The Farming Journey

Farm Beginnings: Year-Long Farmer Training. $100 Early-Bird Discount! Apply by August 1.
We know that farming takes courage, dedication and time. OGS is committed to growing the next generation of farmers by offering a path to success for emerging and expanding growers by providing training and assistance during the start-up years and beyond. The “farming life cycle” helps us design our programs and tailor them to different levels of emerging farmers. You can download a PDF of the Growing the Next Generation of Farmers worksheet to see where you are in your farming journey. Also available in Word Format.
Farm Beginnings: Year-Long Farmer Training. $100 Early-Bird Discount! Apply by August 1.

Step I: Emerging

Farm Learning Opportunities & Farm Dreams

Questions to Ask Yourself as an Emerging Farmer

  • Have you attended any conferences or workshops dealing with sustainable farming or homesteading?
  • Have you visited a working farm?
  • Have you participated in any work-related activities on a farm?
  • Are you interested in exploring the possibilities of farming?


Best Practices for Next Phase

Step II: In-Training

On-Farm Training Activities

Questions to Ask Yourself as a Farmer In-Training

  • Have you mapped your future farming desires with workshops and conferences?
  • Are you looking for the next step in exploring the idea of operating your own farm?
  • Have had significant on-farm work experience on one or more farms in the last 5 years?
  • Are you considering a more extensive farmer training program?


Best Practices for Next Phase

Step III: Start-Up

Farm Beginnings and Farm Pathways

Questions to Ask Yourself as a Start-Up Farmer

  • Are you considering farming as a career or significant portion of your livelihood?
  • Would you like to further explore the planning process that goes into starting a farm business?
  • Are you ready to create a holistic farm plan?
  • Would you like to be better connected to the sustainable agriculture community?


Best Practices for Next Phase

  • Field days/Skill Sessions (consider attending SAHC Field Days).
  • Connection to a farmer network, on-farm field days & workshops (consider joining WNC CRAFT).
  • Work Exchanges/Internships/Farm Employment (consider finding farm employment on Apprentice Link or apply to farm at the incubator farm at SAHC).
  • Year-long training program, whole farm & enterprise planning (consider Farm Beginnings).

Step IV: Seasoned

Technical Assistance & Mentorship

Questions to ask yourself as a Seasoned Farmer

  • Have you completed the Farm Beginnings program?
  • Are you interested in further support to make your farm business more successful?
  • Have you identified several areas in your business that could use additional support?


Best Practices for Success

  • Connection to a farmer network, on-farm field days & workshops (consider joining WNC CRAFT).
  • Production, marketing and financing assistance (consider Farm Beginnings).
  • Mentorship with an experienced farmer (consider (consider Farm Beginnings).
  • Address land access/equity building opportunities (consider finding land through Farm Pathways).

For more information on this program, please contact Sera Deva, Director of Programs & Systems Design 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. .