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Tipper-Gurley Fund for New Farmer Training

Providing critical support for a profitable and sustainable farmer workforce

The Tipper-Gurley Fund for New Farmer Training's mission is to gather and galvanize resources to achieve our vision of a new farmer workforce well trained in practices that are profitable, protect our land and water, and provide healthy food for our region’s communities.

Support the Tipper-Gurley Fund for New Farmers

Click Here to Donate!

One of the many things we are quickly learning from the COVID-19 pandemic is how vulnerable our regional food supply chain is and how vital our farmers are to supplying healthy, nutritious food to our communities. This year, we’ve seen an increase in demand for local food and the need to bring food products closer to home by fostering sustainable growing practices that protect our land and resources. So, the demand for Future Harvest’s Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP) has never been greater! 

Since the BFTP launched 11 years ago, Future Harvest has trained more than 330 new farmers across the Chesapeake region in sustainable and regenerative practices. The BFTP provides a full year of FREE training to new farmers, ensuring that no farmer is ever turned away for lack of funds. We distribute thousands of dollars directly to limited-resource farmers each year in the form of needs-based, farm start-up mini-grants. Applications for 2022 will open in the fall.  We expect well over 200 applications by the final deadline in mid-October!

This year, we need your help more than ever! Please support the Tipper-Gurley Fund today and check out our different donor levels!

The Tipper-Gurley Fund, named after the BFTP’s founders Cathy Tipper (Roberts Roost Farm) and Jack and Beckie Gurley (Calvert’s Gift Farm), supports our work to provide free access to critical training for our region’s future farmers. 

Why make a donation?

As you can imagine, the costs of operating a free program are high and the USDA grant that has supported the program over the past several years is expiring this fall. In addition, as we face a “new normal” with the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased demand for farmers to feed our diverse communities, the BFTP is critical to developing a new farmer workforce that is well-trained in practices that are profitable, protect our water, land, and climate, and provide healthy food our region’s communities. 

We are proud to say that the BFTP has been extremely successful at reaching and training more farmers of color and women farmers. In our 2020 class, 40% were racial minorities and 71% were women.  These passionate, aspiring farmers are eager to learn sustainable ways to keep our water and air clean, soils fertile, communities healthy, farmland safe from development, and our local food system resilient. You can learn more about some of our 300 BFTP graduates on our website. Their profiles are truly inspiring!

Your tax-deductible donation helps to:

  • Train the next generation of Chesapeake farmers
  • Prepare new farmers for successful, climate-smart farming
  • Encourage individuals to enter farming with support and resources
  • ​Sustain a more resilient, crisis-ready local food system

No gift is too small! The time is now! Together, we can continue our work to ensure that we have a sustainable, regional food system and a farmer workforce that is ready and able to feed our communities!

Hear from Beginner Farmer Training Program graduates in the video below, made by our friends and BFTP graduates George Burroughs and Lauren Giordano of Schoolhouse Farmhouse


Donor Levels & Benefits

Future Harvest is excited to announce new donor benefits that you can see highlighted in red below! This is our way of thanking our major donors for the Tipper-Gurley Fund for all of their support! We also want to thank our generous contributors of these wonderful new benefits, Marijke Torfs, Tom Croghan, Edwin Remsberg, and Lisa Duff. Future Harvest will contact the top donors in early November to provide them with information about the new benefits. In addition, all donors contributing $100 or more will receive a complimentary Future Harvest Individual Membership!

  • $5,000 and up, Sustaining Harvest Donor: The two top donors at this level will receive a stay at ZigBone Farm Retreat for a Monday-Friday stay or a non-holiday weekend in January-March 2022 at this spacious, luxurious, quarantine-perfect, eco-retreat villa in Sabillasville, MD; Receive print recognition in our BFTP promotional materials and conference program, online recognition with a link to your website, as well as verbal recognition at our annual conference and winter workshop series;
  • $2,500-$4,999, Collectors Donor: The five top donors at this level will receive a Winemaker's Dinner at The Vineyards at Dodon for two guests available during the months of May, June, or July 2022 (food prepared by winemaker) in Davidsonville, MD; Receive print recognition in our BFTP promotional materials and conference program, online recognition with a link to your website, as well as verbal recognition at our annual conference; 
  • $1,000-$2,499, Greenhouse Donor: The top donor at this level will receive Glamp in a Safari Landrover for two for a weekend from June-September 2022. Enjoy an amazing experience with a roof-top tent on a classic 1966 Series Land Rover parked in a sheep pasture on farm in Fallston, MD; Receive print recognition in our BFTP promotional materials, online recognition with a link to your website, as well as verbal recognition at our winter workshop series;
  • $500-$999, Tractor Donor: The top donor at this level will receive a Picnic and Farm Tour for 4-6 people at the beautiful Oak Spring Farm in northern Baltimore, MD from June-September 2022, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday afternoon. Table and chairs set up an a welcome beverage included; Receive online recognition with a link to your website, as well as verbal recognition at our winter workshop series;
  • $100-$499, Contributor: Receive online recognition with a link to your website

Support the Tipper-Gurley Fund for New Farmers to help beginning farmers achieve commercial success. 

Click Here to Donate!


We have a fundraising goal of $25,000 for the Tipper-Gurley Fund annually. Checks should be made payable to “Future Harvest” and can be mailed to: 1114 Shawan Road, Suite 1, Cockeysville, MD 21030 (please note Tipper-Gurley Fund in the check memo line). Call Dena Leibman at (240) 413-9495, or email: dena@futureharvest.org to make stock gifts or if you have questions.

*If you do NOT wish to be recognized by name for your donation, please email futureharvestcasa@gmail.com

Gifts from an IRA - Donors who are age 70 ½ can make a tax-free Qualified Charitable Distribution directly from their IRA for up to $100,000, completely bypassing the above income limitation, and still taking the full standard deduction. The contribution isn’t eligible to be included in itemized deductions but it is excluded from income. Even better, the distribution counts toward the donor’s Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from an IRA for people age 70 ½.


Want to learn a bit more about the BFTP and how it can help you start your own farm journey? Check out this webinar on Following Your Farm Dreams, from the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, featuring BFTP Director Sarah Sohn and Delmarva Program Manager Niamh Shortt.