc. (aka “covered produce” or raw agricultural commodities “RAC’s”). They do NOT apply to produce not eaten raw, i.e. sweet corn, potatoes, pumpkins, etc. Also NOT covered is produce grown for personal consumption, on farm consumption, or on another farm under the same ownership. 2) The Preventive Controls Rule applies to “facilities” that manufacture, process, pack or hold human food and to operations that buy and resell products grown on other farms. These facilities will need to register with the federal government and comply with regulations outlined in the preventive controls portion of the rule. Facilities are defined in the rules and cover operations that modify or process produce from its original state.

    There are Exemptions to the Act that May Apply to Farmers. (To Continue Reading this Guide Click “Read More”) Read more »

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