How to Apply

We are no longer accepting applications for our 2018-2019 class.

Please check back April 2019 for the application to the 2019-2020 class. Applications will be accepted between April and October of 2019, or until the class is full.

Read below to find out about the application process to prepare for next round!

FAQs

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 will be asked to do an informal interview—either in person or by phone—to discuss the program and determine if Farm Beginnings® is a match.

We are no longer accepting applications for our 2018–19 class. Please check back in April 2019 for a new application for the 2019-20 class.

What is the total time commitment for the program?

210+ Hours of Training:

Winter Whole-Farm Business Planning Courses—60 hours—October–March

ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference—8 hours—February

OGS Spring Conference & Harvest Conference—40+ hours—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 at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy Incubator Farm—45 hours—April–October

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

 

Location of Winter Whole-Farm Business Planning Courses
Location for the winter planning courses will be in the Asheville vicinity for 2019-2020, specific location TBD.

2018–19 Curriculum & Schedule
2018–19 Curriculum & Schedule is here.

The schedule is subject to change for 2019-2020; winter classes will happen about 2x/month (October thru April), alternating between weekends and evenings. In addition, May thru September you will be expected to engage in farm tour and farming activities.

What's 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 2019–2010 Farm Beginnings® schedule will be posted in the summer of 2019. In the meantime, check out the 2018–19 curriculum which will give you an overview of what to expect.

Who should apply?

People considering full-time farming, farming part-time while continuing other employment, changing careers to start farming, developing an existing agricultural hobby into a more serious business activity, or those re-evaluating an existing farm business. 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 of $3,000 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 to 10 applicants and a partner (business partner, family member, life partner). This keeps participation to a maximum of 20 people, optimizing interaction between students, instructors, and guest speakers.

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. Learn more on our Tuition & Scholarships page.

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 no longer accepting applications for the 2018-2019 class. Follow the links below to get a sense of what the application looks like, and check back in April 2019 for next years’ application.

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 (1 personal, 1 professional)
  • Farm Beginnings Partner Application (optional)
    • 2 references (1 personal, 1 professional) for partner if applying
  • Scholarship Application (optional)
    • Copies of 2015 and 2016 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 1, 2018. 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 all applications by September 15, 2017.
  • We may contact you by phone for any follow-up questions regarding your application.
  • Scholarship awards will be sent via email by September 15.
  • Correspondence initially will be sent to “primary applicant” 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 Farmer Programs Coodinator, Nicole DelCogliano at nicole@organicgrowersschool.org

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Thanks to our Media Sponsors for 2018!

OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Grant #2016-70017-25341, USDA Rural Business Development Program, Community Foundation of WNC, Polk County Community Foundation, CLIF Bar Family Foundation, New Belgium Brewing, Simply Organic 1%. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, French Broad Food Coop, Mountain Rose Herbs, Earth Tools, Biltmore Company, Red Moon Herbs, Living Web Farms, and Chelsea Green Publishing. Our Media Sponsors are Hendersonville Community Co-op, and WNCW.