Organic Growers School: Farm Beginnings

FAQs & How to Apply


Applications for 2020-2021 are now closed, use the form below to get info on 2021-2022.


What can I expect during the application process?

Applications will be reviewed by the OGS Farmer Programs team and accepted on the basis of applicant experience, farmer and farm readiness, and your stage in The Farming Journey. Each applicant may be asked to do an informal interview—either in person or by phone—to discuss the program and determine if Farm Beginnings® is a good match for the potential participant’s needs.

We are currently accepting applications for the 2020-2021 class! Apply here.

What is the total time commitment for the program?


Winter Whole-Farm Business Planning Courses——October–March

ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference——February

OGS Spring Conference and Harvest Conference——March and September

Mentorship with an experienced Farmer Mentor—15 hours—March–September

Production Training: WNC CRAFT tours on sustainable farms around WNC & Field Days workshops at Living Web Farms——April–October , optional field days at : Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm 

WNC CRAFT Farmer Network: Membership and mentoring in a regional farmer network—12 months


Location of Winter Whole-Farm Business Planning Courses
We will be hosting all classes virtually.

2020–2021 Curriculum & Schedule is here. (currently being revised for virtual programming)

Virtual class session will be on Thursday evenings 6-8:30. 6 pm to 6:30 will be “office hours”.  There will be up to 14 session October – February.   In  May thru September you will be expected to engage in farm tours and farming activities, conferences and workshops. However, we will know at at later date if they will be live or virtual.

What are the plans due to Covid 19?

All class sessions will be virtual October- February. If we are able, we will  host an optional in person class for networking,  but also want to be as safe and smart as possible. We will determine 2021 events closer to that time. 


What is the program schedule?

Farm Beginnings® includes a variety of educational opportunities: business planning courses, conferences, farm tours, mentoring, and networking—all led by experienced farmers. The 2020–2021 Farm Beginnings® curriculum & schedule is currently being revised. The original schedule can be found here. Please note some of the later dates in 2021 are still TBD. All virtual classes will be on Thursday evenings 6:30 – 8:30, with 6-6:30 office hours, starting October 8th. Every 3 sessions, will have 1 session off (a Thursday) and we adjust for holidays. 

Who should apply?

People considering full-time farming, farming part-time while continuing other employment, changing careers to start farming,  or developing an existing agricultural hobby into a more serious business activity, should apply. Students do not need to currently own land, but 1 season minimum experience of doing farming or garden work in the last five years is required.

Not you? Don’t fret! We have programs applicable to all stages of farming education. Complete the Growing the Next Generation of Farmers Worksheet to determine the best place for you to plug into our training programs.

What are the requirements for admission?

Dedication to a full-time or part-time farming career.

Commitment to participate in a minimum of 12–20 hours of training per month for the entirety of the year

Willingness to be a learner, to make this investment and commitment, make time to read, think, plan, dream, and integrate. Your engagement is crucial.

Transportation to attend classes near Asheville and at other nearby farm locations.

Minimum experience of one season doing farm/garden work in the last five years.

Not you? Don’t fret! We have programs applicable to all stages of farming education. Complete the Growing the Next Generation Worksheet or visit The Farming Journey page to determine the best place for you to plug into our training programs.

What is the course fee and are there payment options?

The course fee for 2020-2021 is $2700 and applies to a farm unit (1–2 individuals who are business partners, family members or life partners). The program allows two partners who apply and are accepted together to benefit from the dual enrollment. If you are applying with a farm partner, they must also fill out the entire application. Space is limited.

If you are unable to pay the full course fee, do not be deterred! Scholarships and payment plans are available and we encourage you to apply. Both farm partners must apply if they are requesting a scholarship.  Learn more on our Tuition & Scholarships page.***ALL SCHOLARSHIPS FUNDS FOR 2020 CLASS HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED. Email with questions.

If accepted in Farm Beginnings®, the course fee is due either in full or as a down payment by October 1st to secure your spot in the course. Payments can be made online via credit card or via check. Checks must be RECEIVED by October 1st.  We will provide further instructions for making payment following acceptance in the program.

How do I apply?

We are now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 class.

You can apply using the online application by clicking on the button above or print the following documents. If printing, be sure to complete and submit the full application and the “Growing the Next Generation” worksheet. The scholarship application that is included with the full application is optional.

PDF Format


DOCX Format


Mail completed application to:
Farm Beginnings c/o Organic Growers School
PO Box 17804
Asheville, NC 28816

What should my completed application contain?

Application Check List (only complete applications will be reviewed):

  • Farm Beginnings Primary Application
    • 2 references (2 professional)
  • Farm Beginnings Partner Application (optional)
    • 2 references (2 professional) for partner if applying
  • Scholarship Application (optional)
    • Copies of 2018 and 2019 tax returns, if applying for a scholarship
  • Growing the Next Generation Worksheet (included in online application) (DOCX and PDF versions)


Be sure to review all application requirements before submitting:

  • Application must be received by September 30th, 2020. Please account for mailing time.
  • Please review the checklist below to be sure all required parts are submitted at once. Only completed applications will be reviewed.
  • You will be notified regarding course acceptance or denial via email once we have reviewed your applications.
  • We may contact you by phone for any follow-up questions regarding your application.
  • Scholarship awards will be sent via email.
  • Correspondence will be sent to both applicants only.

If submitting a printed application by mail, please send to:
Farm Beginnings c/o Organic Growers School
PO Box 17804
Asheville, NC 28816

For questions, please contact our Director of Programs & Human Resources, Nicole DelCogliano, at

Thanks to our Media Sponsors for 2020!

OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: CLIF bar Family Foundation, Southern Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education UNFI Foundation, WNC Bridge Foundation, Harry Chapin Foundation, Walnut Cove, New Visions, and USDA Rural Development. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, Earth Tools, Buchi,  Living Web Farms, Gaia Herbs and Chelsea Green Publishing. Our Media Sponsors are WNCW, Asheville FM and BPR. .