Groundswell Center Offers Scholarships for Sustainable Farming Trainees, 2013The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming in Ithaca, NY is offering scholarships for limited-resource trainees in its 2013 Sustainable Farming courses. These courses provide training in small-scale, commercial organic farming systems and are geared for beginning and aspiring farmers. Programs begin May 6 – Apply now! Groundswell’s 100-hour Sustainable Farming Certificate Program runs from May 6 to October 26 and provides a well-rounded, in-depth immersion in organic crop and livestock production. It also exposes trainees to a variety of models and mentors for successful small farm management. The curriculum combines on-farm workshops, classroom training, farm tours, and supervised on-farm work experience.
This year Groundswell is also offering a series of shorter courses for those who don’t want to take on the full 100-hour Certificate Program. These include several advanced-level Intensives, geared for farmers with at least two years of production experience.
Groundswell’s 2013 Sustainable Farming Programs
Sustainable Farming Certificate Program: 100 hours, May 6 – October 26
Finger Lakes CRAFT: Monthly farm tours and social gatherings
Organic Farming Fundamentals: Six sessions, May 8 – June 26.
Commercial Organic Vegetable Production Basics: Eight sessions, May 22 – August 28.
Organic Livestock Production Basics: Six sessions, July 3 – August 7.
Pastured Poultry Intensive: Full-day workshop, Aug 12.
Sheep Dairy Intensive: Full-day workshop, Aug 18.
Hog Breeding & Farrowing Intensive: Full-day workshop, Sep 16.
Draft Horse Intensive: Two-day workshop, TBA.
Poultry Processing Practicum: Full-day workshops, TBA.
“We work hard to attract a diverse group of trainees each year,” says Groundswell Director Joanna Green. “People of all ages and demographics are getting interested in farming, and they all need access to the training and the resources required to be successful.” Groundswell especially encourages people of color to get involved, as well as new Americans, LGBT and others who have sometimes been excluded from the sustainable agriculture/local foods movement.
A campus without walls
Groundswell ‘s courses are taught by experienced farmers on diverse working farms in the Finger Lakes area. These include West Haven Farm in Ithaca, Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon, Kingbird Farm in Berkshire, and The Good Life Farm in Interlaken, which serve as the main “Mentor Farms” for Groundswell programs.
“With Groundswell, you’re getting the best farmers in the area to open up their farms, their business plans, their marketing strategies, growing practices and maybe most importantly, their lifestyles,” says Allan Gandelman of Main Street Farms in Homer, NY. Gandelman and his business partner Bob Cat both participated in Groundswell programs before and during the launch of their innovative indoor farm business, which now produces and markets sustainable-raised Tilapia and specialty greens year-round.
Tuition for each program is on a sliding scale. Program details and an online application form can be found at www.groundswellcenter.org. For more information email email@example.com or call 607-319-5095
The Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is an initiative of the EcoVillage Center for Sustainability Education/Center for Transformative Action. Support is provided by USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture-USDA, Grant #2010-49400-21799, Park Foundation, and Appalachian Regional Commission’s New Americans Initiative.