For New Farmers
Exploring the Small Farm Dream Courses
Take an Exploring the Small Farm Dream course from one of the organizations or agencies listed below. We expect this list to grow, so if you don't find a course near you now, check back. Most course sponsors offer classes in late fall, winter, or early spring. Classes generally are held over 4 sessions and some sponsors add farm visits or other activities in addition to the regular class schedule. For information on specific course schedules, check with the individual sponsor.
NESFI originally designed the Explorer workbook for use in the classroom. We believe that using the workbook in a classroom setting offers you and your fellow classmates several benefits. First, facilitators will guide your exploration, bringing their own business start-up experience and farming knowledge to the class. They can answer questions and expand on the text in ways that are keyed to your needs, and introduce you to local resources. Second, you will be exploring with a group of peers - folks with similar interests and concerns with whom you can test ideas and share experiences. They can become the heart of your business start-up support network-both in the classroom and beyond. And, finally, the regular weekly meeting schedule provides both the motivation and a structure to do the work.
Course participants say:
The course "helped us organize our thoughts, connect to local resources & assess our personal situation."
"Tons of info, nice to talk with other like-minded people."
"I would recommend the class to people who are serious about investigating (exploring) the small farm dream. There’s nothing like bringing a sense of reality to the dream."
Exploring the Small Farm Dream Course Sponsors:
In the U.S.
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Contact: Melissa Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/land-use/agricultural-business-training-program-abtp.html.
Potential Exploring the Small Farm Dream course dates to be offered by MDAR in FY 2017:
Fall 2016, Winter 2017, eastern MA (dates and location TBD based on interest)
The following are tentative dates; course to be held at Bristol Community College if enough interest is identified:
5 Tuesday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, February 28, March 7, March 14, March 21, and March 28, 2017,
At Bristol Community College Fall River Campus
If interested, complete an application found at the MDAR website above and return to Melissa Adams, MDAR, 101 University Drive Suite C4, Amherst, MA 01002.
Niagra County Cooperative Extension: http://www.niagaracc.suny.edu/wfcd/sbdc/agri_seminar.php?section=wfcd&subsection=business-dev-center
Wayne County NY Cooperative Extension: Check the Small Farm Dream web page or contact Beth Claypoole at email@example.com
Ohio Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, http://www.cvcountryside.org/
- Penn State University Cooperative Extension. Courses offered at several locations. Contact John Berry firstname.lastname@example.org or go to extension.psu.edu/business/farm
- University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension. Courses begin in winter 2010. http://www.risbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=10300001 or Contact Kristen Castrataro at email@example.com for more information.
Local Food Project: Arlie Foundation and Conference Center. Warrenton Virginia. http://www.airlie.org/activities/foodproject.htm
- Manitoba Farm Mentorship - a program of the Organic Food Council of Manitoba. For more information on courses, go to: http://www.organicfoodcouncil.org/education/courses.html
Novascotia Agricultural College, Continuing and Professional Education: http://nsac.ca/cde/
Farm Start: Ontario, Canada: http://www.farmstart.ca/explorer/