Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training Overview
Looking to launch or expand your farming business?
Join this 180+ hour Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training Program!
Many skills are required to start a successful farm: passion, clear goals, production experience, financial and marketing know-how, and more. The Farm Beginnings® class is a 12-month training session that helps beginning farmers clarify their goals and strengths, establish a strong enterprise plan and start building their operation. The course uses a mix of farmer-led classroom sessions, on-farm tours, and an extensive farmer network. Farm Beginnings® is designed for new and prospective farmers who want to plan a profitable farm business. Students do not need to currently own land, but some farming or production experience is helpful to get the most out of the class.
Through Farm Beginnings®, you can:
- Tap into knowledge of some of the most innovative & skilled farmers operating in WNC
- Build a strong peer-to-peer farmer network for skill sharing, problem solving, and mentoring for success
- Learn critical farm management skills such as creative financing and innovative marketing strategies
- Experience sustainable practices on real farms under a variety of conditions
- Learn to view a farm as an interconnected system and how holistic goals help determine success.
- Craft YOUR tailor made farm plan
What I got from Farm Beginnings is a real understanding of what it actually takes to have a farm. Before going into the program I had a lot of lofty dreams about living a bucolic life. This class really taught me what it takes and the hard work that goes into farming by introducing us to real farmers and getting real numbers. It was also a really great way to connect to other local farmers and people who are just starting out, in order to create a network of folks who have the same passion and vision.Quinn Asteak
We are no longer accepting applications for our 2016 class. We will begin accept applications again in June of 2017. Read more about applying to the program here.
Tuition & Scholarships
Learn more about tuition costs and opportunities for scholarships, here.
Meet the Farm Beginnings instructors, here.
The goal of Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training is clear. We want more farmers on the land and a system in which family farmers can flourish. As farmers thrive, they care for the land, strengthen their communities, generate income for themselves and others, and produce food for their region. Learn more here.
See the full 2016-2017 Schedule here.
Why Farmer Training?
The OGS Farmer Programs have trained more than 600 farmers and farmers workers and saw a 75% increase in demand for training from 2011 to 2014. Farming takes courage and perseverance, dedication and time. Few who start and aspire to farm will be able to succeed without help. Learn more about why farmer training is important. Learn more about the farming journey.
2016-2017 Farm Beginnings® Training Includes 180+ Hours including : See full 2016-17 Schedule Here.
- Winter Course – 60 hrs (October-March) – 13 whole farm business planning sessions
- Production Training – 45 hrs (April-October) – 7 WNC CRAFT field days on sustainable farms around WNC & 10 Field Days at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm
- OGS Spring Conference (March) & Harvest Conference (September): 40+ hours
- 8 hours at ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference
- One year WNC CRAFT Farmer Network membership – Membership and mentoring in a regional farmer network
Location: Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm at 180 Mag Sluder Rd. Alexander, NC 28701 (just 15 minutes from Asheville, NC) – View map here.
Organic Growers School is a member of Farm Beginnings® Collaborative, a national alliance of independent regional groups of farmers and farmer-training support organizations working together to promote Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training. The Farm Beginnings® Collaborative, includes ten organizations with programs serving beginning farmers in 13 states and focused on a model of farmer training that is community based, rooted in sustainable principles, and farmer led.
The Farm Beginnings® Farmer Training program offered through Organic Growers School is based in Asheville, NC and serves the Southern Appalachians. The program features all the best in regionally-centered curriculum as well as the collective wisdom of the national alliance.
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OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and funding in part by the Community Foundation of WNC, CLIF Bar Family Foundation, Organic Valley, Simply 1%, Carolina Farm Credit, French Broad Food Co-op, and by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of USDA-NIFA, Grant #2016-70017-25341