Future Harvest CASA initiated its Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP) in 2012, in partnership with Maryland Agricultural Resource Council (MARC). The program is focused on training Chesapeake-region farmers on managing a sustainable family farm operation. There are currently 9 trainees in the program for 2013.
The BFTP is looking for motivated individuals that have previous farming experience with a plan to start a farming operation along with a passion for growing. Applicants will be asked to complete the application, send a resume and three business references. If accepted into the program the training time commitment is worked out with the training farmer, see program details below.
April 11, May 9 & June 13. The 2012 Urban Workshop Series focused on skills and resources for getting started, marketing your products, relating to neighbors, testing your soil, and much more. Click here for links to workshop recordings and materials!
Major Sponsors and Partners of the
The slots at our Baltimore County and Harford County training farms are full, however, we will be accepting applications until May 2013 for additional farmers (depending on funding) interested in training at Colchester Farm, our Eastern Shore training farm. We recruit highly motivated individuals, mostly college graduates with some farming experience and a commitment to a career in sustainable and/or organic agriculture. The program is free to participants.
We will announce recruiting specifics for the 2014 program in fall 2013.
Future Harvest CASA Conference - The training year begins at the Future Harvest CASA Annual Conference, in mid January, which this year was held on the 18th and 19th at the National Conference Center in Landsdowne, Virginia. We hold a lunch meeting at the conference to meet and discuss the BFTP plan for the year.
Workshops- University of Maryland Extension Baltimore County coordinates university professionals and other guest speakers to teach aspiring new farmers through a series of classes, one evening per week for 8 weeks, in February and March at the new Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture. Topics include: Marketing Essentials; Small Farm Business Planning; Soil Fertility and Conservation; Season Extension; Small Farm Business Planning; Pest, Disease, and Weed Management; GAP and Post Handling, and Organic Certification and Integrating Livestock into a Small Farm. These workshops are open to the public for a small fee. Selected BFTP trainees do not have to pay the fee. The trainees also attend a “Seed” potluck dinner meeting, a “Tools and Supplies” dinner meeting, and a “Chef Needs” dinner meeting, led by Baltimore's renowned sustainable local food restaurant entrepreneur, Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen. Click here for a the 2012 workshops.
Field Training - BFTP trainees will gain hands-on experience practicing on a weekly basis with either Jack and Becky Gurley from Calvert’s Gift Farm in Baltimore County, MD; Tom Paduano and Sarah Rider from Flying Plow Farm in Harford County, MD; Kristin Carbone from Radix Farm in Prince George's County, MD; Rick Hood of Summer Creek Farm in Frederick County, Maryland; and Theresa Mycek from Colchester Farm in Kent County, MD. The shoulder to shoulder hands-on training covers a broad range of topics beginning with soil and sowing and ending with harvesting and post handling. Also included are discussions and hands-on experience on the topics listed in #1 above.
Farm Tours/Workshops/Field Days - During the program year, the BFTP group participates in tours and training at various sustainable farms in the region including the new farms of training program graduates. Previous tours have been held at: One Straw Farm (Baltimore County), Real Food Farm (Baltimore City), Radix Farm (Upper Marlboro), Side By Side Farm (Baltimore County), Love Dove Farm (Howard County), Eco City Farm (DC) and Sunnyside (York County), and Hybridoma Organic Berry Farm (Baltimore County). Usually the tours end in the evening with a potluck dinner, which enables the BFTP farmers to ask more questions and to develop a sense of camaraderie. This support network, which continues to develop over the years, is one of the greatest benefits of the program.
Starting in 2012, Future Harvest CASA initiated its Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP), in partnership with Maryland Agricultural Resource Council (MARC).
The Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP) is focused on training Chesapeake Region farmers on managing a sustainable family farm operation.
The BFTP is a continuation of the New Farmer Training Program created by Future Harvest CASA members Jack and Beckie Gurley and Cathy Tipper, funded by North County Preservation (NCP), and administered by the Maryland Agricultural Resource Council (MARC).
This program has trained 25 farmers to date. Many are currently farming in the Chesapeake Region, some looking for management opportunities, others looking for a land opportunity, while others have moved out of the state to pursue non-farm opportunities. Graduates and trainees currently sell produce at several farmers' markets around the Baltimore and DC-area and offer CSA memberships. Several of the new farmer graduates are actively farming in Baltimore City, nurturing not just the soil, but also their communities. Click here for a full report on the program's and graduates' accomplishments to date.
Sign up for your Extension Newsletter to keep up to date on local educational opportunities in farming.
This year’s mentor farmers are:
Our media partners have assisted in getting the word out to prospective farmers and the general public.
- High Tunnel Twilight (Emmaus, PA)
June 19, 2013 (5:00 pm - 7:30 pm)
- Retail Farming for Success on the Delmarva at Greenbranch Farm
June 22, 2013 (10:00 am - 1:30 pm)
- Cordage Making for Kids
June 24, 2013 (9:00 am - 11:00 am)
Add new event