Farm Beginnings® is a year-long program for aspiring and beginning farmers that is designed to help participants launch or grow their farm business. The course is focused on sustainable agriculture and is led by Vermont-based service providers and farmers. The 2022/2023 Farm Beginnings cohort will begin in mid-October 2022. Read below for more details, including schedule, topics covered, and more.
Applications are closed for the 2022/23 cohort. Please contact Aaron at 802-434-7180 or [email protected] with any questions. Thank you to all who applied!
What to Expect
This is a hybrid virtual and in-person program. From October through March, participants will meet for eight online learning modules, including video lectures, assignments, and live virtual meetings. In the summer, participants will transition from the classroom into the fields to work one-on-one with an experienced farmer mentor and attend a series of on-farm workshops.
The course starts in the fall with a series of in-depth business-planning modules taught by farmers and service providers who will offer first-hand knowledge on topics such as goal-setting, land access, farm financing, recordkeeping, and marketing. Participants will increase their knowledge on all aspects of farm management, improve their decision-making ability, and develop a business plan for their farm or future farm. The course is also designed to build connections and relationships among the aspiring and beginning farmers in each cohort.
In the summer, participants will transition from the classroom into the fields to work one-on-one with an experienced farmer mentor and attend a series of on-farm workshops.
Farm Beginnings is a great option for both aspiring farmers who have farm experience and a goal of starting their own farm business and beginning farmers who are in their first few years of running their own business and looking to enhance their skill sets. Participation in Farm Beginnings is a first step toward participation in the NOFA-VT Journey Farmer program.
- Establish quality of life goals and identify your farm values, vision, and goals
- Assess your resources, skills, and markets and how these fit into a profitable farm business
- Write a farm business plan, including a financial and marketing plan
- Learn critical farm management and record-keeping skills
- Meet and learn from innovative, local farming practitioners in class and at on-farm workshops
- Develop your farm business and production skills by working one-on-one with a farmer mentor
- Learn how to access resources and programs at NOFA-VT and throughout Vermont that can help bring your farm vision to fruition